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Sandra Brewster: Token | Contemporary Ongoing

Curated by

Sally Frater

Token | Contemporary Ongoing was conceived by Sandra Brewster as artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Exposed to the methods the institution used to care for and catalogue its collection, the artist turned her attention to everyday items in the personal collections of individuals that she knew, employing the same methods to document them.

Focusing on the belongings of acquaintances and friends from Toronto’s Caribbean diaspora, physical objects are combined with representations of these tokens rendered in the form of large-scale photographs, photo transfers, and audio recordings of personal descriptions by their owners. Creating an installation that is continually evolving, Brewster’s approach offers a mode of engaging with the landscapes and culture of the region that differs from the ways in which they are often represented in mainstream Western contexts. Touching on themes of migration, familial bonds, memory, and memorialization, the body of work also challenges how we determine which objects are of value and, by extension, worthy of our attention.

Image detail: Sandra Brewster, Bangles, 2018, photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 7 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist and Georgia Scherman Projects


Organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

About the artist

Sandra Brewster

Sandra Brewster is a visual artist based in Toronto. The daughter of Guyanese-born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with “back home.” Brewster’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Or Gallery in Vancouver, YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto, and A Space Gallery in Toronto and in group exhibitions including Mamuzic Gallery, Novi Sad, Serbia, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Arsenal Habana in Cuba, Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria, Musée des beaux arts in Montreal, Art Gallery of Windsor, and Allegheny Art Galleries in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Brewster’s exhibition It’s all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize for outstanding featured exhibition of CONTACT Photography Festival 2017. She is the 2018 recipient of the Artist Prize from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and is a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Brewster holds a Masters of Visual Studies from University of Toronto and a BFA from York University. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.

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