Reflecting on the recent challenges faced by Toronto’s Artscape community, ceramic artist Elena Mahno invites you to contemplate resiliency in a city defined by perpetual change, through her bas-relief installation.
Since Elena’s arrival in Toronto in the late ’90s, when the average cost of housing was $200K, gas $0.56, and minimum wage $6.85, the city has been evolving at an astonishing pace. Yet in the last decade, the transformation seemed to be particularly observable, marked by an influx of developments materializing, the fading of beloved landmarks, and the emergence of new establishments at times as transient as dreams.
Further propelled by the recent housing and economic conditions, even the resiliency of institutions assumed as steadfast has been put into question. The financial challenges at Artscape Inc. – an organization with a long history of supporting local artists and creative culture – seemingly overnight presented a new reality: the potential of gross unmet cultural and housing needs, in a city that’s otherwise obsessed with expansion.
Referencing analytical cubism, abstract and biomorphic shapes, the bas relief deconstructs the ever-evolving Toronto topography. It captures the nuances of the relentless condo boom, pays homage to enduring landmarks, and considers those on the precipice of obscurity. The modular structure made of various panels resists a single interpretation and instead highlights the city’s ever-changing nature in its constant state of becoming.
This installation invites viewers to engage in thoughtful reflection on the coexistence of development and cultural preservation, amidst complexities faced by a city in flux.
‘In Flux: Changing / Rearranging’ is one of 12+ projects at STACKT Market for the 2024 DesignTO Festival. Celebrate these projects with a free, site-wide party on Sat, Jan 20 from 6-10:30pm. Visit ‘Design Collection Opening Party @ STACKT’ to learn more.