The People United: Artist Talk with Cristian Ordóñez and Syrus Marcus Ware

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The People United: Artist Talk with Cristian Ordóñez and Syrus Marcus Ware

Artist talk with Cristian Ordóñez and Syrus Marcus Ware on Zoom on their work in The People United exhibition.

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About this event

On October 13, join artists Cristian Ordóñez and Syrus Marcus Ware in discussing their work in The People United Exhibition.


Rise up, there is still hope, the people united, will never be defeated. Fear and apathy no longer dominate, injustices are far too great, and the risks outweigh the opportunity to change systems of power. Artists all over the world voice their discontent and defy elitist colonial legacies with its destructive imperialist and capitalist footprints. Artists are not afraid to communicate their outrage against neoliberal policies that impoverish the most vulnerable, they actively denounce corporate machines that destroy our environment, and question systemic racism and sexism embedded in our daily lives. They do not shy away from denouncing Canadian corporations that extract resources, they condemn racial discrimination and violence, patriarchal systems of power, and gender inequalities. Today, people unite and embrace the strength found within numbers and within each other as a collective. People demand a different outcome, a different future, a transformed worldview, removed from colonial legacies that perpetuate a state of coloniality.

Through the work of the Beehive Collective, Colectivo LASTESIS, Carlos Colín, Cristian Ordóñez, and Syrus Marcus Ware, the exhibition dares to reflect on the power of people that follow a path of transformation seeking a different outcome. The Beehive Collective marks the history of colonization and capitalism throughout Mesoamerica, celebrating social movements that resist neoliberalism and extractivist developmentalist projects, while highlighting inspiring stories of collective action during times of climate change. Colectivo LASTESIS share their anti-patriarchal message through public interventions as their performances evolve into viral forms of protest worldwide. Carlos Colín offers the individual an opportunity to multiply, spread voices of solidarity, with the message that the power lies within us, within the collective. Cristian Ordóñez captures images of combative youth underlining their courage and resilience, as well as their organizational capacity to change the course of Chilean history. And finally, Syrus Marcus Ware offers a space of hope as they imagine the collapse of capitalism and a not too far away future where social restructuring is based on care, acknowledgement, respect, and relations.

The exhibition The People United renders struggle and hope. It offers moments in time of resurgence, contestation, and emancipation but most importantly acknowledges the power that lies within people as well as a vision into what could be our future.


Cristian Ordóñez is a Chilean photographer based in Toronto. Ordóñez has exhibited his work in multiple group and solo exhibitions in Canada, Chile, United Kingdom, Russia, Greece, the United States, and Netherlands. He has also participated in various art fairs in Santiago, Toronto, and Vancouver. Using the medium of photography he collects impressions of the world, gravitating towards the parallels between ideas, memory, and belonging. He observes time and space through human absence and presence, captures natural and urban vestiges, explores the vastness and intimacy of landscape, and focuses on blurring the lines between nature, urban structures, and portraiture. His work has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada, Library & Archives, the National Library of Australia, the State Library of Victoria in Australia, and the San Telmo Museum in Spain.

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and Black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including in a solo show at Grunt Gallery, Vancouver; the 2019 and 2022 Toronto Biennial of Art; the Bentway’s Safety in Public Spaces Initiative in 2020; and group shows at the Never Apart in Montreal; Art Gallery of Ontario; the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery; Art Gallery of York University; the Art Gallery of Windsor; and at Nuit Blanche 2017. His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping the Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016, 2019), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015). He is the co-editor of the best-selling Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (URP, 2020). Marcus Ware is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. Syrus is cofounder of Black Lives Matter – Canada and a co-curator of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. He has won several awards, including the TD Diversity Award in 2017, was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005), and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award in 2012. Syrus earned his PhD at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and is Assistant Professor at the School of the Arts at McMaster University.


TAMARA TOLEDO is a Chilean-born Toronto-based curator, scholar, and artist, graduate of OCAD University and holds an MFA from York University. Toledo is co-founder of the Allende Arts Festival and of Latin American Canadian Art Projects - LACAP. For over a decade, Toledo has curated numerous exhibitions offering spaces, platforms and opportunities to Latin American and diasporic artists. She designed and curated the Latin American Speakers Series inviting internationally renowned contemporary artists, writers, theorists, and curators to Toronto such as Gerardo Mosquera, Luis Camnitzer, and Tania Bruguera, among many others to articulate and discuss issues of identity and intercultural dynamics in contemporary art. Toledo has presented her work at various conferences in Montreal, Chicago, New York, Vancouver and Toronto. Her writing has appeared in ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse and Canadian Art. Her practice often follows an interdisciplinary approach and touches on notions of memory, identity, diasporas, issues of power and representation, trauma, and international artistic-cultural interaction. Toledo is currently the Curator of Sur Gallery and is a PhD candidate in Art History and Visual Culture at York University.


Sur Gallery is Toronto's first gallery space dedicated to the exhibition and critical engagement of contemporary Latin American Art and is a project of LACAP.

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Gallery Hours:

Thursdays and Fridays 12 pm-6 pm

Saturdays 11AM-5PM

Location: 100-39 Queens Quay East, Toronto

Sur Gallery acknowledges the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; Ontario Arts Council; Toronto Arts Council; Canadian Heritage through Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Events component; The City of Toronto through section 37; and its sponsor Ready2Post.