Dele Adeyemo and Gary Zhexi Zhang digital art commissions

Dele Adeyemo and Gary Zhexi Zhang digital art commissions

Art Gallery of York University

[1] Dele Adeyemo, From Longhouse to Highrise: The Course of Empire (detail), 2023. Courtesy of the artist. [2] Gary Zhexi Zhang, The Tourist, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

January 24, 2024
Dele Adeyemo and Gary Zhexi Zhang digital art commissions
Projects live online
Art Gallery of York University
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The Art Gallery of York University announces its digital art program stream in support of born-digital and internet art commissions. Inspired by the breadth of artists’ practices within digital contexts, this stream highlights the particularities of producing artwork for the internet while connecting with local, national, and international audiences to provide access, experiences, and conversations across an expanded geography.

The first commission launched  is Gary Zhexi Zhang’s The Tourist, 2023, curated by AGYU Assistant Curator Clara Halpern. Zhang’s film tells the story of Zanzibar, China, and Ali Sultan Issa, a man at the centre of an uneasy marriage between Afrofuturism and Sinofuturism. It explores a shifting geopolitical atmosphere, from the cosmopolitan optimism of the Bandung Conference, the first large-scale Afro-Asian conference in 1955, to the uncertain alignments of today.

The second commission is Dele Adeyemo’s From Longhouse to Highrise: The Course of Empire, 2023, produced with support of AGYU Curator Felicia Mings. Adeyemo’s project is a multidimensional archive of space, critically responding to the fiction of linear development contained in an origin story of North York, Canada, found in the 1986 booklet From Longhouse to Highrise: pioneering in our corner of North York. To unravel this fiction, Adeyemo combines a soundscape of voices from within and in proximity to York University’s Keele campus asking what it means to be caught in the course of empire.

Dele Adeyemo is a Scottish/Nigerian artist, architect, and critical urban theorist based in London and Lagos. In his practice, research, and pedagogy, he explores how the historic legacies of slavery and colonialism are embedded in contemporary processes of urbanization. His projects have been presented internationally, most recently at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale; the 13th International Architecture Biennale of Sao Paulo; the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam; the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial; and the 2nd Edition of the Lagos Biennial.

Gary Zhexi Zhang is an artist and writer who draws connections between cosmology, technology, and economics. He was born in Suzhou and works in London. He recently edited Catastrophe Time!, a book of fictions, essays, and interviews about finance and time. The opera he co-created with Waste Paper Opera, Dead Cat Bounce, premiered at Somerset House in 2022. His last solo exhibition was Cycle 25 and recent group  shows include Katabasis, Totalab, Shanghai; Liquid Ground, UCCA Dune, Beidaihe & Para Site, Hong Kong; and The Principle of Hope, Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing. He is lecturer in Critical Studies at Goldsmiths MFA and taught previously at Parsons School of Design.

This program stream is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through its Digital Strategy Fund. For press inquiries, please contact Clara Halpern: clarajh [​at​]

The Art Gallery of York University is a socially minded not-for-profit contemporary art gallery that is a space for the creation and appreciation of art and culture. It is a supported unit of York University within the President’s Division. We are externally funded as a public art gallery through the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, local and international foundations, embassies, and our membership who support all of our programs.

The Art Gallery of York University acknowledges its presence on the ancestral territory of many Indigenous Nations including the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. We thank and acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We offer this land acknowledgement as an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those on whose territory we reside.

AGYU promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces & experiences and works towards being barrier free.

We are committed to anti-racism and working to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that support Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.

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January 24, 2024

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