The Next 50 Years: Ghosts of the Gallery

July 7th, 2023, 1-3PM
@ The New Gallery

Joni “Snack Witch” Cheung and Luke Johnson believe in ghosts: the people, the places, the objects, and the narratives which haunt us and disrupt our understanding of the present. In the face of a cultural moment where corporations, nation-states, and institutions pit individuals and collectives against one another under the guise of scarcity and survival, how might engaging with these ghosts of the past change our outlooks on how to move towards the future?

In this series of co-creation workshops, Cheung and Johnson dig into the textual materials from the last 50 years, from an exploration of the archives of Latitude 53 and three host galleries in different cities. Join us to re-imagine the history of the artist-run-centre movement and the many ephemeral works it hosted, now visible to us only a short descriptions, artist statements, and posters. These creative workshops will take place in Edmonton, Calgary, Hamilton, and Montreal—your participation is welcomed.

The Next 50 Years

As Latitude 53 approaches our 50th Anniversary in October 2023, we have been thinking about the last 50 years and trying to imagine “What will the next 50 years look like?” To consider this question, we aim to bring together artists, writers, curators, community members and youth to explore some of the emergent issues that affect our current society. Our six Lead Artists will be hosting events both in person and online for discussion, creation, research, and experimentation. We invite our community to join as members of their working groups to consider these questions of futurity.

🔮 Snack Witch Joni Cheung 🍡 is a grateful, uninvited guest born—and knows she wants to die—on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh peoples. Currently, she is working on the stolen lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka peoples. They are a Certified Sculpture Witch with an MFA from Concordia University (2023). A wicked #magicalgirl ✨ eating art + making snacks⁠, their interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationship between objects↔place↔identity, navigating discourses of transnationalism, migration, and diasporas, always with humour, and sometimes with food. 😉

Luke Johnson is a Minnesota-born artist currently based in Edmonton, Alberta on Treaty 6 territory. Working in print, publications, and durational engagements within collections, Johnson draws from the stories and unintended afterlives of archival materials, creating works which complicate notions such as standardized categorization and stasis within systems of knowledge. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his MFA from the University of Alberta, where he is currently a lecturer in printmaking and drawing.

Founded in 1973 by a collective of Edmonton artists, Latitude 53 is one of Canada’s oldest artist-run centres dedicated to supporting artists.

Latitude 53 became a registered charity in 1978 and has been influential and supportive of the formation of other artistic groups, including SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists), CARFAC, and Alberta Art Foundation (now part of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts).

Latitude 53 has presented significant exhibitions by notable Canadian artists in the formative stages of their careers, including Lyndal Osborne (1974), Rita McKeough (1980), Janet Cardiff (1989), George Bures Miller (1989), Micah Lexier (1989), Diana Thorneycroft (1991), Kent Monkman (1994), Luis Jacob (2002), Jon Sasaki (2009), Brenda Draney (2010), Jason de Haan (2011), Luther Konadu (2018), Bridget Moser (2019) and Lauren Crazybull (2020).

Today, Latitude 53 is one of the largest and oldest centres in the Canadian Prairies, and it serves as a major centre for contemporary art in Northern Alberta. Latitude 53 occupies a 5,500 sq ft building in downtown Edmonton with over 2,600 sq ft of dedicated exhibition space.