How art shapes history

Toronto CBC radio host Matt Galloway talks with architect Sir David Adjaye, visual artist Christi Belcourt, author Junot Díaz and filmmaker Paul Gross. The group met onstage at Toronto's Massey Hall as part of the Creative Minds series, produced in partnership with CBC, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Banff Centre and Massey Hall. Their focus: current global politics and how art shapes our understanding of place, history and progress.
CBC's Metro Morning host Matt Galloway (far left) moderated the Creative Minds debate on Friday night, featuring (left to right) artist Christi Belcourt, architect Sir David Adjaye, author Junot Diaz, and filmmaker Paul Gross. (CBC)

Toronto CBC Radio host Matt Galloway talks with architect Sir David Adjaye, visual artist Christi Belcourt, author Junot Díaz and filmmaker Paul Gross. The group met onstage at Toronto's Massey Hall as part of the Creative Minds series, produced in partnership with CBC, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Banff Centre and Massey Hall. Their focus: current global politics and how art shapes our understanding of place, history and progress.


Sir David Adjaye (Alex Fradkin)
Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Based in London, U.K., Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. Since forming Adjaye Associates in 2000, he has won several prestigious commissions, including the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo (2005), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), and the forthcoming new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2009 a team led by Adjaye was selected to design the new $360 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington DC., which opened in September 2016 to universal praise. Adjaye frequently collaborates with contemporary artists on art and installation projects, including Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson. In 2015 a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work to date was held at Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Christi Belcourt (David Barbour)
Christi Belcourt is a Michif (Métis) visual artist and author whose ancestry originates from the Métis historic community of Manitou Sakhigan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, Canada. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario, where in 2015 her painting The Wisdom of the Universe was voted by gallery visitors as "People's Choice", their favourite work in the collection. She is the co-founder of Walking with our Sisters, a touring memorial project that honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and the United States. In 2015, her work gained international recognition when she a collaborated with the fashion house Valentino to create a collection that featured prints based on her work Water Song. In 2016, she received a Governor General's Innovation Award for her work to raise awareness about Indigenous issues in Canada.

Junot Díaz (Nina Subin)
Junot Díaz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has centred the American immigrant experience in his work. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, he is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the recipient of the Ella Baker Award from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, recognizing writers for work that advances social justice.

Paul Gross
Paul Gross is one of Canada's most popular actors on stage and screen, internationally known for his role as Constable Benton Fraser on the award-winning drama series Due South. Gross wrote, directed and starred in the films Hyena Road, Passchendaele and Men with Brooms, which was the highest-grossing English-language Canadian film of the previous 20 years. Passchendaele was the highest grossing Canadian film of 2008 and won five Genie Awards, including Best Picture. He has won multiple Gemini awards for his performances, including two for the critically acclaimed series Slings & Arrows. A recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award and the Earle Grey Award, a lifetime achievement honour from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Gross was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2013.


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