PAST exhibitions

Since opening, the Riverdale Hub Gallery has hosted a variety of artistic and cultural projects, ranging from community art exhibitions featuring local artists, to participating in major arts initiatives such as Contact Photography Festival, Doors Open, and Culture Days. View an archive of some of these past exhibitions here.


kaya joan: realms where they breathe deeply

July 2 – August 31, 2021
Social Gardener Café

Realms where they breathe deeply is a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by local artist kaya joan.

kaya joan is a multi-disciplinary Afro-Indigenous artist living in T’karonto, Dish with One Spoon treaty territory. kaya’s work is centred in healing practices, transcending linear notions of time, blood memory and relationship to place. Rooting themself in frameworks of Black and Indigenous futuritist pedagogy, kaya engages with methods of making that operate as ancestral tools to unpack and transform buried truths, opening portals 7 generations into the past and future. kaya has also been working as a community arts facilitator for the past 6 years, and are a member of the Milkweed Collective. kaya graduated from OCADU’s Indigenous Visual Art’s program in 2020, and was the recipient of the INVC medal, Nora E. Vaughan Award and Akin Studio’s Career Launcher grant.

Image: kaya joan, reside deeply with me dear, acrylic, ink, collage on wood panel, 2018


this house, made and mended by unbelonging hands

April 1 – June 30, 2021
First Floor Gallery

Curated by Riverdale Curatorial Projects

this house, made and mended by unbelonging hands is a group exhibition of contemporary craft and zine works by emerging queer artists. Throughout history, queer people, and especially queer people of colour, have had to make their own spaces, their own communities, and their own systems of documenting their histories. this house, made and mended by unbelonging hands showcases artists whose work takes on expansive approaches to craft practices and speaks to this legacy of queer-spacemaking, kinship, and continual resistance across time. Dayna Danger, Akash Inbakumar, Kaythi, Vincy Lim, Yahn Nemirovsky, and Cleopatria Peterson present works that engage the longstanding tradition of queer craft as something that connects us to past and future queer ancestors.

Riverdale Curatorial Projects is a curatorial collective led by emerging curators Dallas Fellini and Karina Iskandarsjah.

Image: Cleopatria Peterson, Binder Zines, pattern paper, red thread, personal photo, ink

Gillian Toliver: Stitching You Into the Seams

April 1 – June 30, 2021
Social Gardener Café

Gillian Toliver is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Toronto. As an artist of mixed Scottish and Caribbean descent, her work often explores spaces existing in an in-between, a world caught in a moment of creation. In an honouring and opening of self, her work is a reaction to the absurdity, multiplicity and fluidity of being. Utilizing practices of labour, repetition and ritual, she navigates the condition of body and mind from systematic censorship through creating new forms in which to pour and bind self to. The creation of these new ‘host’ bodies is used in an act of reclaiming physical and mental environments.

Image: Gillian Toliver, To Gather, Hold and Collect Self, graphite on paper, 2021

Mystery Painting

Mystery Painting (Mayachitram) is a contemplative practice that combines silent meditation with art, story creation and dialogue. This practice enables us to compress the chaos in our lives into an image thereby transforming it and making it more manageable.

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In a gentle and playful way, Mystery Painting allows us to give form to the uncon- scious energies and impulses that direct (or misdirect) our lives. Through cultivation of intuition and imagination it allows us to better see what we care about and leave behind that which smothers and ensnares us.

Canadian artist Paul Hogan, is the creator of the Mystery Painting method. He has taught creative process as a means of healing trauma in marginalized communities affected by war, natural disaster and poverty around the world. He is the founding creative director and inspiration for the Spiral Garden in Canada, the Butterfly Peace Garden in Sri Lanka and Mango Tree Garden in Cambodia as well as the Step-by- Step Studio and Monkey’s Tale Centre for Contemplative Art in Sri Lanka.

Living Mosaic 2017

Living Mosaic: A Cartography of Origins and Settlement was a two-day community event and exhibition designed to empower Ontario-based artists of Indigenous heritage as well as those with a personal connection to immigration and refugee histories in Canada to celebrate the origins of our multicultural legacy. In demonstrating the weaving of our national fabric over the past 150 years, the artworks presented here both celebrated and suggested the need for dialogue and constructive criticism in the face of Canadian history.

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Shifting focus away from the idea of the nation as a singular entity, the goal of Living Mosaic was to represent the multiplicity found in the histories of Ontario’s people. In doing so, the exhibition highlights diversity, not only in the sense of ethnicity, but in perspectives on what it means to celebrate Canadian heritage. Comprising the works of 13 Ontario-based artists from different backgrounds, Living Mosaic does not seek to merge personal and political experiences into a simplified whole, but to suggest the possible harmonious differences and freedom of expression that have become hallmarks of Canadian identity.

This project was curated by Hayley Dawson and Tak Pham in partnership with Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre, the province of Ontario, and Culture Days. The opening celebration and reception for Living Mosaic took place from September 30th – October 1st 2017 where we welcomed the public in for food and live music. The daytime event was highlighted by a speakers’ panel involving art and history specialists and community leaders: Joanne Doucette of the Leslieville historical Society, Joanne Filletti of Gerrard Art Space (GAS), and Adom Acheampong of East End Arts. In a discussion on art and community moderated by Tak Pham, speakers discussed ideas and told stories relating to the preservation of cultural traditions in a rapidly evolving and globalizing world, the responsibility of an art gallery in fostering progress, and the potential of Toronto’s East end as a place for experimentation in art and culture.

Featured Artists:

  • Tia Cavanagh
  • Novka Ćosović
  • Lina Faroussi
  • Layne Hinton
  • Jieun-June Kim
  • Shantel Miller
  • Emma Moore
  • Komi Olaf
  • Michelle Peraza
  • Faryal Shehzad
  • Monique Resnick
  • Karalyn Reuben
  • Maryam Zaraimajin

Topophilia 2016

Topophilia was a group exhibition featuring the work of thirteen artists from a variety of creative backgrounds and disciplines. This show came together under the curatorship of Hayley Dawson and Sonja Socknat, who envisioned an exhibition that would reflect the many influences that make up the cultural and artistic fabric of Toronto.

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The word topophilia refers to a phenomenon whereby place and identity take on a strong relationship. Some artists in the show interpreted this theme literally with unique renderings of mapped imagery, using tools such as Google maps and mathematical patterns to guide their expressions. Others took on an entirely imaginative approach to representation by conceptualizing the feeling of a city or place and expressing a sense of home through inventive means. Others still, imagined possible futures for our city, and some used abstraction to communicate feelings of transience and multiplicity that we all experience when moving from place to place.

Komi Olaf, one of Topophilia’s featured artists, enlivened the evening with a spoken word poetry performance mid-reception. Olaf truly captivated the crowd with his words on empowerment and identity as he stood framed by two of his large paintings, which can be categorized as works of Afro-futurism.

Other highlights of the evening included watching the sunset from the Riverdale Hub’s beautiful rooftop garden, and seeing our visitors interact with our giant street art map of Toronto created by local muralist Colin Turner Bloom.

Featured Artists:

  • Dan Brambilla
  • Gwendolyn Brown
  • Alex Buchanan
  • Jessie Eaton
  • Lyubava Fartushenko
  • Lorraine Lau
  • Komi Olaf
  • Ben Phillips
  • Monique Resnick
  • SoTeeOh
  • Cortney Stephenson
  • Kirk Sutherland
  • Marchu Torres

Chador: Unveiling Myths

On Saturday June 11th, 2016 we welcomed the public to celebrate the solo exhibition of Parth Upadhye, in the Riverdale Gallery’s East Gallery. His exhibition, Chador: Unveiling Myths, features a painting series that openly explores cloaking, wrapping, and bedecking within their broader context. Chador is a Persian word that quite literally translates to sheet or fabric. Referencing stories of lore and mythology, Upadhye’s colourful works expose the chador, and challenge the beholder to unravel the stories that lie beneath.

Ontario Plein Air Society

Annual Exhibition, 2016

The Ontario Plein Air Society (OPAS) is a group of artists brought together by a common interest in painting outdoors, on location, rain or shine. This method of painting gained popularity in the mid nineteenth century with the movement of Impressionism (which followed the invention of portable paints in tubes) and it continues to be an effective way to capture light and the elements in their most fleeting natural states.

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We were thrilled to have OPAS host their annual exhibition at the Riverdale Gallery. The show included the works of Keith Thirgood, Rose Ann Vita, Jane Boyd, Hilary Porado, Wendy Bermingham, Helen Walter, Ioana Bertrand, Gilles Lafond, Selene Yuen, Dalibor Dejanovic, Michael Labiak, Ylli Haruni, Caterina Liberatore, Jane Robertson, Changsun Lee, Birte Hella, Maria Ivanova, and Jerry Campbell. These artists work in various mediums including oil, acrylic, mixed media, watercolour, gauche, encaustic, and pastels and focused on Ontario landscape scenes for this show. With our walls filled top to bottom in a salon-style display, this was certainly the most paintings we had ever exhibited in the East Gallery.

To learn more about OPAS and their future events and exhibitions visit their website