Sur Gallery presents: Extracolonial: Reflections for Action


Yoshua Okón, Octopus, 2011 (video still). Courtesy of the artist.


February 12 to April 4, 2020
Opening Reception at Sur Gallery: Wednesday, February 12, 6-8PM


EXTRACOLONIAL: Reflections for Action brings together a group of Indigenous and Latin American artists—Ulysses Castellanos, Monica Gutierrez Quintero, Yoshua Okón, and Onaman Collective—whose works examine the relationship between extractivism and colonialism as they have impacted the history of the Americas. These works propose alternate activist models to address the sustained systems of inequality seeded in the legacy of natural resource exploitation, including the uneven movement of capital, expropriation of Indigenous lands, deterioration of the natural landscape, and instances of civil unrest. Responding to global calls for action, the artists in this exhibition offer new points of entry into a series of complex causes and histories centered on the commodification of natural wealth. Looking beyond policy and approaching art as activism, their works expose systems of oppression, putting forward strategies to undermine extractive profiteering.

Guest curated by Claudia Mattos and Noor Alé


Opening Reception at Sur Gallery:
Wednesday, February 12, 6-8PM

Latin American Speakers Series: YOSHUA OKÓN
Thursday, February 13, 7PM at Vtape, 401 Richmond St W Suite 452
In partnership with Vtape

Curator Tour with Noor Alé:
Saturday, March 7, 3-4PM

Tour with Gerald McMaster:
Saturday, April 4, 3-4PM


Ulysses Castellanos, The Royal Family, 2013. Courtesy of the artist & Georgia Scherman Projects.


ULYSSES CASTELLANOS is a Salvadoran-Canadian artist, writer, filmmaker, and curator. His work has been exhibited at the Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo, Montevideo, Uruguay; Cineteca Nacional, Mexico City; Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, University of Sao Paulo; the Dunlop Gallery, Regina; and the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto. Castellanos holds a BFA from the University of Toronto.

MONICA GUTIERREZ QUINTERO is a Colombian-Canadian artist whose practice includes filmmaking, experimental video, and public art. In 2015, she produced and directed a four-part documentary series on extractive activities across Latin America. She directed Raptors Among Us (2016), a TVO Short Doc semi-finalist. Her films have screened at OCAD University, Toronto and Nuit Blanche, Toronto. She lives and works in Toronto.

YOSUA OKÓN is a Mexican artist who has exhibited at the New Museum, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. Okón’s work is represented in the collections of the Tate Modern, London; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; the Museo Jumex, Mexico City. Okón holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA from Concordia University, Montreal. He lives and works in Mexico City.

ONAMAN COLLECTIVE is a group of Indigenous artists and environmentalists who engage in art-based activism, founded by Christi Belcourt, Isaac Murdoch, and Erin Konsmo. With a focus on environmental causes as they relate to First Nation communities across Canada, they promote the power of grassroots organizing and raise the voices of communities engaged in water and land protection actions.

CHRISTI BELCOURT is a Michif cross-disciplinary artist. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. She is a past recipient of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2014, Belcourt was named Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council.

ERIN KONSMO is a self-taught visual and multimedia artist of Métis/Cree ancestry from the historic Métis communities of Onoway/Lac St. Anne, Alberta. Through her community-engaged practice, she supports education around causes of sexual and reproductive health. She is the Media Arts & Projects Coordinator for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. She holds a Master of Environmental Studies from York University.

ISAAC MURDOCH is an artist, illustrator, author, and a respected storyteller and holder of traditional knowledge. He is from the fish clan and Serpent River First Nation. He, along with Christi Belcourt, wrote The Trail of Nenaboozhoo and Other Creation Stories, a compendium of legends of the Ojibway creator spirit and other creation stories.


NOOR ALÉ is Assistant Curator/Registrar at the MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie. Prior, she served as Curatorial Research Assistant for the exhibition Frontera: Views of the US-Mexico Border at the Canadian Photography Institute, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. She has contributed to curatorial and public programs at the Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Art Dubai; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. She holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph.

CLAUDIA MATTOS is a curator and writer based in Miami, FL. She most recently served as Assistant Curator of Media Arts and Live Events at The Baltimore Museum of Art where she curated the exhibitions Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin and DIS: A Good Crisis. She has contributed to exhibitions and research at The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Independent Curators International, NY; and Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. She earned an MA with distinction in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and a BA in Art History and Visual Studies from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Since 2016, Alé and Mattos have shared a collaborative curatorial practice. They are the founders of AXIS, a curatorial laboratory devoted to socially engaged projects.

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.

For information please contact:

Gallery Hours:
Tues & Wed 10AM-2:30PM
Thurs & Fri noon-6PM
Sat 11AM-5PM
Sur Gallery: 100-39 Queens Quay East, Toronto

Sur Gallery acknowledges the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and The City of Toronto through section 37. Sur Gallery also acknowledges its partner Vtape.