Projects & Events

Past events organized or coordinated by UNPACK STUDIO in Toronto


Jose Andres Mora

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday October 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM – 10 PM

Unpack Studio in partnership with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto is pleased to present “You don’t sleep. You never sleep well. (If sleeping was your profession, you’d never keep a job)”, a sound installation by José Andrés Mora.

Raindrops fall on the tin rooftop pacpac pac pac pacpac pacpacpac and hit the window panes pac pac pacpacpacpacpac pac pac pac pacpac and slap the metal case of the air conditioner pacpacpacpacpac.

José Andrés Mora moved to Toronto from Halifax in 2013. He is an artist presently focused on making multimedia installations and video-based work.

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jä be jä

Zoya Honarmand and Maryam Taghavi

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday July 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Unpack Studio is pleased to present jä be jä, a collaborative exhibition curated by Zoya Honarmand and Maryam Taghavi.

jä be jä is a curatorial project that activates a space for correspondence between artists based in Iran and artists based elsewhere. Throughout the course of the project, participants from each location work together in order to trace one another’s proposals in their own locales. For this iteration – the first iteration of jä be jä – seven artists and one theorist/translator inhabit, through a series of conversations, the space between Tehran and Toronto as they respond to the theme of distance. This space ultimately lends itself to contemplating, utilizing and elaborating on the act of translation, extended across both literal and metaphorical dimensions. This laboratorial exhibition aims to investigate the dynamics, tensions and potentials of dual agency in production, to relinquish the privileging of production over process, to enable a more immediate interaction between different artistic discourses and find points of contact between them.

The Toronto exhibition at Unpack Studio consists of works from Simin Keramati in dialogue with Gein Wong, Keyvan Mohtadi in dialogue with Francisco Fernando Granados, Neda Razavipour in dialogue with Manolo Lugo and Peyman Shafieezadeh in dialogue with Maggie Flynn. The Toronto-based works will be exhibited in Tehran at Azad Art Gallery in the month of July.


Agustin Rolando Rojas

RECEPTION & ARTIST TALK: Friday June 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Unpack Studio is pleased to present a selection of intaglio prints by Cuban Master Printer Agustín Rolando Rojas. The exhibition will be paired with a catalogue with essays written by curator Maria Elena Soto and artist Eugenio D’Melon.

Agustín Rolando Rojas is a mid-career artist who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Rojas earned a BFA from San Alejandro Fine Art School (1978) and graduated from the prestigious Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA 1983) in Havana with a degree in Printmaking.

Questioning the stereotype of printmakers as solely followers of traditions and procedures, Agustín masters technique to the point of contradicting it. In his series of drypoints (drypoints without inhibition), he attacks the plates, then erases the marks and re-works the matrixes as if they were pieces of paper. Technically, his artwork operates as a continuous exercise of questioning beliefs about printmaking. Conceptually, it is a direct result of his diasporic experience as a migrant. His work explores the idea of loss and separation, reunion and hope as a permanent condition of displacement and adaptation.

Before leaving Cuba, Agustín Rolando Rojas taught printmaking at the Instituto Superior de Artes from 1983 to 1996. He has represented Cuba and Canada internationally and has won several awards, which include the Prize Pilar/Joan Miro and Sotheby´s Foundation for Techniques and Development of Creative Projects (Palma de Mallorca, Spain 1995) and the Boston Printmakers North American Print Biennial award (Boston, MA 2001). Rojas´ work is represented in collections in USA, Canada, Spain, Japan, Germany and Cuba.


With Alto Saxophone Luis Deniz

CONCERT: Wednesday May 21, 2014 at 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Unpack Studio is pleased to present THE UNPACK JAZZ PROJECT, a monthly event featuring some of Toronto’s hottest jazz and Latin jazz performers who will introduce you to the world of jazz, its history, trends and techniques through performance and discussion.

Come enjoy great live original music and a visual spectacle by guest visual artists. Music will start at 8 pm sharp.

FREE and open to the public. Cheap parking across the street. Drinks will be available for purchase.


Roberto Riveron on Bass, Luis Deniz on Sax, Amhed Mitchel on Drums & Dave Restivo on Piano.

Guest visual artists: Carlos Gondres & Omar Estrada


Zoya Honarmand & Maryam Taghavi

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday April 17, 2014 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Unpack Studio is pleased to exhibit FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH: AN EXERCISE IN INTIMACY a collaborative project by Maryam Taghavi and Zoya Honarmand.

From Mouth to Mouth: An Exercise in Intimacy uses translation as its medium. Zoya Honarmand and Maryam Taghavi translate a text back and forth into Farsi and English until it exhausts itself and dissipates.

Each reader-translator takes the new text as their own– chewing on it, devouring it, and reproducing it in the familiarity of their home language by way of a radical subjectivity that embraces the linguistic, cultural and interpretative incongruencies inherent to the process of translation.

از دهان به دهان: شیوه‌‌ای برای خوی‌گیری اثری مشترک [از مریم تقوی و زویا هنرمند] است که از «ترجمه» به‌منزله میانجی یا رسانه‌ای برای واسازی و فرسایشِ متن تا آن حد و اندازه استفاده می‌کند که در آن، متن مضمحل می‌شود و از بین می‌رود.

هر خواننده-مترجمی، متن را می‌جود، می‌بلعد و قورت می‌دهد و در انس و نزدیکی با زبان مادری خود، آن را «از آنِ خود» می‌کند. این امر از طریق اعمالِ سوبژکتیوته‌ی رادیکال بر ترجمه‌ها به‌دست می‌آید که نارسایی‌های زبانی، فرهنگی و تفسیری را با آغوش باز می‌پذیرد و پذیرای درزها و شکاف‌هایی است که در انتقال معنی از زبانی به زبان دیگر رخ‌ می‌دهد.


Jesus Gastell Soto

WORKSHOP: Saturday Nov 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Exhibiting Artist JESUS GASTELL will lead a workshop / portfolio review geared to practising artists next Saturday November 30th at Unpack Studio.

The workshop will look at perception as a channel in the senses-idea relation and drawing as a visual language from which a notion of reality is defined. The workshop will include three drawing exercises and a group critique exploring solutions for each participants’ work.

Cost: CAD 60.00 (materials included)

Instructor: Jesus Gastell

Space is limited. Please contact Unpack Studio to reserve your spot. Bring your work and/or ideas in progress.


Jesus Gastell Soto

OPENING & ARTIST TALK: Friday Nov 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Unpack Studio is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by Master Draftsman Jesús Gastell. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with an essay written by Curator Dannys Montes de Oca Moreda.

Jesús Gastell is a mid-career artist who lives and works in Cuba. Gastell earned a BFA from Escuela Nacional de Artes (ENA 1983) and graduated from the prestigious Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA 1988) in Havana with a degree in Drawing and Painting.

Instead of only establishing himself as a master of representation, Jesús Gastell uses his extraordinary abilities to reveal the hidden connections between “the real” and our cultural perception of it. His artwork operates as a continuous exercise of questioning models, assuming the nature of intellectual pleasure as an illuminating experience.

He has exhibited widely in Cuba and internationally. His work is represented in collections in Canada, England, Holland, China, Germany, Spain, Peru, Puerto Rico, Italy, Japan, Cuba and USA.


Dannys Montes de Oca & Ossain Raggi

ARTIST TALK: Wednesday Oct 30, 2013 at 7:00 -10:00 PM

Unpack Studio invites you to a free lecture by Cuban curator Dannys Montes de Oca on “Decolonization and Cosmopolitanism in the Cuban 60s”, followed by a talk with visual artist Ossain Raggi who will present and discuss his photography practice in Cuba.

Dannys Montes de Oca is a Cuban researcher, curator and art critic based in Havana. She has curated numerous exhibitions and has published widely on Cuban, Latin American and Spanish art. A member of the curatorial team of the Havana Biennial, she has coordinated the Theoretical Events for the 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012 Biennials.

Ossain Raggi is a Visual Artist and Professor living and working in Havana. His work has been exhibited in Mexico, Canada and the USA, as well as in Cuba. He is currently the Head of the Photography Department at the Instituto Superior de Artes in Havana, Cuba.


Rebecca Belmore

PERFORMANCE: Saturday Oct 12, 2013 at 7:30 -10:30 PM

In collaboration with e-fagia collective and FUSE Magazine, Unpack Studio is pleased to present the closing event of the Decolonial Aesthetics for the Americas symposium: The Glass Between, a performance by Anishinabe artist Rebecca Belmore.

Born in Upsala, Ontario, Rebecca Belmore is an artist currently living in Winnipeg, British Columbia. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto and is internationally recognized for her performance and installation art.

Since 1987, her multi-disciplinary work has addressed history, place and identity through the media of sculpture, installation, video and performance.


This performance is part of the 2013 Decolonial Aesthetics for the Americas Event


Agustin Rojas & Omar Estrada

WORKSHOP: Thursday June 13, 2013 at 6:30 – 9:30 PM

As part of UNPACK STUDIO’s First Educational Series we are pleased to offer a three-hour FREE introductory presentation on INTAGLIO & a fun HANDS-ON collective exercise on techniques.


1- INTRODUCTION 6:30 – 6:50

Four Main Types of Printmaking

2- INTAGLIO 7:00 – 7:30

Methods & Historical Overview

Intaglio comes from the Italian word intagliare, meaning “to incise” and is the family of printmaking techniques in which images, values and textures are carved into a surface or matrix – traditionally copper and zinc plates – by direct techniques (engraving, drypoint, mezzotint) or indirect techniques (etching and aquatint).

3- HANDS-ON EXERCISE 7:45 – 9:30

From Plate to Print

As a continuation of Unpack’s PRINTMAKING EDUCATIONAL SERIES the participants will then have the opportunity to choose one of two (PAID) options : “DRYPOINT WITHOUT INHIBITION” or “INTAGLIO AS A CONCEPTUAL TOOL”

Each complete course will run for eight weeks


Alexandra Majerus

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday May 10, 2013 at 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Drinks, snacks and a surprise musical guestThis exhibition is part of the 2013 Scotiabank CONTACT Festival

Drinks, snacks and a surprise musical guestThis exhibition is part of the 2013 Scotiabank CONTACT Festival

Drinks, snacks and a surprise musical guestThis exhibition is part of the 2013 Scotiabank CONTACT Festival


Decolonial Aesthetics (round table)

READING SESSION: Saturday April 27, 2013 at 3:00 – 5:00 PM

On April 27th UnpackStudio will host “No Reading After The Internet”, a salon series dealing with cultural texts, which are read aloud by participants.

In conjunction with an upcoming symposium this fall entitled Decolonial Aesthetics From The Americas, a multidisciplinary and collaborative symposium for artists and scholars of the Americas and the Caribbean, this salon will feature texts related to the general framework of the symposium, as selected by the symposium organizers, e-fagia, and salon hosts, Unpack Studio Gallery.

Decolonial aesthetics acknowledges and subverts the presence of colonial power and control in the realm of the senses. A decolonial option refers to a theoretical, practical or methodological choice geared toward de-linking aesthetics, at the epistemic level, from the discourse of colonialism that is embedded in modernity itself.

A variety of monthly events leading up to the symposium are being organized in an effort to create a dialogue between the artworks and practices performed in Toronto, and the topics of decoloniality. As such, April’s session of “No Reading After the Internet” will examine the relationship between the Transnational Decolonial Institute’s Manifesto on Decolonial Aesthetics and the role of small, experimental, artist-run spaces in opening and engaging with decolonial and pedagogical practices.

This meeting of No Reading After the Internet (Toronto) is supported by the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (as always). Special thanks to e-fagia, FUSE Magazine, and Unpack Studio for collaboration on organizing the salon.


With Adriano Alves Pinto

LECTURE: Monday April 16, 2013 at 6:00 – 9:00 PM

In collaboration with e-Fagia, Unpack Studio is pleased to present Adriano Alves Pinto, Executive Director of the International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil.

The International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil is the main artistic meeting of the geopolitical South, held every two years in Brazil. It aims to map, disseminate and discuss the emerging production in that circuit, and it also plays an important role in dialogue with consolidated Brazilian and international productions and artists.

Among its main segments are the Southern Panoramas exhibition and related curatorships-initiatives from which it has created an active world-wide network of exchange and cooperation. The festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, as it holds its 18th edition from November 5, 2013 to February 2, 2014.

Please join us for this talk, in which Adriano will be speaking about the next edition of the festival, its participants and its related programs.


Bjorn Kammerer

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday April 13, 2013 at 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Vienna-based artist Björn Kämmerer brings his distinctive wit and vision to Toronto with his new installation 8.

Engaging with the unique physical and mechanical qualities of analogue filmmaking and presentation technologies, Kämmerer’s recent works have skirted the borders between representation and abstraction, geometry and geography.

8 marks a foray to a new place both physically and conceptually as the artist himself enters the frame.


Alexandra Majerus, Agustín Rojas & Omar Estrada

RECEPTION & PARTY: Saturday, April 6 2013 at 6:00 – 11:00 PM

Unpack Studio opening in Toronto, ON, Canada.

A platform for artistic collaboration, critical thinking and visual exploration.

Whether working with emerging or established artists, both local and international, our interest lies in the cross section of art as an approach to knowledge. Unpack Studios‘s primary objective is to re-think the cultural space of art as a discipline in contemporary societies.