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.


Gillian Toliver exhibition

April 13th – August 15, 2022
Riverdale Hub, 1st Floor

Gillian Toliver is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. As an artist of mixed Scottish and Caribbean descent, her work often explores spaces existing in an inbetween, a world caught in a moment of creation. Resisting the systematic confinement and censuring of women’s bodies and identity, 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 by creating new forms in which to explore personal mythologies.

Toliver has exhibited in both Canada and Italy. Her thesis work Paper Skin Makes Me Waver in the Breeze was awarded the Medal for Drawing and Painting and Nora E. Vaughan Award at OCAD University in 2019.

Image: Gillian Toliver, Tell My Skin I’m Here, Ink on handmade paper, 2022

Stephanie Ionita: Odds and Ends

July 12th – August 15th, 2022
Riverdale Hub, 1st Floor

What importance do everyday objects hold? How do they change their use over time, and how do they become separated from their meaning? Stephanie Ionita uses paint to describe bodily perception in Odds and Ends. Drawing from lived experience, memory, and the coming-of-age process, Ionita gesturally traces the wonders of junk; the objects that have followed her from home to home throughout her life.

Stephanie Ionita is an artist from Norfolk County, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Studio Art (2017). Stephanie has exhibited in the Norfolk Arts Center (Simcoe, ON) and Button Factory Arts (Waterloo, ON). She is currently a Teacher Candidate at Brock University (2023) in hopes to become a classroom art teacher.

Image: Stephanie Ionita, Odds and Ends Untitled No. 1, Oil on Canvas, 2020

Tazeen Qayyum: A Facade of Beauty and Integrated Fear

May 1st – July 31st
Opening Reception: May 15th, 12pm – 5pm

Riverdale Hub Gallery, 3rd Floor
(By appointment only, please. Contact dana@riverdalehub.ca)

In 2002, Tazeen Qayyum began a series of work that fosters ideals of resilience and survival in unfavorable circumstances or unsympathetic environments. As a response to the American propaganda that fueled the ‘War on Terror’, this series presents the cockroach as a motif on how political warfare has reduced the value of a human life to that of a household pest.

Read More

For years, American political propaganda has been presented and packaged in a way to program fear of the ‘Other,’ just as society has been taught to fear the cockroach. In A Facade of Beauty and Integrated Fear, Qayyum disputes this programming by delicately presenting painted cockroaches in an archival manner. This preservation style remodels institutional education, allowing Qayyum’s own experience to inform her audiences on decades of war related upheavals.

Through intricate compositions in the style of traditional Indian miniature painting, the cockroach becomes a site of tension between attraction and repulsion. The adorned carcasses invite viewers in before they are confronted with the immense discomfort of these lived realities. A Facade of Beauty and Integrated Fear reminds us that we must continue to mobilize against war, racism, and Islamophobia. Many of the concerns Qayyum faced twenty years ago are still pressing today.

This exhibition is curated from a selection of works created between 2006-2009 and has been supported by The Ontario Arts Council.

Image: Tazeen Qayyum, Test on a Small Area before Use – 3 (detail), Opaque watercolor, entomology pins, paper labels and cotton thread on wasli (prepared archival paper) in wooden display case, 2007

Nicole Helena: Perpetually Me

May 1st – June 30th, 2022
Opening Reception: May 15th, 12–5pm

Riverdale Gallery, 3rd Floor

For years, I found myself lost in the abundance of potential in the photo industry, and in some ways, I still do. Initially started five years ago, my inclination to shoot analog photos heightened during the pandemic and although I couldn’t place why, it felt like the right direction. It removed me from the stress of my commercial practice and had me seeking boundless beauty in the everyday. It took much reflection to recognize the significance of this pull, but shifting my focus away from producing commercial content and moving into medium format film unveiled a necessary change in my approach to creating. Rather than rapidly capturing everything I could – filling archives with countless files, I was suddenly forced to focus on the intention behind every captured frame. It allowed an introspective revelation of an underlying theme often seen in these images – an all encompassing feeling of loneliness and longing. I’ve crafted a slow, careful approach to my work, finding appreciation in the subtle scenes where nothing happens. Perpetually Me is an ode to the fleeting, intimate, and lonesome moments that pass us by, often remarking of what once was, or what could be.

-Nicole Helena

This exhibit is part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Image: Nicole Helena, Laurentides Au Petit Matin, Giclée print, 2021

Alkarim Jadavji: Breakout

May 1st – June 30th
Opening Reception: May 15th, 12pm – 5pm

Riverdale Hub, Café Gallery

With the state of the world as it is today, getting lost in the mire is almost second nature. As a result, we feel defeated or powerless more often than not. To counter those feelings, Breakout takes everyday Torontonians and gives them a fictional space to momentarily play and exist. Using dynamic motion and cinematic camera angles, these candid images, which are minimally styled and shot in spaces around Toronto, now become a space for escapism. Breakout provides its POC subjects an adventure where they can feel transcendent, even if it’s just for a moment.

This exhibit is part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Image: Alkarim Jadavji, Kyla, Photograph, 2021

Beyond the Screens: Art & Art History Grad Show

May 7th – May 29th, 2022
Riverdale Hub Gallery, 1st Floor

Presented by the Department of Visual Studies Student Society (DVSSS), Beyond the Screens is a multidisciplinary grad exhibition from the Art and Art History Program at the University of Toronto, Mississauga and Sheridan College. This exhibition explores concepts of identity, marginalization and, most importantly, human experiences. As physical spaces begin to reintroduce art exhibitions, this graduating class sought a space to share their lived experiences beyond the screens of virtual exhibitions. This exhibition includes paintings, installations, sculptures, videos, and both digital and analog photography.

Featuring works by: Ayden Beck, Dania Sabri, Jiachen (Coral) Zhu, Kathleen Gonzalez, Kyra Williamson, Manjot Pabla, Masha Le Do, Morrigan Elise Crotty, Sofia Sue-Wah-Sing, Spenta Chothia, Tooba Ijaz, Trina Chen, and Victoria Buda

Curated by Tooba Ijaz

Image credits: Dania Sabri, Shafaq, 2021

Amanda Pistillo: Live with Love

April 13th – May 31st, 2022
Riverdale Hub, Co-Working Space

Amanda Pistillo is a self-taught artist with a passion for designing mixed media artwork. She has been creating ever since she was a young child, exploring the freedom and wonder of art. Her artwork is always created with the sincere hope that they provide happiness to others! One of the goals in designing her artwork is to encourage others to create in their own unique artistic style. Amanda’s heart is at the center of her design process, always guiding her to create with love! 

Image: Amanda Pistillo, Cicely Tyson, Mixed Media Acrylic And Collage On Canvas, 2021

Fong Ki Wan: Mind Waves

January 1st – April 24th, 2022
Riverdale Gallery, 1st Floor

Fueled by an investigation of emotional responses towards real and subconscious interactions, Mind Waves transforms the Riverdale Hub into an abstracted realm of emotion. As Fong Ki Wan distinguishes the feelings that carry her through these interactions, she crafts them into tangible works of abstracted art to preserve the memories.

With a series of interpretative paper cuts and folded dreamscapes, Wan establishes a space that is conducive to emotional exploration. Mind Waves invites viewers to connect with the experiences and feelings laid out before them and to consider the emotions that sustain their own existence.

Image: Fong Ki Wan, We Can Make It, papercut, 2018

Khadijah Morley & eva birhanu: Intricacies of the Gaze

February 22nd – April 24th, 2022
Riverdale Gallery, 3rd Floor

As an invitation to introspection, Intricacies of the Gaze explores and preserves two perspectives of Black womanhood. Together, Khadijah Morley and eva birhanu use their practices to expand on their diasporic experiences to engage with the multiplicity of Blackness through a transfusion of textiles and print media. Here the two artists present work that contends with the duality of their self-perception: how the world views them and how they view themselves.

Read More

As viewers move from one artist to the next, they will note how both Morley and birhanu narrate the elements of their identity that are both constructed and critiqued by the gazes of the world around them. It visually speaks to the act of watching while being watched. Through iconography and illustrative narratives of racial identity, Intricacies of the Gaze utilizes the synergy of Morley and birhanu to construct a space that allows for conversation on Black womanhood and acts as an extension to ideologies well known to Black and Black biracial women.

Image: Khadijah Morley, Just Like Your Mother i, etching, aquatint , 2018

Lida Shanehchiyan: Reverie

February 1st – March 25th, 2022
Riverdale Hub, Café Gallery

Lida Shanehchiyan is an Iranian-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and designer passionate about making everyday life more satisfying by creating thoughtful and striking visual products. Reverie is a visually expressive exploration of daydreaming, a self-healing mechanism that Shanehchiyan utilizes to contend with difficult moments in her life. As a child, Shanehchiyan would use this technique to conjure positive experiences that could detach herself from bitter moments in life. For instance, she often wished to become a mermaid so that she could swim beneath water all of the time. Her wishful thoughts were romantic, innocent, and childish, speaking to wonder and power behind the imagination of daydreaming.

Image: Lida Shanehchiyan, Farewell my Bird of Paradise, pen and paper, 2021

Parth Upadhye: Vibrant Calm

Dec. 1 – Dec. 20, 2021
Riverdale Gallery, 1st Floor

Parth Upadhye is a Toronto-based artist. His approach is one of introspection and the ethos of his work is “vibrant calm.” Fascinated by stories people have been telling each other for centuries, he reinvents these narratives. His intent is to extend both the creative and appreciative processes. His works do not mimic nature or existing human outputs. They are deliberately created to encourage the viewer to meditate on lines, shapes and colors.

Image: Parth Upadhye, Vibrant Calm X, oil on canvas

Devon Pryce: Unfamiliar Resemblance

Sept. 1 – December 31, 2021
Riverdale Gallery, 1st Floor

Devon Pryce is an artist currently based in Toronto. He completed his BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University. Devon’s work incorporates painting, digital concepts, and cinematic themes. His work explores issues of anxiety, the mundane and displacement. Devon is interested in the mechanisms humans use to manipulate their surroundings, and the influence that those measures have on the psyche. His paintings involve experimental renderings of people, places and objects that carry cognitive weight, and are rendered using a thin application of oil paint that allows for an atmospheric and watery quality in the painting. By a process that often crosses digital media with oil painting, the narrative subject matter exists in a balanced space between fabrication and reality.

Image: Devon Pryce, Remedy, oil on canvas, 2021

Karishma Pranjivan: solo show

Sept 1 – October 31, 2021
Riverdale Gallery, 1st Floor

Karishma Pranjivan is an interdisciplinary visual artist currently based in Toronto, Canada. She holds a BA Hons in Creative Direction from the University of the Arts London (2016) and sustains an interest in image-making, design, shape, and movement while utilizing a diverse set of disciplines to approach her work.

For pricing inquiries, please reach out to the artist directly @karrishhma.

Image: Karishma Pranjivan, School Girls, 2019
Canson Rag Photographique Print, 18″ x  18″

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.

Read More

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.

Image: Omayma, the question, watercolour

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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 www.ontariopleinairsociety.com