MOCA x PURPLE NIGHTS
Highbrow artistry meets contemporary culture
Artistic direction by Lauren Pirie
Featuring members of the Royal Conservatory of Music performing an anthology of Frank Ocean
A unique visual and social experience.
Jaime McCuaig and Graham Teeple
Sarah may taylor
JORDAN Söderberg mills
and the royal conservatory of music
Carving out an alternative and personal voice for himself, James Baley is a Juno nominated, multi-disciplinary performer and music creator from Toronto who’s unapologetic energy magnetizes audiences. Performing with the likes of July Talk, Zaki Ibrahim, AZARI and U.S. Girls, his influences continue to grow. Known as Songbird Miyake-Mugler in the eccentric world of ballroom, James has won a few grand prizes creating and fashioning custom looks walking the runway category.
Jessica Karuhanga is an artist based in Toronto, Canada. She has presented her work at Goldsmiths, London (2016), the Art Museum at University of Toronto (2018) and Onsite Gallery at OCAD University, Toronto (2018). She has given lectures for The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Royal Ontario Museum as well as Tisch School of the Arts at NYU’s Black Portraitures Series. Her writing has been published by BlackFlash Magazine, C Magazine, Susan Hobbs Gallery and Fondarie Darling. She has been featured in i-D, DAZED, Border Crossings, Toronto Star, CBC Arts, NOW Magazine, Globe and Mail and Canadian Art. She earned her BFA from Western University and her MFA from University of Victoria.
A tribute to: Kyoto + Tokyo / A tribute to: Luxor, Aswan + Cairo
Sara Elgamal is an international Filmmaker, who has produced work in Dubai, Japan, the UK more. Using compelling and high quality visuals to tell meaningful global stories (documentary, branded content, music videos, short films), she aims to shift the narratives and perceptions of underrepresented regions and people.
Alex McLeod is a Canadian visual artist informed by simulation and the transition of matter. His overall practice explores lifecycles, connectivity, and empathy to space. As a digital artist, he uses computer software to create 3D rendered environments, producing forms without the rules and boundaries of the material world. Through print, animation and sculpture, McLeod’s work pushes unnatural phenomenon into this dimension - opening up an alternate view or portals, into experiencing time and space in a non-linear way.
Amika Cooper bka blackpowerbarbie is an illustrator and animator from Toronto, currently based in New York. Her work spans from editorial illustration to music videos and animated installations. She takes her emotions, a song or a story and distills it into an image. Regardless of the project blackpowerbarbie focuses her work on lovingly representing the emotional vulnerability, complexity, joy and beauty of black women and other femmes of colour.
with Daniel Santokie, Rodney Diverlus, and Shakeil Rollock
Jah Grey is a self-taught visual artist, primarily focused on photographic portraiture who began his career in 2014. His photographs focuses on the relationship between body and space, showcasing the struggle between the idealized norm vs. the desired embodiment. His work is inspired by shared experiences of vulnerability. His subjects are typically black men who do not fit, or have a desire to fit the label of hyper-masculinity imposed upon them.
with Songbird Miyake-Mugler, Twysted Miyake-Mugler
Sammy Rawal is a Canadian music video / commercial director and digital artist currently based in Toronto. His work has been exhibited internationally and garnered attention for his use of bold colour, choreography and hyper-stylized approach. Proclaimed as "The King of GIFs" by Little Black Book, he's worked with the likes of Cardi B to Elton John and has recently directed commercial campaigns for Pringles, Equinox, Reebok, Lululemon and SoulCycle. Sammy is also the co-founder / resident DJ of Yes Yes Y'all, Canada's largest queer hip hop / dancehall party that seeks to create spaces for LGBTQ2 POC. He is currently represented worldwide by Believe Media, by Revolver Films in Canada, and IC in Paris. @sammyrawal
Alisson Escobar is a mythopoeic transmedia artist + art worker living and operating in Toronto, Canada. Escobar’s work exists in the digital wilderness, a place where finishes, effects, surfaces and algorithms demonstrate the complexity of the medium. Their work is concerned with the power of images, technology and the degree to which we are shaped by consumer capitalist culture and mass media.
Through their work, they attempt to engage and interact with the public by creating, facilitating or collaborating in shared experiences.
They hold a BFA with an honorable mention from the Ontario College of Art and Design University.
MANGO PEELER (Jepoy Garcia) is a Filipino-Canadian Artist Athlete currently based in Toronto. His multi-disciplinary artistic and athletic practice are synonymous. He is passionate about bringing people together through nature, high mileage training, and nomadic culture. Currently his focus is on large scale murals, installations, old cars, residencies, live screen printing activations, and endurance art. He has also run 6 marathons, including 2 World Majors (Boston & Chicago) and ran the Marathon of Contemporary Art & Athletics (MXCAA) in an old garage studio off the Toronto Railpath. MXCAA served as a home base for artists and runners which also became known as 'The Dojo'.
Whyishnave Suthagar is an installation artist and graphic designer from Toronto, Ontario. She has received her BFA from McMaster's School of the Arts and was a part of the 14.0 Remix Project. To date she has shown her work at the McMaster Museum of Art, WIPP Toronto at MUCH Music, the Gladstone Hotel, Manifesto 2018 and the Drake Hotel. Her first solo exhibit was hosted at Stackt Market Toronto. Whyishnave Suthagar’s practice focuses on creating site specific installations using black light and thread. The goal of her work is to play with light and space to create immersive meditative experiences. Themes she explores in her work include ancient myths, dreams, memory and the subconscious mind.
Glory From Above
“Glory From Above” is a visual ode to Frank as he relates to my personal journey of discovery through sexuality and new ideas of what the man I’ve always known I should be looked like. The vertical tryptic is a literal upward rising to a place of peace within myself that’s been so guided by the life and music that Frank has shared. Lower (1/3): Nostalgia/Ultra, Middle (2/3): Channel Orange, Top (3/3): Blond(e)
Bryan Espiritu is a Toronto-born multi-disciplinary creative who uses art, design, and writing as therapeutic vehicles for himself and his audience. His work is largely informed by his experiences with trauma and mental health and seeks to create real and jarring personal connection no matter the output.
Jaime McCuaig and Graham Teeple
Jaime McCuaig and Graham Teeple combine floral installation, gardening practice, and ecopsychology to create sculptural, site-specific work.
Here, they present a psychedelic encounter in the night garden. A slinking shimmer that blends primal beauty and doom through natural and synthetic prisms. Soft, warped, and intimate - a moment between infatuation and heartache.
Sarah May Taylor
The Last Queen
In Ocean’s epic Pyramids I hear not only the narratives he weaves together but those which remain unspoken; the journey into the underworld of women who must descend into the depths of themselves exploring archetypes of great pain and internalized misogyny which ultimately seek a release in the hopes of healing, joy, self-expression and pleasure. What would it mean to honestly look at representations of female sexuality that not only reflect authentic experiences but also mirror the fears and desires that we have been taught to regard as forbidden? How has patriarchy shaped the ways in which you participate in misogyny? What have you done with your pleasure?
Sarah May Taylor’s developing studio practice interrogates themes of identity, fracture, notions of belonging, the female body and the role of the divine. Taylor has a background in television and music journalism and is currently studying sculpture and art & social change at OCADU.
Raoul Olou is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Toronto. His work focus on home, belonging and archiving the mundane. Olou was selected by the Akin Studio Program as one of 30 artists invited to move their studios into the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto. Raoul created this custom Frank Ocean portrait for MOCA x Purple Nights.
Jordan Söderberg Mills
Monument to the Unreal
Monument to the Unreal plays with the perceived, imagined, and digitized self, using symbolic features of queer self-representation in the digital age. The mirrors create a feedback loop between subject and object, reality and illusion, and self and selfie.
Jordan Söderberg Mills is a visual artist that explores ideas of perception, identity, and the borders between the physical and the digital. He holds a Masters Degree from Central Saint Martins and is currently based in Berlin, Germany.
Lauren Pirie x Jaime McQuaig + Graham Teeple
A Long Story
A collaboration with Jaime McQuaig and Graham Teeple, with Karin DeWolfe, A Long Story is the seed that spawned the upper level stage installations.
A moment suspended, illuminating the inherent interconnectedness— between human and human and to our shared environment—and at the same time, a yearning for connection. We were interested in the common threads in our personal and global mythologies, and how our willingness to confront our shadows, individually and collectively can lead to growth and healing. Loyal to the natural and the supernatural, with human nature at the centre, everything here is connected and intertwined. Coiling shapes softly reference serpents, which are often perceived as evil, but hold ties to the Earth Mother, creative energy, water, and the underworld, and meld fully here with fantastical anatomies. Bodies assume and reflect the visual language of the plants, or the other way around.
It can be as long as it used to be.
Lauren Pirie is a multidisciplinary artist, art director, and curator with an interest in environment, immersive experience, and socially-engaged art. She’s curated collaborative art-based experiences, large community events, and intimate gallery shows. Her work ranges in scale and medium, from delicate and intricate ink drawings to large murals, as well as painting and sculpture, all exploring environment in relation to connection, desire and healing