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AGO Creative Minds

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A series of provocative conversations presented by Jonas & Lynda Prince

Upcoming Event



Watch the event on demand

Friday April 21, 8pm
Massey Hall
$19.50 - $79.50


photo of Sir David Adjaye

Sir David


photo of Christi Belcourt



photo of Junot Díaz



photo of Paul Gross



As nationalist movements rise in the West following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—and as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation—there is no better moment to ask the question: what makes a nation?

Creative Minds continues with a debate about the nation-state and its impacts, discussing current global politics and how art shapes our understanding of place, history and progress.

Moderator Matt Galloway will lead the artists in a discussion that begins with the ways each has approached these issues in their practice, before opening up the conversation to debate broader questions about today’s political moment, including issues of migration, colonialism, protest and how we might find connection across difference.

The event will unfold over 90 minutes, opening with a live performance before moving into the discussion.

photo of matt galloway

Matt Galloway



Musical Performer

Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Based in London, U.K., Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. Since forming Adjaye Associates in 2000, he has won several prestigious commissions, including the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo (2005), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), and the forthcoming new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2009 a team led by Adjaye was selected to design the new $360 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington DC., which opened in September 2016 to universal praise. Adjaye frequently collaborates with contemporary artists on art and installation projects, including Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson. In 2015 a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work to date was held at Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Christi Belcourt is a Michif (Métis) visual artist and author whose ancestry originates from the Métis historic community of Manitou Sakhigan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, Canada. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario, where in 2015 her painting The Wisdom of the Universe was voted by gallery visitors as “People’s Choice”, their favourite work in the collection. She is the co-founder of Walking with our Sisters, a touring memorial project that honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and the United States. In 2015, her work gained international recognition when she a collaborated with the fashion house Valentino to create a collection that featured prints based on her work Water Song. In 2016, she received a Governor General’s Innovation Award for her work to raise awareness about Indigenous issues in Canada.
Junot Díaz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has centred the American immigrant experience in his work. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, he is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the recipient of the Ella Baker Award from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, recognizing writers for work that advances social justice.
Paul Gross is one of Canada’s most popular actors on stage and screen, internationally known for his role as Constable Benton Fraser on the award-winning drama series Due South. Gross wrote, directed and starred in the films Hyena Road, Passchendaele and Men with Brooms, which was the highest-grossing English-language Canadian film of the previous 20 years. Passchendaele was the highest grossing Canadian film of 2008 and won five Genie Awards, including Best Picture. He has won multiple Gemini awards for his performances, including two for the critically acclaimed series Slings & Arrows. A recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the Earle Grey Award, a lifetime achievement honour from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Gross was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2013.
Matt Galloway is the host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One, 99.1 FM, and the co-host of Podcast Playlist on CBC Radio One. He anchored CBC Radio's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics live from Beijing, and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2012, he was given the Excellence In Community Service Award for addressing issues confronting diverse communities by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, and in 2013 received the Award for Diversity and Social Inclusion by the Tagore Anniversary Celebrations Committee of Toronto. Toronto Life Magazine named him one of the city’s most influential people in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and he also received the African Canadian Achievement Award for excellence in Media.
Whitehorse is the Toronto-born, JUNO-winning folk-rock duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland. Their debut full-length album, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, was shortlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Their follow up, Leave No Bridge Unburned, won the 2016 JUNO for Alternative Album of the Year. Their newest release, The Northern South Vol. 1, finds the duo expanding their musical range further into psychedelic-tinged blues rock. They’ve toured across Canada and internationally and are renowned for their live show, which shows off Doucet’s incredible guitar skills and McClelland’s powerhouse voice.
IMAGE CREDITS: Sir David Adjaye photo by Alex Fradkin, Christi Belcourt photo by David Barbour, Junot Díaz photo by Nina Subin, Matt Galloway courtesy CBC.


CREATIVE MINDS is a landmark series of events that bring together visionary artists to discuss their work and the urgent social, political and cultural issues of our time. Four leading Canadian cultural institutions—the Art Gallery of Ontario, Massey Hall, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Banff Centre for Arts + Creativity—have come together to create this initiative with the support of Series Presenters Jonas & Lynda Prince, whose leadership inspired the development of the project.

The conversations are moderated by a leading journalist and each event opens with a musical performance, a nod to the legacy of Massey Hall. The events are streamed online and broadcast on radio by CBC, giving audiences across Canada an opportunity to hear what the artists have to say.

Creative Minds aims to examine the present and imagine our futures through the eyes of artists, celebrating the vitally important role they play in shaping our lives, our ideas and our world.


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Past Events


Watch the first event on demand

September 20, 2016
Massey Hall

Creative Minds launched with a sold-out conversation about one of today's most urgent issues: social justice and the political and cultural barriers to inclusion and equality.

As movements such as #IdleNoMore and #BlackLivesMatter gain momentum in Canada and around the world, how do we address systemic oppression? And what is required for true reconciliation and real progress?

Opening with a special performance by critically acclaimed soprano Measha Brueggergosman and moderated by CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway, the series launch unfolded with a discussion about each artist’s relationship to activism, resistance and reconciliation through the lens of their work and life experiences.

photo of andre alexis



photo of buffy sainte-marie


Musician/ Artist

photo of deepa mehta



photo of rebecca belmore



photo of matt galloway

Matt Galloway


Measha Brueggergosman

Musical Performer

André Alexis is an acclaimed novelist, playwright and librettist. Born in Trinidad and raised in Canada, he has been the recipient of several significant Canadian literary awards. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His other books include Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas: A Play.
Buffy Sainte-Marie is an award-winning musician, songwriter, activist, educator, and visual artist whose audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over four decades. She is known for her 1960s protest anthems (“Universal Soldier”), open-hearted love songs (“Until It’s Time for You to Go”), incendiary powwow rock (“Starwalker”), and the Academy Award–winning song “Up Where We Belong,” which Sainte-Marie co-wrote for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. One of the most compelling artists of our time, she combines a high-energy stage presence with cerebral songs that tell powerful stories.
Deepa Mehta is an Academy Award-nominated transnational filmmaker whose films have played major film festivals around the globe. Acclaimed as daring, fearless and provocative, her work challenges traditions and stereotypes. She is best known for her Elements Trilogy of Fire, Earth, and Water, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her other directing credits include Bollywood/Hollywood, Heaven on Earth, Midnight’s Children, the epic adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s three-time Booker Prize–winning novel, and her latest film, Beeba Boys, a tough, stylish gangster film.
Rebecca Belmore is a Montreal-based multi­disciplinary artist and a member of the Lac Seul First Nation at Frenchman's Head, Ontario. In 2013 she won the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. She gained international acclaim at the 2005 Venice Biennale’s Canadian Pavilion where she was the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada. Belmore has exhibited and performed internationally and nationally since 1987. She won the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s prestigious VIVA Award 2004 and the 2009 Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and many others.
Matt Galloway is the host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One, 99.1 FM, and the host of Podcast Playlist on CBC Radio One. He has anchored CBC Radio's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics live from Beijing, and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2012, he was given the Excellence In Community Service Award for addressing issues confronting diverse communities by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, and in 2013, received the Award for Diversity and Social Inclusion by the Tagore Anniversary Celebrations Committee of Toronto. In 2015, Toronto Life Magazine named him one of Toronto's top 15 most influential people, and he also received the African Canadian Achievement Award for excellence in Media.
Measha Brueggergosman is an award-winning Canadian soprano who is recognized around the world for her spectacular voice and innate musicianship. She has shared the stage with the likes of Bill Gates and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and given performances for Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Queen Elizabeth II. At the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, 3.2 billion television viewers from across the globe witnessed her singing during the Opening Ceremonies. Her musical range encompasses everything from gospel hymns and jazz standards to classical music. She is also Canadian good-will ambassador for African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Learning Through the Arts and the World Wildlife Fun (WWF).
IMAGE CREDITS: André Alexis photo by Hannah Zoe Davison, Buffy Sainte-Marie photo by Matt Barnes, Deepa Mehta photo by Mark Peckmezian, Rebecca Belmore photo by Martin Lipman, Matt Galloway courtesy CBC.