Call for Proposals (Of Africa project)

all for proposals for site-specific artistic intervention at the Royal Ontario Museum
Deadline: September 10, 2014

The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is excited to invite artists of African heritage to submit a proposal for an original artwork to be featured in the Wilson Canadian Heritage Exhibition Room, in the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada. This installation or intervention will explore the position and representations of African Canadians in the nation’s historical and contemporary narratives.

This call is part of the Of Africa project, a multiplatform and multiyear project aimed at rethinking historical and contemporary representations of Africa and its diasporas in one of Canada’s largest cultural institutions. This proposal is aimed at enhancing the ROM’s representation of African Canadian history in its display and creating new opportunities for dialogue and engagement with the public.


Objective and background

On the 25th anniversary of the exhibition Into the Heart of Africa – which revealed deep social, political and racial gaps between the institutional perception of what constituted the “museum public” and the actual complexity of Ontario’s and Toronto’s society – the ROM welcomes a reflection on different ways to present and interpret images, ideas, and histories and to explore the persistent historical absence of people of African descent in the Canadian consciousness.

Despite the fact that Black people have lived in Canada for centuries, they continue to be portrayed as marginal or outsiders. The selected work will help to question this positioning and offer an opportunity for reflection on issues of historical marginalization and racism in mainstream society through a contemporary reframing.

We invite Canadian artists of African heritage to reposition blackness in the Canadian narrative through a creative engagement with the ROM’s Canadian Gallery. We welcome projects that tackle, trouble or contextualize African Canadians’ experience in Canadian society and in relation to the holdings of the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada. We expect this installation/intervention to raise questions, challenge stereotypes, envision futures, and be an opportunity for dialogue and discussion.

The selected project will open during Black History Month and run from February to November 2015 in the Wilson Canadian Heritage Exhibition Room and will be activated with complementary programming.

Adjudication criteria

Project proposals will be reviewed by a jury of professionals from the arts and cultural community and the Royal Ontario Museum. Projects will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The relevance of the project in relation to the call’s objectives;
  • The level of innovation and creativity of the proposed installation or project;
  • The levels of artistry achieved through previous artistic activities;
  • The feasibility of project in relation to budget, time allotted and space available.


The selected artist will receive a $CAD 3,000 prize and up to $CAD 5,000 for production of the work and an additional exhibition and reproduction fee for installation. Artists not living in Toronto, will also receive support for travel and accommodation up to $CAD 2,000 for the return shipping and installation of the work.

The copyright in the work produced and the work itself will remain property of the artist and will be returned at the end of the installation period. Visual documentation of the installation will be archived on the ROM Of Africa website and remain accessible to the public beyond the duration of the exhibition.

Who can participate?

Artists of African heritage (African, Afro-Canadian, Black, Caribbean, etc.) that are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

Submission of proposals

Individual artists or collectives wishing to submit a proposal should contact to request the Application Form.

Proposal should contain:

  1. A completed application form
  2. A detailed description of the project accompanied by all the documentation necessary to provide a full understanding of the scope of the proposal (sketch, photo, video etc).
  3. A technical description of the proposed work (how the work is mounted, dismounted or otherwise installed and the list of technical equipment required)
  4. A budget detailing the costs for project realization

Important Dates

  • All applications must be received by September 2, 2014;
  • The selected artist or collective will be contacted by September 29, 2014;
  • Artwork to be delivered to the ROM by January 5, 2015;
  • February 2015 to November 2015, run of the exhibition in the Wilson Canadian Heritage Exhibition Room.

Please contact for any further queries.

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