SAMARA Contemporary inaugural exhibition 'Centrepiece' opens tonight featuring work by Akin Dupont artist Luke Parnell and Akin MOCA artist David Salazar

SAMARA Contemporary, a new multi-use contemporary art space located in Kensington Market, will open to the public with its first exhibition, ‘Centrepiece’ tonight from 7-9pm. Featuring work by a variety of artists working in diverse media including sculptors Luke Parnell of Akin Dupont and David Salazar of Akin MOCA.


From the elaborate to the absurd centrepieces can direct and command attention or initiate and guide conversation. A centrepiece can exist as a concept, such as a central political or social issue in a debate. It can aesthetically unite a space, or set the tone for a soirée.

Throughout history, centrepieces have been a reflection of the times, whether they be large-scale installations of the 18th century that invoked a feeling of escape into imaginary worlds, or represent a rustic tableau, implying a contemporary preference for a more simple or eco-conscious lifestyle.

With the rich history of display pieces in mind, Centrepiece, the inaugural exhibit at SAMARA Contemporary presents a fantasy world of curated islands, laden with enticing objects.

Participating Artists:
Shary Boyle
Cathy Daley
Kaley Flowers
Emily Jan
Kent Monkman
Julie Moon
Luke Parnell
David Salazar
Leo Scopacasa
Chason Yeboah

Exhibit opening: March 2, 7-10PM
Exhibit closes: March 24
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11-7pm
Gallery location: 156 Augusta Ave, Toronto

About Luke Parnell:
Luke Parnell is a multidisciplinary Indigenous artist of Nisga’a and Haida descent. He is from a long line of fishermen and is Wilp Laxgiik Nisga’a. Follow Luke on Instagram at

About David Salazar:
David Constantino Salazar is a Toronto based sculptor who joined the Akin Studio Program at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada in September 2018. In his work he is interested in exploring the borders between necessity and excess, desires and addiction. Salazar's goal is to create work that is approachable through humour with the intent that the viewer can explore their own relationships with desire and overindulgence through his allegorical sculptures.

About SAMARA Contemporary:
SAMARA Contemporary’s core mission is to embrace and support the work of national and international contemporary creators working in the field of art + design. In addition to our in-house programming, SAMARA C will work closely with exhibiting partners and guest curators to present thoughtful and engaging exhibits that will entice the art-curious and the seasoned collector alike. Located in Toronto’s historic Kensington Market neighbourhood, SAMARA C contributes to the longstanding history and bright future of the area as an innovative and inclusive hub for creative culture.

Must See Weekend Events - September 22 + 23

Weekends often tend to be chock full of events, errands, brunch dates and sleeping in and it can be difficult to remember all the wonderful things that are happening in this bustling city of ours. That being said, we have compiled a list of must see events that are happening this weekend in Toronto. See below for details.

Photo via Canzine.

Photo via Canzine.


Date: September 22 - 1-7PM (SATURDAY ONLY)

Location: Art Gallery of Ontario, Weston Family Learning Centre

Canada’s largest festival of zines and underground culture returns to the Art Gallery of Ontario this fall. The Canzine Festival of Zines and Underground Culture was first held in Toronto in 1995. Since its inception, Canzine has displayed thousands of zines and small press works and hosted hundreds of writers and performers. Canzine is the place to check out zines and small press works from over 200 artists, writers and vendors. This years event features a number of Akin artists including: Jen Pilles, Julianne Ess, Enrique V Gaudite, Christopher Green, and more!

Canzine is organized by Broken Pencil: The Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts, and presented in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario.

An artist in her booth at the 2017 Queen West Art Crawl.

An artist in her booth at the 2017 Queen West Art Crawl.

Queen West Art Crawl

Date: September 22 + 23

Special Event: Art After Dark presented by QWAC occurs on September 22 from 6-11PM.

Location: Trinity Bellwoods Park

The Queen West Art Crawl (QWAC) is a charitable organization designed to celebrate and promote the art, culture and diversity of Queen West in Toronto. The cornerstone of QWAC is the Outdoor Art Exhibition in beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park in September, which draws over 60,000 visitors annually. The Art Exhibition features a juried selection of the province’s best artists and artisans, and also showcases a Kids Zone, Performance Zone and Toronto’s best food vendors. This year’s event features Akin artists Andrea Bailey of Lansdowne Studios and more!

Screenshot 2018-09-22 at 8.59.45 AM.png

House of Vans: Toronto

Date: September 22 + 23

Location: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd.

The House of Vans is where “off the wall” lives. It’s a place where imagination lets loose over concrete bowls, art installations, workshops and concert stages, inspiring every person who runs, rolls, or stomps through its door. Located in Brooklyn, New York, Chicago, Illinois and Waterloo, London, as well as pop-ups around the world, the House of Vans is home to the creativity that moves us. This year’s Toronto event features live pottery wheel workshops by Akin Ossington member Leora Israel.


People & Trees

Date: September 22 - 30

Location: Dentonia Park, 80 Thyra Avenue, Toronto.

People & Trees is an art installation by Akin Lansdowne member Sarvenaz Rayati about the life of trees. Sarvenaz Rayati is a multidisciplinary artist now based in Toronto. She received her BA in painting and BA in visual communication from art university in Tehran. She has exhibited her work internationally and Since moving to Toronto she has been part of different art projects.

About Arts in the Parks:
Arts in the Parks brings free, family-friendly arts events and activities to a park near you. Think theatre performances, dance classes, workshops, movies, festivals and more, right in your backyard!


MOCA Toronto International Grand Opening

Date: September 22 + 23

Location: 158 Sterling Road, Toronto

Visit the new MOCA Toronto, a place of conversation, exchange and exploration where visitors of all ages and backgrounds can be part of a global creative moment. We welcome you a fully programmed building that features work by world-renowned Canadian and international artists, exploring the themes of our time. Featuring the Akin Studio Program on the 4th floor. Drop by the 4th floor to view working artist studios and learn more about Akin’s studios and ongoing programming.