By Ahmri Vandeborne, GAC Volunteer
Home to a vibrant, diverse arts community spanning a variety of disciplines and practices, Guelph Ontario is welcoming a new contemporary art gallery to its art scene this summer.
Located in the heart of the Ward, just East of downtown Guelph, Lalani Jennings Contemporary Art Inc. is opening its doors for their debut exhibition, “Constellations I”, June 25, 2022, featuring the work of Mariana Bolanos, Scott Everingham, Kaley Flowers, Sarah Graeme, Daniel Griffin Hunt, Hannah Johnson, Russna Kaur, Omar Lalani, Lyse Lemieux, Devon Pryce, and Natasha Verbeke. “We’re really looking forward to opening the doors and seeing how people respond,” says co-director, Ross Lalani-Jennings. “The show is a fantastic showcase of what we are aiming to achieve with the gallery. We have aimed to create the most accessible show possible, from the type of works selected, without diluting our core aims as a gallery. We really think there is something for everyone in the show.”
When asked what made them decide to start a contemporary gallery in Guelph, Lalani-Jennings noted “First and foremost Guelph is our home. The city and its people are so welcoming, kind and supportive. Moreover, it has a long history of being artistically inclined.”
Lalani Jennings Contemporary Art Inc. will be focusing on featuring work by BIPOC and female artists. “There have been efforts made in the past few years by galleries to diversify, yet both BIPOC and female artists still remain fantastically overlooked.” Being one of very few galleries in Canada with a Female of Colour Co-Director, Lalani Jennings hopes to “create an open environment of learning and discussion through enabling a platform to showcase a diverse range of artists that, we hope, will open up new opportunities for audiences to engage with works, subjects, and ideas”.
This new addition to Guelph’s art scene also has a priority of working with emerging artists from across the country, with a specific interest in building an environment that allows for the University’s art graduates to gain more recognition. “The city’s best secret is that some of the best artists in the country come through its University every few years, yet are hardly noticed.”
While contributing to the city they call home from a local perspective, Lalani Jennings hopes to use the gallery as a way of entering the world of art fairs, both nationally and internationally. They can be seen at their first event, Papier Contemporary Art Fair August 26 – 28, 2022 in Montreal.
While working with artists for exhibitions and fairs, “the gallery is also a place of collaboration”. Lalani Jennings has partnered with the Toronto based non-profit Inspirations Pottery Studio, and Guelph’s Sage Soap Company, to create unique soap dishes and soap as a fundraiser for the studio.
Offering lots of new excitement to the Guelph Arts scene, Lalani Jennings Contemporary Art Inc. will be a place of contemporary thought, collaboration, and support for underrepresented artists. “We are honoured to be joining an already well established, vibrant and diverse arts community.”
To learn more about Lalani Jennings Contemporary Inc., visit their website at www.lalanijennings.com, and follow them on Instagram, @lalanijennings.