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Syrus Marcus Ware          

Vanier Scholar, Visual Artist, Activist, Curator & Educator

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator. Using painting, installation, and performance, Syrus works with and explores social justice frameworks and Black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including solo shows at Grunt Gallery in 2018 )2068:Touch Change) and Wil Aballe Art Projects in 2021 (Irresistible Revolutions). His work has been featured as part of the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art in 2019 in conjunction with the Ryerson Image Centre (Antarctica and Ancestors, Do You Read Us? (Dispatches from the Future)), as well as for the Bentway’s Safety in Public Spaces Initiative in 2020 (Radical Love). Syrus has participated in group shows at the Never Apart in Montreal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of York University, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and as part of the curated content at Nuit Blanche 2017 (The Stolen People; Won't Back Down). His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016 & 2019), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015).

Syrus' recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay (2016-2021), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). Syrus is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre occurring from 2016-2017.

He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. He is the co-editor of the best-selling Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (URP, 2020) and has also co-edited Queering Urban Justice: Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto (University of Toronto Press, 2017) and Marvellous Grounds: Queer of Colour Histories of Toronto (Between the Lines Publishing, 2017).

Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter—Toronto and a co-curator of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. He is also on the executive team of the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism and a Faculty Member of the inaugural Black Arts Fellowship. Syrus has won several awards, including the TD Diversity Award in 2017, was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005), and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award (2012). Syrus completed his PhD at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies in 2021 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of the Arts (Theatre and Film Studies) at McMaster University.

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