Land Acknowledgment

Gallery 44 acknowledges that it is situated on stolen land. We work and create on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe, the Wendat and the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis and is protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement—a treaty that extends to Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations and invites us to share the land peacefully through mutual cooperation. Gallery 44 is inspired by the spirit of this agreement and through our work, seeks to share space and build equitable and reciprocal relationships across communities.

Acknowledging the original custodians of the land is a pivotal first step toward reconciliation; however, acknowledgements should also facilitate responsible actions. More needs to be done by settlers, by our government and by us as arts practitioners to be positive stewards, and to educate ourselves and others on the enduring legacies of colonial violence.

We acknowledge that photography has close ties to colonialism: photography was used as a tool of European imperialism and many image-making and circulation practices today continue to perpetuate the harms of capital, racism and violence.[1] As our modes of working shift toward digital space, we recognize that technology infrastructure is also built on the settler-oriented logic of resource extraction and land exploitation. Gallery 44 commits to using our platform as a vehicle to uphold dissenting histories—amplifying underrecognized practices that have complicated eurocentric narratives for generations. We wish to engage the medium towards new futures that move photography beyond its colonial roots in transgressive and boundary-pushing ways.

We do this by initiating exhibition and education programs driven by artists with culturally-specific knowledge who bring practices of care to challenging topics.

Current and recent examples include:

At this moment of severe climate crisis, it is important to acknowledge that Indigenous communities continue to live under inequitable conditions, impacting all aspects of life, from access to housing, healthcare and safe water to equipment and infrastructure. We recognize that Indigenous epistemologies are critical for learning to care for the environment and mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Gallery 44, as an organization, chooses to take responsibility for climate action and encourages climate consciousness amongst our community.

Operational decisions at Gallery 44 that reflect this commitment include:

  • Continued tenancy at 401 Richmond, an adaptive reuse building that incorporates sustainable building efforts and a commitment to environmentally sound practices in restoration, operation and maintenance, run by a certified B Corp property group. 
  • Conscious decision-making to lower waste in exhibition production by participating in community-driven activities like the Artist Material Fund, resource sharing within the building and Toronto arts community, and reducing quantity of printed matter. 
  • Continued operation of production facilities as a co-work space, reusing second-hand materials and equipment and facilitating similar exchanges amongst our membership.
  • Purchasing from local retailers and promoting education around alternative, non-toxic darkroom materials and practices.

Finally, we are committed to reviewing this Land Acknowledgement and associated initiatives on an ongoing basis and will use the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an annual prompt to do so.

On the occasion of our first annual review of this acknowledgement, we recognize that the housing crisis has only become more urgent, but also, that this is an ongoing, generational issue for both urban and rural Indigenous communities.

Given this context, Gallery 44's Access and Inclusive Action Committee developed the following prompts for Board, staff and committees to consider our geographic position in downtown Toronto where land is at a premium and people can’t afford to live and work. What does it mean to take up space here?


  • Alongside this lack of access to housing and work space, how can we act with solidarity, what services can we provide?
  • How does our presence within the community facilitate artistic practice, offer accessibility?
  • If we feel we are already doing this work: is it working, can we improve it, who are we serving, who can we serve better?
  • What would dream solutions be, if we had no barriers or limits?

Updated: September 23, 2023

[1]Teju Cole, “When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.),” The New York Times Magazine, 6 February 2019.
[2]“Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in Canada: Health Impacts,” National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH), 2022.
      “Access to health services as a social determinant of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Health,” National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH), 2019.
     Emma Greenfield, “Digital Equity for Indigenous Communities,” Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, 7 July 2020.

Resources Consulted

Further Reading

Statement of Solidarity

June 2, 2020

Gallery 44 denounces police brutality and systemic racism that continues to enact violence towards Black, Indigenous and POC communities in Canada and the United States. We are deeply saddened and angered by the ongoing violence towards Black communities and stand in solidarity against these oppressions.

G44 understands that galleries are not neutral spaces and recognizes that our society is built on various structural inequities, including systemic racial discrimination, and that these inequities continue to create barriers to access and participation. We are committed to being a positive force to eliminate such barriers, and to uphold anti-racism as part of the core value and mission of our organization. 

It is important to make time to listen, understand and stand up against systemic and individual acts of violence and racism. We must continue to educate ourselves particularly on our own histories of racism within Canada, and wish to share this evolving list of resources as a starting point. 



Learning Resources

Resources we have been using.

Critical Race Theory

Anti-Racism Resources

Educate Yourself

Policing Black Lives, Robyn Maynard

The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale 

The Urgency of Intersectionality, Kimberlé Crenshaw TED Talk

Sightlines a podcast by The Ryerson Image Centre

The State of Blackness, a repository of work by Black Canadian cultural producers

Board Diversity & Pluralism with Zainub Verjee

Zainub Verjee is currently the Executive Director at OAAG. She discussed this talk and it's themes of diversity management a bit in text here.  Great the breakdown and historical background on how we moved from words such as equality, to diversity and inclusion and perhaps how this relates to anti-racism movements.

Conceptions of White: A Research Toolkit on the Origins and Meanings of White Identity

Mackenzie Art Gallery's thorough research project and an interesting example of how arts orgs are developing resources and literacy around systemic issues.

iHollaback Training

Free online workshops on methodologies in the areas of bystander intervention, conflict de-escalation, harassment prevention, and resilience.

Canadian cultural institutions have silenced Black voices for years. Can we write a new chapter?

Amanda's article is a helpful summary of Black-led activism and attempts to challenge anti-Black racism in the cultural sector. She documents four recent movements (many of which are in Toronto) as case studies.

White Institution's Guide For Welcoming Artists of Color

The default nonprofit board model is archaic and toxic; let’s try some new models

Moving Beyond Statements of Solidarity