About Zeitgeist

There is a need for a greater influence of Canada on the international scene. The world of contemporary art has greatly evolved in the last decades and, for the first time in history, includes all continents, not just Europe and America. The Greater Toronto Area must at this point position itself and become an important player in the international context. The local context can only develop itself further by engaging in actions and events that can lead to an international recognition.

It is with this mindset that we are determined to create an international event which will be held every two years in the GTA.

The concept behind  "Zeitgeist" proposes to engage local and global influences to come together to build upon the unique communities and cultural influences that makeup modern Canada.

Zeitgeist aims to build relationships and projects with various artistic events and projects around the world in an effort to connect Canada with the rest of the world.

 "Zeitgeist" must have an international as well as a local effect .

Since it is to be held in the Greater Toronto Area, and mainly supported by the Peel and Halton regions, we wish to take into account the diversity of the populations inhabiting the region at this point in time. This diversity is linked to globalization and its effects. Canada thrives in its Indigenous and settler communities. The event will build on this phenomenon, but also bring it up to date by including the fact that the Greater Toronto Area is now host to a multitude of people with other origins, Indians, Sikhs, Pakistanis, recent immigration from  the Middle East, Asia, Latin Americas, Eastern Europe countries, just to name a few of the countries and languages represented. 53% of the working population comes from recent immigration. 


  The diversity of the population will be central to the event,  while the 21st century is still emerging out of modernism and ideologies from the past. A new world is being formed before our eyes. Demographics are a good indication of those changes. Zeitgeist  will present projects conceived and developed with local institutions and people. The event will bring together artists who reflect the diversity of the Greater Toronto Region. From each country of origin, we will search for the most remarkable artists emerging there, and will bring them together with artists living and working in Canada and with local populations.  Event aims to create a place for exchange and sharing. This is an event where Hospitality will be at the core.

Zeitgeist 1, will be a first exercise in seeing the world through the eyes of today’s artists and peoples. The event will bring together artist that represent the diversity of GTA.

Sarat Maharaj (London, born in South Africa), writer, researcher, curator, and professor emeritus, will serve as the artistic adviser. Asma Mahmood, Project director, and Yvonne Singer, co-director, will see to the implementation of the project.

 Ernesto Neto,  Pandemonium , 2011, Goteborg Sweden, Photo by Asma Mahmood

Ernesto Neto, Pandemonium, 2011, Goteborg Sweden, Photo by Asma Mahmood


Conceived in 2012 in response to an emerging need for a specialized event in the museum, cultural and heritage sector, work on a biennial 'type contemporary art event was undertaken by Canadian Community Arts Initiative (CCAI) as one of its new projects. With the successful completion of series of community discussions and forum, facilitated by various arts organizations in the region, the groundwork to find support and resources to realize the Zeitgeist was begun. "Zeitgeist 1"  will build in collaboration with various organizations in Mississauga and GTA. 

Next Steps
International arts consultancy Toronto based Lord Cultural Resources is currently developing the business plan for Canada Zeitgeist.