Canadian Community Arts Initiative is a registered non profit organization that has delivered successful and pioneering multi disciplinary Arts festivals in the GTA including TD Mosaic Festival, RTC indie music festival and MISAFF film festival.

October 23, 2015


Zeitgeist; An International Art Biennial Project


 July 13, 2015


On July 6th, the organizers of Zeitgeist, the proposed international Biennial of Art, held a first Think Tank in order to present the ideas behind the event and the main figures leading to its development. The think tank was successful in bringing together many of the GTA's cultural leaders, including artists, museum directors, leaders from the educational world, curators, representatives from governmental agencies and from the corporate world. The day of presentations and discussions was held in one of the GTA's most active cities, culturally speaking, Mississauga. Mayor Bonnie Crombie came in to speak of her support and enthusiasm for Zeitgeist.

Chantal Pontbriand, Canadian curator, editor, and art consultant working internationally,  spoke in detail about the ideas leading to the innovative concept . She first reviewed the history of international art events in the field of contemporary art, including biennials, triennials such as Manifesta, the quinquennial documenta, and other interesting historical events such as Chambres d'amis and the Munster Skulptur Project. The proposed event will build on the lessons taken from that history. But mainly, it aims at rethinking the international art event phenomena and retooling it into an unprecedented concept inspired by the workings of globalization in the specific context of Canada and the GTA.  Canada has the largest immigrant population of all G8 countries (20,4%) and contains a diversity of 200 ethnic groups. Much of this phenomenon is concentrated in the GTA, the third largest economic region of North America. This creates a unique world phenomenon that impacts the arts. For this reason, Zeitgeist will be inherently global as well as local.

 Artists from the GTA, Canada and the different countries reflecting the demographic diversity of GTA will be convened to imagine projects. These will be presented in participating institutions throughout the area, including Museums, art centers, foundations, social spaces such as public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, shops, social centers, factories, production plants, corporate headquarters, public squares and gardens, abandoned lots, as well as private homes in the GTA will constitute the multiple venues where the event will be happening. Different modes of transportation are being thought of in order to connect the venues and enable visitors to access the sites easily, considering the geographical expanse of the GTA.

On the whole Zeitgeist, throughout its different editions will be mapping out the new geo-politics that affect the world today. Every two years, it will take the temperature of global and local issues through contemporary art practices.

Contributing to last Monday's discussion, the think tank gathered the following speakers including:

Bonnie Crombie (Mayor, City of Mississauga), Brian Crombie (Crombie Capital, Evolution Optiks), Paul Damaso (City of Mississauga, Culture Division), Dora García (artist, Barcelona), Andrew Hunter (AGO), Matthew Hyland (Oakville Galleries), Sarat Maharaj (Professor Lund University, Malmö, Sweden, and London, UK), Arshad Mahmood (Invis), Asma Mahmood (artist, director-founder of CCAI), Bernice Morrison (City of Brampton, Arts and Culture), Jérôme Poggi (Les Nouveaux Commanditaires, Paris), Chantal Pontbriand (Pontbriand W.O.R.K.S.), Mandy Salter (Art Gallery of Mississauga), Bohdan Shulakewych (Pellman Shulakewych, Macri Barristers), Yvonne Singer (Visual Arts, York University), Thomas Smart (Peel Art Gallery), Ann Webb (ROM), Gaëtane Verna (The Power Plant), and Carolyn Vesely (Ontario Arts Council).

 The core group steering the development of Zeitgeist is made up of Asma Mahmood, founder and project director of the event, and director of CCAI and Yvonne Singer, co-director of the event, associate professor in Visual Arts at York University, together with   Sarat Maharaj, curator, writer, professor, London, UK, as Artistic Director.

CCAI (Canadian Community Arts Initiative), based in Mississauga, is developing the project .

CCAI is a non profit organization that has successfully pioneered arts and cultural events in Mississauga such as TD Mosaic Festival, Rock the Coliseum (Indie Music Festival) and Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival.



FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact:

Asma Mahmood, CCAI

E-mail :  

Telephone : +1 (647) 286-9596

Website for Zeitgeist :

 Canadian Community Arts Initiative

  1070 Strathy Ave Mississauga ONT, L5E 2J8