Cultural Orphans

Renaissance : artist

Alexis Venerus : curator

Grab-a-Slice gallery : where

11.26-12.02.2019 : when

11.27.2019 : opening reception

cultural orphan poster3_edited.jpg

Alexus Projects is pleased to present Cultural Orphans, a body of work by Renaissance. This show marks the first gallery hosted solo show of his works. 


Ripe with references to pop culture displaying inequality, Renaissance’s work asks for a change to the social ecosystem. Cultural Orphans derives its title from words expressed by Kanye West on Big Boy TV. Here, the rapper stated, “And this one of my main things: What is the culture? It’s like, ‘Man, this ain’t for the culture, we doing something for the culture.’ We are orphans”. Looking for definition through culture, Renaissance pulls reference from the Late Modern Period to now. The Phil Donahue and Geraldo Riviera shows introduce topics rich enough to be brought to talk show programming. The hosts’ pointed interviews pull out the stories of each guest, while audience question periods sample mass public thinking. In response, Renaissance navigates how an audience will “consume” culture versus analyzing concepts. Idle minds are tied to idle hands, following the ideas distributed by propaganda machines and working to perpetuate stereotypes and failure. Propaganda machines exist within social norms and enculture ideas about who does and doesn’t have access to progress. In his visual conversation, words are broken down, crossed out and highlighted calling attention to common etymologies in the language of power. Is there hope for change if the information distribution systems don’t improve?


Making use of the visual tools found in maps and infographics he forms a basis for sorting and storing information within his work. These elements chaotically splice together his ‘Revelations’ forming narratives within each piece. This process concludes to find itself painted on garments or canvases (worn as capes) into institutions such as Toronto’s AGO and the Guggenheim in New York. His performances demand space be made for his work in places which often host only those who have risen to certain cultural magnitude. In his performances, groups of participants don garments, posing to install his work amongst the likes of the Impressionists and early Renaissance painters. In this way, spectators are left to ask if the whole is a Madame Tussaud-esque sculpture put in place by the gallery. Cultural Orphans shares the build up to and paraphernalia from these social experiments.


Renaissance’s current body of work takes form in the Ago Experiment and Art on the Train. These projects spark consciousness in their public interactions. His works have notably been displayed inside of the AGO (Toronto), Guggenheim (New York), and outside Musée d'art Contemporain (Montréal), and the Toronto City Hall. You may see him on the streets whizzing by on his motorized skateboard dressed in his work. He is an artist from the Planet Earth and is currently based in the city of Toronto.