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  • Mary Mattingly. House and Universe: Sphere and Cube, CAFKA.14, 2014. Photo: Robert McNair.
    Mary Mattingly. House and Universe: Sphere and Cube, CAFKA.14, 2014. Photo: Robert McNair.
  • Don Miller. Saturn and Cronus, CAFKA.14, 2014. Photo: Robert McNair.
    Don Miller. Saturn and Cronus, CAFKA.14, 2014. Photo: Robert McNair.
  • Samuel Roy-Bois. The Brittle Edges of Coherence, CAFKA.14, 2014. Photo: Robert McNair.
    Samuel Roy-Bois. The Brittle Edges of Coherence, CAFKA.14, 2014. Photo: Robert McNair.

Cherie Fawcett, Gallery Assistant | January 19, 2016

Did you know the Waterloo Region has a biennial exhibition of contemporary art in public spaces? If not, let me introduce you to CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area), a non-profit, artist-run organization based in Kitchener, Ontario that has been presenting free and challenging programming to the public since 2001. CAFKA takes contemporary art out of the white gallery cube and integrates it within the daily lives of those living in the Waterloo Region. Marcel O'Gorman of the Critical Media Lab (Kitchener, ON) describes that during the CAFKA biennial the daily life of the community is disrupted by contemporary art objects throughout the public sphere, “rather than putting our heads down and rushing toward our destinations, we may turn our heads sideways and upwards, turn toward contemplation and curiosity, turn toward the artworks and then toward each other in conversation.” Certainly a social practice that we should all engage in more regularly. 

On off years, through a partnership with Musagetes (Guelph, ON), CAFKA presents its Big Ideas in Art and Culture lecture series. This series presents free high-calibre  artist talks by contemporary inter-disciplinary artists and thinkers whose work coincides with CAFKA’s mandate of art in public spaces. Some highlighted lecturers over the past few years include; Krzysztof Wodiczko (New York, NY), Rebecca Belmore (Vancouver, BC), Steve Lambert (New York, NY), and most recently Grégory Lasserre of Scenocosme (France) who will be included in the upcoming biennial.

June 2016 marks CAFKA.16, a not to be missed biennial event that features the work of contemporary artists from across Canada and abroad. Names of participating artists will be released to the public in the next few weeks on the CAFKA website. The biennial will also include complimentary programming and events including an opening party, artist talks, bicycle tours, walking tours, pub crawls, café crawls, as well as an entire education programme for elementary and high school students. Don’t miss out!

CAFKA.16 curatorial partners include the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, Idea Exchange Art + Design, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and UWAG (University of Waterloo Art Gallery).

Interested in volunteering or supporting CAFKA? Visit www.cafka.org for more information.