CAFKA.16: Contemporary Art in the Public Space



Opening May 28 and running through June 26, 2016, CAFKA.16: WHAT WE DO TOGETHER THAT WE CAN’T DO ALONE, features 14 new projects commissioned by CAFKA. Joining the CAFKA Biennial will be public art projects produced by our festival and curatorial partner Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound, and our curatorial partners Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Idea Exchange Art and Design, Cambridge Sculpture Garden, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, and Critical Media Lab. During the biennial exhibition Open Ears will produce eleven performances of contemporary music and sound art. And CAFKA will once again be an important part of Downtown Kitchener’s Summer Lights Festival.
Complementing the exhibition program is full schedule of ancillary events including walking tours, tours in French and Mandarin, bicycle tours, art crawls, coffee crawls, and fun family oriented hands-on activities. Please consult our our calendar of Events, Performances, Workshops and Tours page for dates, times and locations. 
Together with our partners we create an artistic dialogue between artists in the Region and in the wider world, sharing our energy, passion and excitement for contemporary art with our friends and neighbours here in the Waterloo Region.
CAFKA’s installations, projections, interventions and performances are surprising, unexpected and very public. In the course of shopping, commuting or strolling in the park people encounter CAFKA’s public interventions. Or, people can use our exhibition guide and web map like a treasure map to explore the city in search of art.
CAFKA is what we do together, that we can’t do alone.

CAFKA.16: Curatorial Partner Projects

Cambridge Sculpture Garden: Installations by Meg Harder (Kitchener)
Idea Exchange Art and Design: “The Well,” performance by Zhaoyi Kang (Toronto)
University of Waterloo Art Gallery: Performances by Andrew McPhail (Hamilton), Nahed Mansour
(Toronto), Vessna Perunovich (Toronto), Francisco-Ferdinando Granados (Toronto), Adrian Stimson & Lori Blondeau (Saskatoon).
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery: Trans/mission 101, a garden installation by Ron Benner (London, ON),
Open Ears, 1-Bit Symphony and Machine Drawings by Tristan Perich, New York; GIF Reel: People of the Future, curated by Karie Liao and featuring Jennifer Chan (Toronto), Clint Enns (Toronto), Winston Hacking (Toronto), Jodie Mack (Chicago), Alison S. M. Kobayashi (Toronto/New York), Phillip David Stearns (Brooklyn, NY), The Ghost in the MP3 by Ryan Maguire, (Charlottesville, VA)
Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery: Installations by Orest Tataryn, (Toronto) Vanessa Yano & John Tinholt (Montreal), Dear Human (Montreal) and Rory MacDonald (Summerville, NS).
Critical Media Lab:  “Every Day I Am A Train”


CAFKA.16: Panel Discussion

Saturday June 4 at the Kitchener Studio Project, 44 Gaukel Street, Kitchener
Iga Janik, Curator, Idea Exchange Art and Design, Cambridge; Mona El Khafif, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo School of Architecture
Gabrielle Moser, writer, educator and independent curator based in Toronto.

CAFKA.16: Festival Partners

The CAFKA.16 biennial exhibition is presented by Christie Digital Systems Inc., and is supported by the City of Kitchener, Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation – Musagetes Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Laurence Capital, Downtown Kitchener BIA, City of Waterloo, Good Foundation, Whitney Residential and CAFKA’s membership, volunteers and private donors.


The theme for CAFKA.16 is about working together. Working together toward common goals underpins all achievement: successful collaborations, tight communities, strong family ties, close friendships. Individual vision and initiative are crucial, but trust, collaboration and teamwork are what make every vision a reality. We know too well what happens when collaborations fail and when and trust is lost.
The making of art is often thought of as a solitary act – isolated genius, inspired by muses, or by turns haunted and motivated by deeply personal visions. There’s a grain of truth to that. Ideas bubble to the level of consciousness in idle moments and then we set to working them out in our head, or with a sympathetic listener. New ideas frequently emerge from taking a chance just to see what will happen, or begin to take shape when we least expect it. But then what? How do ideas become art? Where does art take place, and how does it make an impact? The artist needs materials, a space to work, acquired skills, a place to exhibit, and an audience with whom the work resonates: Art is a social act.
Founded by local artists in the spirit of an artist-run initiative, CAFKA brings original and experimental contemporary art to the community. Together with our partners we create an artistic dialogue between artists in the Region and in the wider world, sharing our commitment to contemporary art with our friends and neighbours here in the Waterloo Region.