4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible

4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible is a Michaëlle Jean Foundation program, with the collaboration of several prestigious museums and art galleries. The initiative was supported by TD Bank Group.

The goal is to give a voice to and a national profile to young creators, often excluded from society, by opening the doors of our major cultural institutions and by helping them to reach a wide audience.

What is the 4th Wall?

In theatre, the 4th wall is an imaginary screen that creates a virtual separation between actor and spectator. Painting and the visual arts in general establish, between artwork and the public, a similar device that requires a frontal reading, evidence that might be an illusion of transparency: that which Magritte called the betrayal of images, when he painted a hyperrealist pipe and wrote on the same painting, “This is not a pipe.”

A Provocative Undertaking

There are therefore many ways to cross the 4th wall and to make the invisible visible. The Michaëlle Jean Foundation chose to invite young creators to break down the invisible walls that create solitudes between individuals and communities across Canada. In that spirit, the Foundation is offering museum space and bursaries to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, often cut off from museums, so that they can produce original art that conveys their experiences, ideas and challenges. On display for the public to see, their work provokes debate and builds solutions.

A National Conversation

Public forums, networking and virtual exchanges will also be organized to ignite and sustain national dialogue on the social issues raised by the exhibitions. The results will undoubtedly confront clichés and challenge received ideas, while reminding us of universal values like justice, beauty, liberty, spirituality and the march of history. From there will emerge the ideal of a more cohesive, solidarity-based society, liberated from the shackles of inequality and injustice.

A New 4th Wall Project

Art Gallery of Ontario is hosting the new Scratch & Mix Project: Empowering Black Youth through the Arts.

4th Wall Exhibitions Near You

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, in September 2014, on the theme Justice, Art and Youth

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto, took place June 22 to October 20, in conjunction with World Pride 2014.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, took place February 5 to March 30, on the occasion of Black History Month and FRO Festival 2014.


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