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Toronto's hip-hop culture exposed in photo exhibit at AGS

Exhibit of Mark V. Campbell's work is organized and circulated by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
This is a 2006 digital chromogenic print by Craig Boyko. (Courtesy of the artist)

The exhibition “Everything Remains Raw: Photographing Toronto’s Hip Hop Culture from Analogue to Digital,” opens at the Art Gallery of Sudbury Nov. 29, and runs until Feb. 17.

The show is organized and circulated by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ont.

The curator of the exhibition is Dr. Mark V. Campbell, founder of Northside Hip Hop. Campbell is a DJ (aka DJ Grumps), scholar, and curator. 

He was co-founder of the Bigger than Hip Hop radio show. Prior to this exhibition, he curated Mixtapes: Hip Hop’s Lost Archive in 2016 and I was There Celebrating Steel City in 2017. 

Campbell will be present for the exhibition opening Nov. 29, and gives a curator's talk starting at 6 p.m.

The exhibition combines archival photography with new graffiti pieces from artists EGR, Eklipz, and Elicser, as well as visual works by David Strickland and Mark Valino. 

The exhibition also features known and unknown works from photographers Craig Boyko, Michael Chambers, Stella Fakiyesi, Demuth Flake, Patrick Nichols, Sheinina Raj, and Nabil Shash. 

“'Everything Remains Raw' draws on the visual works of Toronto-based photographers and various other visual artists of the 1990s and early 2000s to understand how both commercial and fine art photographs and other art captured hip hop’s je ne sais quoi – the multiple ways hip hop artists keep the culture fresh,” said Campbell, who has also curated three playlists that accompany the exhibition.

“Throughout 'Everything Remains Raw,' the photographs of the live performance capture the precise moment when hip hop’s essence gets unleashed. On stage, gripping a mic, beads of sweat indiscriminately decorating foreheads, veins animating a pumping voicebox, improvised call-and-response – this is the uncontainable essence of hip hop music.” 

The Art Gallery of Sudbury is located at 251 John St. The gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. To 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit, or phone 705-675-4871.