Foreword by Her Honour

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Our planet seems to be shrinking, drawing once distant worlds ever closer. Flows of individuals, goods, and information bring people and cultures together as never before. Identities are being blurred and redefined in new and exciting ways. Yet when different worlds abut and blend, there is always the risk of turbulence. A capacity and willingness to step into the worlds of others—and to understand their realities as against our own—is essential in ensuring that coexistence and community, rather than confrontation and isolation, are the hallmarks of the coming decades.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Suite at Queen’s Park has long served as a focal point for the meeting of diverse cultures and experiences, assembling stories from Ontario’s communities and linking them into a broader narrative. Other Worlds, a visual exploration of what happens when different worlds meet, continues this legacy.

Featuring works by contemporary Ontario artists affiliated with OCAD University, Other Worlds invites us to cross surreal thresholds and witness how our perspectives shift when dissimilar elements collide: when light encounters darkness, flatness yields to depth, and fantasy mingles with reality. From beneath often unassuming surfaces, complex eddies of meaning and commentary emerge from stark contrasts in form, style, and colour.

Reflecting the personal and collective experiences of their creators, the works are replete with subtleties that are challenging to grasp. But it is this quality that draws us further in, heightening our engagement and bringing us closer to deeper reflections on our society, culture, and sustainability. Having stepped into these “other worlds,” we cannot help but question the nature of the one we ourselves inhabit.

While everyone who views this exhibition is sure to come away with her or his unique interpretation, I hope all will take note of one overarching theme: that bringing different worlds together, while sometimes chaotic and disconcerting, offers unique perspectives that enrich our understanding not only of others, but also of ourselves.

We in Ontario are no strangers to navigating cultural interchange. Diversity in geography, industry, and people has made our province a place where different worlds continuously converge and overlap. We have dedicated ourselves to celebrating this diversity and see it as a pillar of our collective identity.

Other Worlds vividly affirms the value of embracing this outlook as we seek to strengthen our local communities and our ties with those beyond our borders. Just as the artists featured in this exhibition have created realms to examine the convergence of disparate visual worlds, we should not shy away from making space in our own lives to engage with unfamiliar cultures, groups, and social issues. As globalization continues to crowd us together, we have so much to gain by bringing more of Ontario to the world, and by inviting more of the world to Ontario.