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Dissident Family
Thursday, October 15, 2015 to Sunday, December 13, 2015
Thursday, October 15, 7:00pm

“Dissident Family” brings together artworks that speak to the biological family that the artist grew up in, and to the family she has created and nurtured. It speaks to the central place of dissidence in her spiritual, political and familial life.

Gottlieb grew up in the middle of dissent. Her parents’ apartment served as a gathering spot for their Communist comrades and was alive with heated debates and energetic resistance. This exhibit explores the images and tales that Gottlieb has created about her parents in a world that seems ready to bury their histories and deeds.

Since the mid 1980s Gottlieb’s family has been intentional, queer, non-biological, feminist and activist. The newer works in this exhibit speak to her contemporary journeys: her queer families, the thrill of adoption, the challenge of parenting, and recognition of the butch lesbian.

This exhibit speaks to different kinds of dissidence:  political views that butt up against the status quo and challenge power and privilege, identities that overthrow gender and sexual norms, and families that are based on solidarity more than on blood. ‘Dissident Family’ embraces these delicious moments of dissidence. 


Amy Gottlieb is a Toronto-based artist and educator. Born and raised in New York City, she moved to Canada in 1972. Her work explores family histories, the intersection of personal and historical memory, and the relationship between cognitive and body memories. Gottlieb identifies as a butch lesbian and is a social justice activist who teaches photography and art in a Toronto high school. More info and artwork can be found on her website: amygottlieb.ca

National Portrait Collection