Bonavista Biennale is a program of 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects and has its genesis in a 136-year-old fisherman’s saltbox house in the community of Duntara on the east coast of Newfoundland. Many such houses have stood empty since the collapse of the fishery in the 1990s, many others have vanished. These structures are the tangible cultural heritage of past generations. In an effort to save an old house and revitalize a community, 2 Rooms opened its doors in 2012. Comprising an art gallery, museum and artist residency, 2 Rooms is a platform for contemporary art, on-site installation projects, and displays of material culture. Programming, including the Biennale, reflects the confluence of historical, natural and cultural conditions that exist interdependently in Newfoundland’s outport communities. Situated on the Bonavista Peninsula, the Biennale reflects the rise of “off-centres” as viable, desirable places to live, thrive and create. It brings together people of different origins within a shared domain that offers new ways of seeing and thinking about the world around us.
An artist, curator, educator and community organizer, Catherine has long been involved in art initiatives that position art in the public realm—from initiating independent art exhibitions in a variety of alternative spaces to founding Loop Gallery in Toronto. She is Associate Professor at Ontario College of Art and Design University, and the Founder and Director of 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, a non-profit contemporary art gallery, historical artifact museum and international artist residency in Duntara, NL. She lives in Duntara and Toronto.