Impermanent Embrace


8mm film, cyanontype, 35mm C-print

Through 35mm film, cyanotypes and double 8mm this project examines the erosion – both physical and imagined – occurring at Hanlan’s Point Beach on the Toronto Islands. Impermanent Embrace was curated by Lesia Miga at Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto in May 2022 and was part of Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.


Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto is delighted to present new work by Tkaronto / Toronto based artist Morgan Sears-Williams. Impermanent Embrace is a meditation on oral histories, map making and belonging. The artist invites us to look at the erosion of the fragile sand dunes on Hanlan’s Point Beach, located on the Toronto Islands.

As the site of Toronto’s first gay pride celebrations in 1971, the clothing optional beach has remained a queer haven in the city for generations. Despite the significance for conservation of the fragile dunes, the Toronto Islands have faced poor city planning and management, which has led to a significant amount of erosion on the beach

Most recently, the beach has attracted more public attention as a place to visit, which has led to attacks on the communities that have found this to be a safe space. Additionally, with the rising costs of living in the city and with rents becoming increasingly unaffordable for many, safe spaces for the queer community have been disappearing. With the increasing erosion, Morgan Sears-Williams asks us how we can blend moments and create non-linear ways to view time, making imagined time in a queer space. – Lesia Miga


Visit Arsenal Contemporary Art for more images and press release.