The Portuguese Hall is a staple of any Portuguese immigrant enclave and Clube Lusitania was no different. A popular place for Portuguese-Canadians to celebrate baptisms, weddings and the survival of volcanic eruptions, Clube Lusitania was also where the artist's parents were married. Although Justin de Lima had never been, the hall's change to a condo on the trendy Ossington strip inspired a bad habit of romanticizing his family's immigrant experience. As much as he enjoys complaining about a Little Portugal that is very different from his parents', he also can't help but feel responsible for the annoyingly trendy bars and restaurants and expensive living. After all, he is a “young creative” who, although cannot afford a condo, has the privilege to frequent the tropical-themed cafes and curated vintage shops. First Gentrification is not only the artist's taking responsibility for gentrification, the installation is also an exercise in getting to know the changing community by having the narratives of the gentrifiers and the senhoras on the stoops compete (and prosper) in one space.
Initially conceived for The Gladstone Hotel's Art Hut, Justin has created dozens of new sculptures for CUTMR 2018. Suspended from the ceiling, the sculptures are made of reclaimed materials that have been pieced together using expansion foam and paint to reflect the violence of gentrification. They are painted a blush pink that is inspired by the palette of many a millennial, gentrifier’s tumblr as well as the displays of the surrounding boutiques that often feature the popular Pantone colour of the year. Considering the artist's cultural and familial ties to the area, having the installation displayed in the neighbourhood they scrutinize best reflects the meaning behind the work: First Gentrification is an exploration of the remains of urban life and the debris of gentrification through a first gen lens
Justin de Lima is a visual artist from Toronto. Whether it is using adhesives to physically and conceptually bind reclaimed material for his installations or using found objects instead of canvas for his painted figures, Justin's work scrutinizes the city through a queer, first gen lens