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Still Tho: Aesthetic Survival in Hip-Hop’s Visual Art 

February 9 to May 23, 2022

Wayne Baerwaldt, Curator
Mark V. Campbell, curator

Still Tho: Aesthetic Survival in Hip-Hop’s Visual Art presents the works of visual artists from across Canada whose creativity is rooted in hip-hop culture. Their work represents a breadth of visual arts practices and media, including graffiti murals, mixed media, and dance videos.  

Artists in the exhibition include Kalkidan Assefa, Corey Bulpitt, Curly, EGR, Eklipz, Elicser Elliott, Nelson “Dedos” Garcia, Mique Michelle, MissMe, STARE, Mark Stoddart, Mark Valino, and Wizwon (Jayde Goodon).

Join us on May 11 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for an evening celebration with artists and members of Ottawa’s hip-hop scene, featuring DJ Memetic on the decks.

Learn more about the artists and works in this exhibition.  

Tour the Exhibition




Take a guided tour of Still Tho: Aesthetic Survival in Hip-Hop’s Visual Art with curator, Mark V. Campbell at the Âjagemô exhibition space, 150 Elgin street in Ottawa.

Read the transcript

Curatorial Statement

Still Tho is an ode to the visual artists in Canada who shaped hip-hop culture and its aesthetics. Through their art, they have placed justice front and centre to inspire social change at home and around the world. The phrase “Still tho” in the exhibition’s title refers to a common expression in hip-hop culture that speaks to these artists’ perseverance, overcoming numerous barriers to make art and build community. 

While some aspects of hip-hop’s early years in the late-1970s and early-1980s have been well archived, visual works from that period were mostly temporary. Artists often overwrote one another’s graffiti, while the natural elements destroyed outdoor murals. The mixed media works in this exhibition explore how hip-hop’s visual artists have woven together historical, nostalgic, and archival elements to leave a physical legacy. Moreover, the exhibition highlights the lasting impact of hip-hop’s visual art on both Canadian culture and visual aesthetics in our digital age. 

This exhibition is inspired by Northside Hip-Hop, a digital collection of Canadian hip-hop history and culture. After more than ten years in operation, Northside is turning its focus to the visual aspects of hip-hop culture whose ephemeral and temporary nature often make them difficult to archive. 

Read the full Curatorial Statement

Fantasia 1987 – Hail the Lizard King, 2020 by Curly Photographer(s): Brandon Clarida

About the exhibition

Still Tho: Aesthetic Survival in Hip-Hop’s Visual Art is curated by Mark V. Campbell.

The exhibition features artwork by 13 cross disciplinary artists from across the country, including from First Nations, Métis, and racialized communities. 

This is the first exhibition to be held in the Âjagemô space since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can discover this exhibition in person at the Âjagemô space in Ottawa and here on this site. 


About the Curator

Mark V. Campbell is the founder of Northside Hip-Hop Archive, and he has spent two decades in the Toronto hip-hop scene operating from a community engaged praxis as both a DJ and a curator. From 1998 to 2015, Mark DJ’ed on the Bigger Than Hip-Hop radio show, and in 2010 he launched the Northside Hip-Hop Archive. Since the launch of Northside, Mark has curated several exhibitions of archival items and artistic works related to Canadian hip-hop, including The T-Dot Pioneers Trilogy 2010-2013, Mixtapes: Hip-Hop’s Lost Archive, …Everything Remains Raw: Photographing Toronto Hip-Hop Culture from Analogue to Digital as part of the 2018 Contact Festival exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and For the Record: An Idea of the North at the TD Gallery in Toronto.

Six videos from the Moments of Movement: Freestyle Dance series

Mark Valino is a filmmaker and video artist whose mantra, “Interpreting the visual representation of truth,” informs his collaborations with artists around the world. In these videos from his Moments of Movement: Freestyle Dance series, Valino highlights the legacy of hip-hop dance across the world with uncut recordings of dancers in several locations, including Toronto’s financial district, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Dancers in this series include Marie-Pier Lopes (Zepol Rock), Diana Reyes (Fly Lady Di), Tyrell Black, Ashley (Colours) Perez, and Tafiya B. among others.