Born in Toronto and raised in Montreal, Cassils (they/them) is a transgender artist whose work contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle and survival. For them, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, their work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment.
Cassils has had recent solo exhibitions at HOME Manchester, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, the Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York City, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Bemis Center in Omaha and MU Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
They are the recipient of a Fleck Residency from the Banff Centre for the Arts (2020), a Villa Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (2019), a United States Artist Fellowship (2018), a Guggenheim Fellowship and a COLA Grant (2017) and a Creative Capital Award (2015). They have also received the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, a California Community Foundation Grant, a MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory Award) and numerous Visual Artist Fellowships from the Canada Council of the Arts.
Cassils has recently served as an Associate Professor in Sculpture and Integrated Practices at PRATT Institute in New York, and has been a faculty or adjunct instructor at the Alternative Art School, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Syracuse University and Stanford University.
Their work was also recently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Leslie Lohman Museum.
Portrait by Robin Black