MOCA's Summer Exhibitions are now open!

Shezad Dawood


September 19, 2019
— November 10, 2019

MOCA Toronto presents elements from Shezad Dawood’s Leviathan, an ambitious ten-part film cycle launched in Venice in 2017. This episodic “monster” encourages us to contemplate urgent issues, expands upon diverse research and bridges disciplines and borders to include local voices within a global forum.

At MOCA, we launch the Leviathan journey by presenting Episode 1: Ben, 2017. This tale of oceanic ecology and migration is shown alongside the first instalment of Dawood’s virtual reality project, VR Leviathan Legacy, 2018, where visitors can delve 150 years into a future irreversibly altered by climate-change. The cycle continues with the most recent episode of the film cycle: Episode 5: Ismael, which was co-commissioned by MOCA and contains Canadian footage.

Leviathan brings together marine biologists, oceanographers, political scientists, neurologists and trauma specialists to envision a future, which is unnervingly very much like our present, to consider possible links between borders, mental health and marine welfare. The project grows as partnerships are developed and includes a web of essays, documented talks, virtual reality components, sculptures, textiles, neons and more.

On Floor 1, the Leviathan Resource Centre holds a selection of resource materials that have informed Shezad Dawood’s ambitious and long-term project. Visitors can access the constellation of influences and contributions made by many of the specialists that consulted on the project.

Shezad Dawood is an interdisciplinary artist, who uses research and collaboration as a way of informing his work in film, installation, writing, publishing, VR and sculpture. His key concerns are marine ecology, non-aligned movement and the ethics of place. Dawood’s work has been exhibited and won awards at multiple biennales and film festivals, and features in the permanent collections of LACMA, TATE, and the British Museum amongst others.


Explore the project in depth: Leviathan and watch trailers for Episodes 1 and Episode 5.

Follow Leviathan on Instagram

Episode 5: “Ismael” was commissioned with A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam, and a Canadian partnership between Fogo Island Arts, MOCA Toronto, and Toronto Biennial of Art.

Public Programmes

Alan Emery in conversation with Jonathon Gatehouse
November 30 at 4 pm | Free with RSVP

From the Bay Area to the Arctic: Shezad Dawood and Alice Xia Zhu

Foundational Supporter
Brenda Simpson and Len Goodman

Shezad Dawood, Leviathan Legacy Pt 1, 2018, VR environment.

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