The Art Gallery of Ontario has apologized for what it admits were racist costumes used in a performance at an annual fundraising party.
The outfits — which included conical hats traditionally worn on rice paddies in Asia — were part of an artist’s performance “intended to play with stereotypes” at the Massive Party on Thursday.
“We got it wrong,” the AGO said on social media. “The artist’s performance included racist costumes that are deemed offensive to the East Asian community.”
“The end result was that the costumes … perpetuated negative stereotypes, regardless of the artist’s intent. This is not acceptable … We apologize unreservedly.”
A Facebook user said she felt “ridiculed and mocked” and a commenter asked the AGO to “Please explain this bullsh** Orientalism.”
“I personally love the actual woven hats from China,” filmmaker Sook-Yin Lee said on the post. “But not this embarrassing indoor art w*nk. Spectacular ignorance on display!”