PHOTOGRAPHY JOHN CULLEN & NAOMI FINLAY | TEXT ROBYN PRINCE
Kenneth Montague is a well-known dentist in Toronto and a prominent collector of art and design focusing on black identity, culture and style. His home reflects his cultural preferences; this west-side condominium is in a complex designed by the architect David Peterson. Kenneth Montague’s lifestyle combines the promotion of art with his dental practice, where the list of patients resembles a local who’s who. Canada’s most celebrated actors, artists, singers and intelligentsia frequent his dentist chair.
With the Wedge Curatorial organisation he works with international galleries and institutes, giving lectures, serving in art juries, loaning artworks and acting as a curator at international exhibitions.
Montague’s home is both eclectic and hip – in keeping with his art collection. He lives in an exceptional building designed by architect David Anand Peterson, built around a spacious courtyard. The complex has walkways aimed at creating a community feeling among the neighbours. The walkways also offer relaxing views of the neighbourhood. The building, in a cheerful shade of green, is very conspicuous. Those aspects, as well as the location, were reasons for Montague to settle here. The ambience combines seamlessly his feeling for style, his fresh spirit and desire to connect with the people around him.
Montague’s aesthetic taste mirrors his love and appreciation of good design, as well as of things that enhance the experience of culture, creativity and personal style. The interior of his apartment clearly reflects the character of a man who takes his art collection seriously, while having a no-nonsense assessment of himself. Art, design furniture and a mix of nostalgic objects are the common denominator here. The internal arrangement of the objects in his home is constantly changing, as he regularly loans out his art. Almost everything in the apartment has been placed there with humour. In addition, he makes sure that certain elements of his art collection are always highlighted. And his private life is also represented in fitting fashion.
The condo is home for him – a place where he can receive fellow art lovers, where there is room for a dialogue about every aspect of life. Montague was born and raised in the Canadian town of Windsor, Ontario, just across the border from Detroit. He grew up in a completely white community on the Canadian-United States border, and felt like he was living on an island. This was where his specific outlook on life was formed. In addition, his interests were fuelled by his growing curiosity about his Jamaican background, his father’s career as a teacher of industrial design and his own enthusiasm for art, culture and style. He started collecting art objects at quite an early age, as a way of discovering and developing his own identity.