In 2000, Gendai was originally founded as Gendai Gallery with a mandate to promote excellence in art and design by Canadian and international artists of Japanese ancestry. The public gallery was house within Toronto's Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. 

In 2009, Gendai's mandate was reshaped, shifting focus to cultivate dialogue through contemporary art, focusing on experimental collaborations with contemporary artists and organizations for the production and dissemination of artwork from East Asian perspectives. 

In 2019, Gendai's members sought to retire and invited proposals from a new generation of cultural producers to redefine the organization's future, as an innovative venture in succession planning. Independent curator Marsya Maharani and artist Petrina Ng were gifted the name of Gendai to begin a new direction based on their vision to research and practice collective values in operational methodologies and its potential to empower the entire sector.

Previous Gendai members: 

Tings Chak, Stephen Chong, Ravi Dindayal, Emily Fitzpatrick, Ken Fukushima, Tadaaki, Hozumi, Yosh  Inouye, Marilyn Jung, Chris Lee, Serena Lee, Tani Miki, Joni Moriyama, Banri Nakamura, Michiko Nakamura, Louise Noguchi, Karen Okada, Midi Onodera, Gail Park, Kerri Sakamoto, Kay Sunahara, Walter T. Sunahara, Yoshiko Sunahara,  Aiko Suzuki, Anna Suzuki, Daisuke Takeya, Samson Tam, Maiko Tanaka, Yan Wu, Tak Yano, Juno Young.

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