Event Category: Exhibition

Race Cards

A person sits at a desk lit by a desk lamp, writing on paper on the desk, against a backdrop of white cards pinned to a dark wall in rows and columns

“Why do people assume that racism will just passively die out if we wait long enough?” That’s number 307 of 1,000 questions that Selina Thompson has composed and put on cards; in this installation, visitors will enter the site and read as many of them as they wish. They are instructed to answer one card and copy one to take away with them.

As an art concept, Race Cards is ingenious in its simplicity; as an exercise, it’s powerfully generative; as political discourse, it’s at once direct and open-ended, confrontational and generous, demanding and liberating. Thompson gives us the freedom to choose and the obligation to think—two of the defining elements of any decent society. In this work, we are asked to face our own beliefs, our own hopes, our own prejudices—all in an atmosphere of calm and contemplation. This work is, quite literally, thought-provoking; it’s also deeply moving.

More information on the PuSh Festival website

An Intimate Moment with Maanii Oakes

A black and white sketch by Maanii Oakes

Join artist Maanii Oakes for an intimate community session and discussing topics including maintaining authenticity in creative practices, the works and arts practice involved in FLOURISHING: SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC, and the disability arts community as a whole. Taking place on December 3 to recognize International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Tangled Art Gallery will be open 12:00 – 5:00 pm.

More information on Facebook

About the Artist
Maanii Oakes is a working nineteen year old Swampy Cree Anishnabek and Kanienkehaka cultural tattoo practitioner and visual artist in the mediums of skin stitch, handpoke, pencil crayon and most recently rawhide sculpture. Her work is influenced by her home of Eeyou Istchee, as pressed by her late grandfather in enacting Cree ways of governance and being. She tattoos both traditional and contemporary designs pulling from her own archival research and the strong material culture of her ancestors including bulrush weaving patterns and the painted caribou blankets of James Bay. In contrast her figurative pieces address recent history and present day colonialism, not pandering to loss of what she never had but rather looking to engage the stark reality of living culture seeping through layers of assimilation. Her practice also includes a variety of public speaking engagements and mentorship in community arts centering environmental justice and indigenous stewardship demonstrating her commitment to community and cultural exchange.

About the Exhibition:
FLOURISHING: SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC is the second exhibition in the FLOURISHING series, featuring Maanii Oakes and Richard Harlow. Hailing from opposite sides of the country, these two artists converge to present work illustrating the inescapable impact of one’s environments, natural and human. SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC offers the audience glimpses into the artists’ efforts to navigate potentially overwhelming terrain, negotiating their own versions of landscapes in which they are able to thrive. We can never truly escape our past or the forces that have brought us to the here and now, but perhaps in looking honestly and unflinchingly at who and where we are, we open ourselves up to the potential of co-creating of what will be.

Elle Ardani: Stories Of Solitude

A photograph of people milling around a dimly lit upper mezzanine, with a large window in the background and a table with an assortment of models in the middle of the frame

Stories of Solitude is an emotional and visual exploration of the city of Toronto. It is grounded in creating intimacy and solace in what is otherwise considered a big city.

This is a series of ten photographs, each telling a story. Each story is fully dependent on the internal state of the viewer. Ardani often is in meditative contemplation when searching for images. She has attempted to bridge the space between the vastness of Toronto’s internal/external landscape with that of the imagination and the relative internal life of the viewer. The subjective state of the viewer creates the narrative surrounding each image. Each image becomes a canvas, space where one projects what one may feel and identify with at the time. A connection is made to the rich and mysteriously raw content of the city. This is a creative portal where the viewer may discover the immediacy of the particular landscape as a long-term guide and companion into his or her subjective interior. The city, with all its beautiful uncertainties, can simply become this reliable old friend. A relationship is established.

Mysterious as the concept may sound, it simply requires a step outside the comfort of our homes where the search itself becomes a pilgrimage. What we perceive and see in the outside world is simply a mirror to what is within. This encourages us to be open to the possibilities of an unconventional approach to wholeness.

Elle Ardani is originally from Tehran, Iran. She arrived in Canada from England in 1990.
Her work aims to explore the use of urban spaces as both transformational and inspirational tools. Images are used to express various subjective states that are often too challenging to articulate in any given verbal language. Elle’s photography creates moods that aim to address the emotional vulnerability of the viewer. The images are often atmospheric and introspective, inviting the viewer on an internal journey

Elle Ardani would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) for funding this body of work with the Exhibition Assistance grant.

More information on the Workman Arts website

Flourishing: Somewhere We Stay Authentic

A painting of a sunset, with the foreground in dark blue, a deep red sky, and wisps of clouds with a greenish tinge.

Featured Artists
Richard Harlow and Maanii Oakes

FLOURISHING: SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC is the second exhibition in this series, featuring Maanii Oakes and Richard Harlow. Hailing from opposite sides of the country, these two artists converge to present work illustrating the inescapable impact of one’s environments, natural and human. SOMEWHERE WE STAY AUTHENTIC offers the audience glimpses into the artists’ efforts to navigate potentially overwhelming terrain, negotiating their own versions of landscapes in which they are able to thrive. We can never truly escape our past or the forces that have brought us to the here and now, but perhaps in looking honestly and unflinchingly at who and where we are, we open ourselves up to the potential of co-creating of what will be.

Drawing from the senses to invigorate new ways of experiencing visual art, this joint exhibition embodies an interdependent exchange of processes that uproot the narrative of the gallery setting. Oakes uses the performance of skin stitching and handpoke tattooing, as well as sculpting with artificial red and black sinew sewn through raw deer hide. Harlow uses painting to evoke and invite new sensations through touch. The two met for the first time at the Flourishing artist retreat in Halifax and quickly connected as artists and friends. What started as a reciprocal interest in each other’s disparate experiences progressed to sharing sculptural painting techniques and Indigenous teachings. Their 3D butchery scene is a tactile combination of their exchange of skills and knowledge.

More information on the Tangled Art + Disability website
Flourishing: Somehow We Stay Authentic on Facebook

Exhibition Dates: November 2 – December 19, 2018
Opening Reception: November 9, 6:00-8:00 pm
Second Saturday Social: November 10, 2:00-4:00 pm
Artist Talk with Richard Harlow: December 8, 2:00-4:00 pm

#MeToo: Dystopian Reality Shorts Program

A person looking in through an ornate and grimy window

In this fascinating, surprising and provocative shorts program, we encounter a collection of genuine and dystopic realities, which bring to light the emotional and physical dynamics of sexual assault within today’s patriarchal world. What truths unfold when the concept of harmony and safety is weighed against the value of self- assertion? And, where does this conflicting duality end… within the idea of controlling your own destiny (Rape Card)…amongst family (How the Air Feels)… between friends (When We Meet Again)… by a strange encounter (Meeting Between Two Parked Cars) or on a visit to the doctor (Males)? Or perhaps it is through the liberating act of material separation in a place where a woman leaseholder is unheard of? (Counterfeit Kunkoo).

More information and tickets

Counterfeit Kunkoo – Hindi with English subtitles (15 mins)
Rape Card (14 mins)
Treffen zwischen zwei parkenden Autos (Meeting Between Two Parked Cars) – German with English subtitles (26 mins)
Handjur (Males) – Swedish with English subtitles (6 mins)
How The Air Feels / All These F*cking Spirits (10 mins)
Når vi ses igen (When We Meet Again) – Danish with English subtitles (19 mins)

Flourishing: Somehow We Stay Attuned

A square filled with smaller pixelated squares in shades of grey, with many multicoloured squares distributed through

Peter Owusu-Ansah, Sarah Ferguson, and Salima Punjani

FLOURISHING: SOMEHOW WE STAY ATTUNED is the first of four exhibitions that make up the series, FLOURISHING. Featuring the work of seven artists from across Canada, this exhibition series addresses the complexities of what it means to flourish, and how flourishing exists in harmony with, and in juxtaposition to, suffering.

SOMEHOW WE STAY ATTUNED is more inquiry than proclamation. The three featured artists do not present simple answers but rather, transform the gallery into a forum unfolding debate – within themselves, with each other, and with the audience.

Ferguson’s work explores the Trans experience; how Trans individuals embody themselves and their environments. Owusu-Ansah’s work as a Deaf artist seeks to deepen audiences’ perception of visual art, and understanding of how Deaf folks navigate a hearing world. Punjani’s work asks audiences to interact with their bodies and their surroundings in new contextual ways. Each artist uses their work as a springboard for us to challenge our understandings of bodies, both our own and those of others.

More information on the Tangled Art + Disability website

September 7, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Community Session with Peter Owusu-Ansah:
September 15, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Artist Talk with Sarah Ferguson, Peter Owusu-Ansah and Salima Punjani:
September 22, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Second Saturday Social:
October 13, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

The Brain is wider than the Sky

Four smiling people standing around a table in a darkened room, lit by an overhead light. One person is looking through a Viewmaster while the other people look through photo reels from a box on the table.

Tara Cooper, Hyang Cho, Meg Harder, Žana Kozomora, Amanda Rhodenizer, Aislinn Thomas. Curated by Crystal Mowry.

The lives of artists – whether they be poets or painters – often make for excellent legends. In the case of the American poet Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886), reclusive and non-conformist tendencies allowed the writer to create distance between her own interests and an inquisitive public. Known within her local community as “The Myth,” Dickinson honed her craft on her own terms and largely for her own pleasure. It was only after Dickinson’s death in 1886 and the posthumous publication of her letters and diaries that readers would encounter a version of the human condition that was uniquely hers.

The Brain is wider than the Sky draws its inspiration from a poem of the same name penned by Emily Dickinson. In this concise verse Dickinson offers a list of juxtapositions that invite us to see the human imagination as an instrument of sublime capability. Premiering new work by artists based within Waterloo Region and Wellington County, The Brain is wider than the Sky proposes a shared cerebral space within the architecture of the gallery.

Correspondence is a central theme that is woven through each of the works included in this exhibition. For multidisciplinary artist Tara Cooper, installation is a practice parallel to that of the travelogue. Combining abstraction and fragmented nautical references, Cooper creates an archive of a place one can never truly know. The gap between memory and reality is tested in Žana Kozomora’s suite of new lens-based works, in which the artist returns to her childhood home in Sarajevo and reconsiders its context through a tourist’s perspective. Site and history are similar preoccupations for painter Amanda Rhodenizer. Through the use of figuration and staged interactions in vacation homes, Rhodenizer explores the distance – both physical and emotional – that separates her subjects. For Hyang Cho, a misdelivered letter inspired a new project wherein correspondence and translation are redefined. Drawing inspiration from “fraktur” – a form of illuminated folk art associated with the Mennonite traditions of her youth – Meg Harder proposes an epic narrative set along the banks of an infinite river. Making the awe-inspiring relatable, Aislinn Thomas gathers accounts of a contemporary celestial event that can be understood as a people’s history of the sublime. Seen together, the works in this exhibition offer a glimpse into the distinct worlds that may exist between the ears of other people.

The Brain is wider than the Sky at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery

A people’s history of the sublime: TOTALITY (21.08.2017)
Aislinn Thomas
9 channel sound, 37 minutes (looped)
Stereoscopic viewers, reels of collected images
Image credit: Mike Lalich

On August 21, 2017 people from all over North American were eagerly anticipating a rare celestial event: a total solar eclipse. With specially designed viewing aids and DIY contraptions in hand, people all over the continent were hatching plans to amplify the spectacle. Some planned parties to share the experience with their loved ones, while others embarked on extensive journeys to be in the “line of totality” – a path where one can witness intensified visual phenomena. Those who have first-hand experience of a total solar eclipse can attest that it is nothing short of sublime. Temperatures drop noticeably and animal behaviour can change dramatically. Such events can be transformative, especially when shared.

For Aislinn Thomas, that transformation yields a narrative that reverberates with each retelling. In making A people’s history of the sublime, Thomas solicited contributions of accounts related to the eclipse on August 21, 2017. Supplemented by images and audio that have been publicly shared on the internet, these accounts form a shared resource that aims to democratize the sublime. Ever the respectful collaborator, Thomas honours the idiosyncrasies of her contributors and the unexpected humanity that can be found when we are sitting together in the dark.

-Crystal Mowry

Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, installation, and text-based work. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, exploring themes of vulnerability, empathy, possibility and failure. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of several grants and awards including a C.D. Howe Scholarship for Arts and Design, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Masters Scholarship, and grants from the Ontario Arts Council. Aislinn gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council.

ASL Interpreted Museum Tours

A tour guide and an ASL interpreter speaking to visitors in front of a museum exhibit

On the first Thursday of each month, ASL interpretation is provided for the Museum Highlights Tour. ASL-Interpreted Tours at the ROM offer a learning experience for the whole family, and they cover some of the must-see objects in the Museum. These tours are free with admission and reservation is not required.

August 2 at 11 – 12
September 6, 11 – 12
October 4, 11 – 12
November 1, 11 – 12
December 6, 11 – 12

For more information about programs and services for visitors who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing please visit: rom.on.ca/access/deaf

Present Tense: IAL Exhibition Opening

A light purple and mint green vertical gradient with the words Present Tense in white

Inclusive Arts London’s Bridging Forward: Accessibility Arts Festival is bringing exciting works from local, provincial, and national artists to London over June and July 2018. This exhibition features emerging to established contemporary visual and media artists from Southwestern Ontario and beyond, including: Elaine Stewart, Aislinn Thomas, Hailey Doxtater, Jenelle Rouse, Vero Leduc, Sarah L and Judith Purdy. All events are open to the public and presented in accessible locations.

Present Tense: IAL Exhibition Opening with works by:
Elaine Stewart
Aislinn Thomas
Hailey Doxtater
Jenelle Rouse
Vero Leduc
Sarah L
Judith Purdy

For more information: Inclusive Arts London Exhibition Opening on Facebook