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Category: Reviews

Foiled Islands: Abbas Akhavan’s Islands

You are standing underneath a palm tree looking up. The tree’s wide fronds extend out like an umbrella above your head. The sky is clear. It is sunny. Instead of protecting you from the sun, however, the tree glares back at you with its golden leaves. The trunk of the tree is solid black, but it’s flat fronds have been meticulously layered with sheets of 22-carat gold. The palm tree appears on a regular Xeroxed sheet of paper. It is a grainy black and white image, except that the palm leaves are highlighted with thin layers of gold.

Modern Metaphors: Frank Shebageget’s Light Industry

In Light Industry, Frank Shebageget’s collection of work operates across cultural categories. Applying both narrative devices and perceptual strategies, Native handcraft traditions and Modernist practices, his work defies easy classification, and in the process articulates certain sympathies between two divergent modes of representation.

Centre and Periphery: Lancelot Coar’s On The Road/ En Route

A collaborative art and social experiment by 5 Winnipeg artist-run centres and public galleries, On the Road featured a vintage 1976 Airstream trailer that carried works by Manitoban artists to regions where contemporary art is rarely exhibited. These included suburban neighborhoods and rural Manitoban villages. As the Airstream visited these places, their community members were invited to assist in the construction of a semi-improvised, tent-like structure that would then house live performances, video screenings and workshops for creating small art objects.

Autobiography and the Family Frame: Jaret Belliveau’s “Dominion Street”

Documenting a period of five years, Jaret Belliveau’s Dominion Street presents a visual narrative of his mother’s cancer alongside other incidents within the family frame. Speaking to questions of sickness, love and loss, Belliveau offers the viewer strikingly informal glimpses of his family as he himself would have seen them — in a hospital room, in an alleyway, in his father’s bedroom and so forth. When these photographs are hung in an exhibition space, we are seemingly invited by Belliveau’s autobiographic lens to experience his family’s suffering and to grieve alongside them.

Only Hope was Left: Inside Pandora’s Box

The myth of Pandora presents a portrait of woman as a beautiful evil who, consumed by her own curiosity, opens a jar and unleashes all of the ills of society onto the world, only to close the lid before Hope can escape. Pandora’s Box, a touring exhibition curated by Dunlop Art Gallery’s Director/Curator Amanda Cachia, proposes that there is not one, but several modes through which this enduring parable can be reclaimed as a powerful feminist allegory. Cachia seeks to address the pluralities that contribute to present-day conceptions and enactments of feminism, featuring artists who “add diverse, poignant, independent and intersubjective voices to an evolving polylogue of what it means to be female.”

25 Years Into the Future: EMMEDIA’s Expanded Standard Timeline

For anyone who has worked in a community or institution for a long time, there comes a point when one recognizes that the cycle of forgetting shapes our histories as much as our memories. Perhaps in an attempt to make something new, to further progress, each generation of practitioners enacts a sort of willful blindness to history. Yet this cycle slows our movement forward, as new leaders often work in a historical vacuum, reinventing the wheel ad nauseam, without critically challenging earlier attempts at the same thing.

Undoing Identities: Brendan Fernandes’ Haraka Haraka

The centerpiece of Brendan Fernandes’ exhibition Haraka Haraka is Nyumba ata Choma, a makeshift hunting village composed of six camouflage sniper tents, each housing a small television screen that plays a looped video of a Yule log superimposed on an archival news still from the torching of three million dollars worth of illegal ivory seized by the Kenyan government in 1989.

Brutalizing Veneers: Pamela Masik’s The Forgotten (Preview)

During the month of January, artist Pamela Masik installed a selection from her project The Forgotten in the exhibition space at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. The Forgotten consists of a series of large-scale paintings depicting the 69 women who have disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. Upon entering Library Square, I first found the work as I looked down through the glass railing towards the basement. I walked downstairs to get a closer look.

New Discourses: Always Moving Forward: Contemporary African Photography from the Wedge Collection

Photography is often considered an accurate record and representation of reality, with the truths that the camera produces seemingly forever affixed to the subjects that exist beyond its lens. Curator Okwui Enwezor has often written about the conflicted relationship that the continent of Africa and members of the African diaspora have had with photography, noting that Africa has been presented as a “wasteland of the bizarre and the insane,” a site outside of time or a site of unending struggle and upheaval.

My Rectum Is Not a Grave: Will Munro’s Inside the Solar Temple of the Cosmic Leather Daddy

At 35 years old, Will Munro has been a fixture of the Toronto scene for over a decade, and his visual art practice is inseparable from his long-standing involvement in queer community activism and in creating alternative spaces for queer subcultural expression: punk, artfag, youth, sex-radical, anti-capitalist. In addition to working for a number of years with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Youth Line, Munro founded and programmed the famed Vazaleen live rock parties before he and Lynn McNeill bought the Beaver Café on Queen West, which has become a hub for the local queer art scene.