During this time of crisis where there is increased precarity as a result of COVID-19 and significant racial tension all over the globe, Concordia’s Ethnocultural Art History Research group (EAHR) sought to connect with and support BIPOC artists. We wanted to share their work and provide a platform for them to reach new audiences. We were particularly interested in BIPOC artists' responses to the shift in circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the urgent call to address systemic racism and on-going oppression, (pre-)existing conditions, climate change, and social justice activism.
As a group, we’ve faced the unique challenges of curating during the global pandemic. EAHR invited artists who identify as BIPOC to submit work for the opportunity to be featured in an exhibition, which will be presented digitally through the EAHR Instagram page (@eahrconcordia) and archived on our website (ethnoculturalarts.com). These digital platforms were suitable for the display of particular mediums such as video and screenshots. Also, it allowed us to display the record of in-person gallery experiences such as installations and performances. We received works exploring a variety of prescient themes. The themes included family/cultural tradition, memory, long-distance connection, the rise of anti-Asian racist attacks, and the process of creating artworks during the pandemic.
Since our first post on June 19th, 2020, we had the opportunity to exhibit 20 captivating artists. A wonderful thank you to the following artists for sharing their work with us and our audiences: J.P. Mot, Jayce Salloum, Florence Yee, Alyssa Tang, kimura byol-nathalie lemoine, Avy Loftus, Farzaneh Rostami, Astria Suparak, Ivetta Kang, Rodrigo D’Alântara, Esteben Perez, Tatyani Quintahilna, Reyhaneh Yazdani, Alba Daza, Ketty Zhang, Jenny Lin, Mushtari Afroz, My-Van Dam, Jaret Vadera and the Rice Brewing Sisters Club. During this time of isolation, we hoped to create a network of support and connection.
We are grateful for the financial support from Concordia Student Union (CSU) and Thinking Through The Museum (TTTM) Research Network to pay honoraria to artists and curators.
On behalf of the EAHR group, Chaeyeon Park, Diane Wong, Sarah Piché, and Tamara Harkness send endless appreciation to you for continuing to support and explore our projects.
EAHR is supported by the Concordia University Research Chair in Ethnocultural Art Histories. Thank you to Dr. Alice Ming Wai Jim for encouraging and mentoring our projects along the way.
Rice Brewing Sisters Club (RBSC) is a collective of sisters who works with “social fermentation” as an artistic form. We think of fermentation as not only a biochemical transformation but also an open-ended process that traverses visual art, performance, cooking, creative writing, oral history, ecological thinking, and auntie wisdoms. Also by bringing in the element of “social” in various forms, we experiment with ways to connect the sensorial with the relational. While operating on a yearly membership, we aim to collaborate beyond the boundaries of a collective. This is done by hosting open-ended platforms, where rice eaters from many regions, dwellers of the past, present, and future, and other various human and non-human beings can meet and create synergistic networks.
Miinju is an ancient rice wine which uses human saliva as a fermentation starter. It was traditionally brewed with saliva of a virginal girl - she would chew rice grains and spit into the container, to be used for ritualistic purposes. Hinging on this story, we adapted the recipe in Ansan - the city with a high percentage of immigrant population - and asked the passersby to chew the cooked rice and spit it out. The rice wine that was eventually brewed out of such rice was served as a welcome drink at the opening of the exhibition Ring Ring Belt (2018, Seoul and Gyeonggi).
Chew Chew Spit Spit
Residency, Workshops, Tapui Research
Date/Time: August 4, 2019/ 4PM-6PM
Location: HUB: Make Lab, Manila, Philippines
What does it mean to chew something and spit it out? This workshop takes the act of chewing and spitting as a metaphor of actions and cultural practices that involve changes throughout time, (unconscious) transformation, customs of eating and drinking, rituals, and vomiting [!]. Here, the participants create a pool-full mixture of chewed and spit things that are mixed with rice, yeast, selected local fruits, and water. Accompanied by the series of writing and bodily activities, they collectively step on the mixture to squeeze the chunks out and initiate the fermentation process.
A Jeepney Ride
Research, Ride, Workshop, Drinks & Food Sharing
Date: Sunday August 18th, 2019
Departure & Arrival Points:
5PM_Escolta Street [in front of 98B] → 6PM_Makati [Goto Lechon Know]
This workshop starts off by taking jeepney as a metaphor of not only the impressions we have
collected during our month-long stay in Manila but also the ways we work and create together.
Creatively fueled by what we have for what we don’t have, and not always so functional but
somehow functional in the end, jeepney is also a platform for actions and collaboration - that knits closely with our search for imaginative modes of “social fermentation.” The workshop invites a number of collectives, based throughout Manila and Los Banos, into a jeepney that travels through metro Manila. Each collective leads a 15-minute-session which interprets jeepney as a metaphor, while sharing the fermented drink made during the Chew Chew Spit Spit workshop.
Bau Tanah; Mari Makan!
Workshop Date: October 15, 2019/ 3PM-5PM
Workshop Site: Jatiwangi Art Factory, Indonesia
Through the residency at Indonesia Contemporary Ceramics Biennale, RBSC hosted a social experiment of soil as an expression and exploration of ecological commoning, understanding, and togetherness. As a way of tracing land’s relationship to culture and life, participants were invited to touch, feel, smell, and partake in the making of various soil composition which responds to the discourse of our surrounding environment, community and the reclamation of our land.
*”Bau Tanah; Mari Makan!” means “food for the soil.”
**The compost recipes were made using the knowledge shared to RBSC by farmers in Kampung Wates: Bpk Diding Junaedi, Maman Sudirman and Kelompok Wanita Tani.
Group Exhibition Ecological Sense (Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin, July 5 - September 22, 2019)
Workshops: DIY NurukCapsule, Ferment Fiction, Jjal-pickers Social Fermentation LAB
FermentCult is a project to rethink the fermentation culture in the age of the Anthropocene and imagine fermentation as alternative ways of living and interacting with non-human beings. Fermentation refers to a process through which organic materials change their properties through microbiome of yeast; when interpreted metaphorically, however, it can also denote trials and errors, unpredictability, organic changes, and the slow, porous temporality. Conceived under under the slogan “fermentation is the age-old future,” Fermentcult imagines a scenario in which humans relinquish their dominating presence on Earth and learns to
live with (and within) non-human beings. In addition to the installation, the work includes three
workshops each led by a microbiologist, an ecological novelist, and a media theorist.
click here to see the exhibition catalogue for ecological sense!
Jaret Vadera explores how different technologies shape and control the ways that we see the world around and within us. Vadera uses collage, photography, video, sculpture, and installation as a means to examine the ways that power, technology, and ideology intersect in images. Vadera's practice is influenced by science fiction, rorschach tests, and impossible objects.
Vadera's work has been exhibited and screened at the: Queens Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Asia Society Museum, and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center in New York; Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai; Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah; and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
In parallel, Vadera has worked as a curator, programmer, and writer on projects that focus on art as a catalyst for cultural change. Vadera completed his undergraduate education at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto and the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. He received his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University. Jaret Vadera lives and works between Canada, the US, and India. Vadera is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
FIG. 156. – Method of Removing a Foreign Body from the Cornea (Surgeon Standing in Front of the Patient), from the Diseases of the Eye series, photocopy and US penny, 2015
In the Diseases of the Eye series, medical illustrations from the early 1890s are redeployed to explore the relationships between desire and disease; between the enlightenment and violence.
No Country, 2014, from the Pangea series, black marker on world map, 30" x 20"
In the Pangea series, Vadera examines the relationships between mapping, power, and violence. Other works in the series reimagine Pangea as a speculative space. A borderless dimension populated by mythical emperors, chronomads, and sleepwalkers.
My-Van Dam is a multidisciplinary artist and a cultural worker based in Montreal. She graduated from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) in visual and media art. She is interested in the transmission of transgenerational traumas, memory, vulnerability, resilience and the healing process. In her practice, she questions the impact of trauma on our psychological and physical health, our interpersonal relationships and identity. Her creative process is a reflection based on the materialization of psychological states and identity issues resulting from this interior confrontation animated by psychic legacies. She seeks different ways to highlight the inner challenge of facing our suffering memories by creating works that testify different states of vulnerability. She has participated in several group exhibitions, notably at the Patrick Mikhail gallery, Place-des-Arts in Montreal and the ArtHelix gallery in New York.
Painting with my body, video performance, 19min, 2016
Painting with my body is a video performance that explores the themes of self-expression and body memory. In this project, I perform on four canvases of different formats, each with distinct constraints of time and space. How does the body express itself within a given space and time? How does those two factors play a role in our capacity to connect with our vulnerability and memory?
Mushtari Afroz was introduced to Bengali folk dance at a young age in Dhaka, Bangladesh, her hometown. Her training in North Indian Classical Dance form ‘Kathak’ began when she immigrated to Canada in the early 2000. After studying with her first Guru Joanna De Souza in Toronto she started advanced training in Lucknow style of Kathak under the tutelage of Ms. Saveeta Sharma at Upasana – The Spirit of Dance. She also trained in Jaipur style of Kathak under the tutelage of Mr. Hemant Panwar at Panwar Music and Dance School. Funding from Canada Council for the Arts and UK’s Milapfest Foundation helped her pursue training with the living legend of Kathak –Pandit Birju Maharaj– and the leading contemporary Kathak artist -Ms. Aditi Mangaldas- in Liverpool, UK in a workshop setting. Her interest in the recent development of contemporary aesthetics in dance has also motivated her to study with some of the leading choreographers in Canada and abroad.
In 2016 Mushtari founded Kathak Bandi Dance Collective that aims to celebrate human stories and experience through dance, music and theatre. Since its inception the collective has created original works in collaboration with many Canadian artists and presented them at Night Shift by Citadel + Compagnie Toronto, Dance Matters, HH11 Dance Festival USA, Abhinayam Dance Network, MUSE Arts and Asian Heritage Month Festival to name a few. Inspired by the recent development in the contemporary dance in non-conventional theatre spaces, she has presented her work at Aga Khan Museum’s lobbies and courtyards as part of its Pop-Up Performance and Open Rehearsal series.
Currently, with a Research and Creation grant from The Canada Council for the Arts Mushtari is working on a new project titled ‘SOM’ that she aims to premiere in 2021.
Normality is an illusion just like a mirage. Giving us a sense of comfort for a short while, then it disappears before reappearing in a new form. Transient, unstable and on a continuous journey like a river it shifts our life’s trajectory, contorts our purpose, and throws us into the abyss of whirlpool while renewing us for a new time. This elusive journey has been continuing since the dawn of human civilization.
The question is ‘is the human species capable of adapting to the continuously shifting normal?’ History suggests that since time immemorial the human mind has risen up time and again in the face of adversity and reshaped its existence whenever new reality became inevitable confirming Theoretical Physicist Dr. Brian Greene’s observation: ‘humans are the special collections of particles within the purposeless universe that have evolved to think, feel and reflect to create purpose.’
COVID-19 is now our reality and in the future, the slow-burning crisis of climate change will take that place. Are we, as artists, resilient enough to turn these dark ruptures in life into inspirations to courageously re-imagine creativity that will stand the test of uncertain times to give hope to the future of quintessentially human art forms?
This project was born in response to the absurd existential conditions that mankind all over the globe has been experiencing since the beginning of the lock-down and was developed in collaboration with Imran Noor Mohammed (Theatre Artist, Canada), Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb (Music Composer, Canada & Bangladesh), Dewan Karim (Home Camera for Mushtari, Canada) and Booster Rocket Media (Video Direction and Editing) while respecting the social distancing policy of the province of Ontario.
Link to Video:
10 minute excerpt:
Drawings and text on paper, 2020.
Jenny Lin is a Taiwanese-Canadian visual artist based in Tiohtiá:ke / Mooniyang / Montréal, who works with experimental narrative, primarily in the form of print-based installations, artists’ books and zines. She is drawn to the socio-political, accessible and community-based aspects of print and zine-making, self-publishing and distribution, and uses drawing and text as a way to process life experiences and connect with the world around her. Some of her zine projects have included web, video and AR components, feeding into an interest in moving and transforming images, interactivity and wide-reaching platforms. She works together with Eloisa Aquino as B&D Press, a queer micropress project. Together, they have created collaborative zines as well as print-based installations, and facilitate zine-making workshops with a focus on queer, feminist content and QTBIPOC communities.
These are selections from an ongoing series of drawings and text that document my experience and observations during the current coronavirus pandemic. I began the series as a way to record some of the strangeness of the circumstances, and as a way to create some structure to my day, something that I could share with friends online. I would make a drawing or series of drawings based on something I had seen, read or heard about, and post it on Instagram with a text description. This selection focuses on anti-Asian racism related to the pandemic.
Ketty Zhang is a research-based multidisciplinary artist currently based in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples known as Vancouver. As a first-generation Chinese immigrant to Canada, she has always been interested in the topic of diasporic identity, especially in a millennial context. Working with a wide range of materials, she is fascinated with existing discourses around everyday objects and technologies and our day-to-day experiences; she believes that the personal is political. She holds a BA Double Major in Visual Arts and Art History from the University of British Columbia (2017). She has exhibited at Beijing Design Week, Vancouver Art Book Fair, Surrey Art Gallery, The Reach Gallery Museum, Hatch Gallery and Dynamo Arts Association among others. She also works in the fields of English-Chinese translation in the art space and alternative data research to complement and inspire her continued art practice. More of her work can be seen at www.kettyhaolinzhang.com.
Inkjet print on satin
Shown here are 200 Facebook users who share my last name and are "most connected" with me according to Facebook’s algorithm. This piece is printed on satin, an important commodity that travelled along the Silk Road, in the form of a wall hanging decor. The work speaks to relational closeness in the age of social media and algorithms, but also in the context of diaspora: behind the happy profile pictures, have they, too, felt like they've never really belonged? Have they, too, been made ashamed of their identity growing up? Are they, too, used to the lack of representation in the media and positions of power, but still feel disappointed every time they notice it? Are they, too, tired of all of this, but still and will fight for what is fair in big and small ways?
Inkjet prints, glass cups, burnt paper with handwritten text
Therapy explores the ancient practice of cupping, which is often considered a pseudoscience in the West but long believed to help with various health issues in many Asian cultures. For this work, pieces of paper with handwritten texts ruminating on memories of the past were lit on fire and placed into glass cups, which were then held against my own skin to create suction around pain points on my body. While the temporary marks left on the skin look very much like traces of self-harm, they are rather part of the process of self-healing and a reminder of the struggles experienced along the way.
Little Book of Anxiety
Marker on tracing paper, acetate
Made of fragile, semi-transparent paper with handwritten text, this artist book overlays self-talk and ruminative thoughts like a dark cloud, a visual cacophony of one's anxiety. Only by flipping through it page by page can one break it down into sensible texts.
Writing Our Way Home
Journal pages, pins, thread, paper tags, shadow box
This piece features pages taken from personal diaries of different members in my family, spanning a few decades. The pins and English translation point to text where we write about family, moments of happiness and struggles and the blood ties that would always bind us together.
Alba Daza is a 27-year-old emerging Latinx writer/director/podcaster based in Montreal, Canada. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema with a focus on production. Her art focuses on telling and celebrating the stories of marginalized voices, giving them space to breathe and thrive. Through her work, she plans to decolonize pop culture and Slay white supremacy.
(A)dios Ivan, Adios
My grandfather Iván Daza was a guerilla soldier killed and disappeared in an ambush in Venezuela in 1966. There is no physical evidence of his death, and his body was never recovered. This short film recreates the scene of the ambush from a poetic lens with information collected from my family and the sole survivor of the attack. It is a tribute to my grandparents Irma and Iván and the love they shared.
Link to the Video
A poem in distance
Reyhaneh Yazdani is an interdisciplinary artist/ designer currently living and working in Vancouver. She received a Master of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University in 2019, a Master of Architecture from the University of Tehran in 2017, and BArch from the University of Sistan & Baluchestan in 2012. She has been the recipient of two Tehran Municipality Art Work Awards, for her creative practice and exceptional urban installations in 2015 and 2016. Her interdisciplinary practice investigates the themes of nomadic identities, bi-lingual explorations, and the implications of colonialism and monoculture in today’s world.
a Poem in Distance sends out poems as a gesture of "care" and "support" to friends and neighbors living in social isolation. Reyhaneh Yazdani (Emily Carr MFA graduates, 2019) has been writing and sharing poems, small paintings, drawings and prints created by invited artists on topics of care, resilience, community, and poetic expressions of hope through the mail.
The physicality of such a small size letter and the careful artistic decisions and aesthetics create an intimate bond between artists, the words written, and the recipient. Each issue reveals provocative poetry and commentary on issues like identity, racism, and social justice.
"I grew up in a household where poems and poets were very important and respected. We would open Hafez or Rumi's books when we have gathered around in family time to read poems and get inspirations for our everyday dilemma, or struggles. This is for me a way of showing up for one another, feeling nourished, and connecting to the community through these difficult times."
Drawings on Paper
Born in Brasília (Brazil) and based in Montreal (Canada), Tatyani Quintanilha is known for her dark soft pastel drawings which depict her inner view of social human relations, especially regarding human bodies and values. Since childhood she is interested in the figurative, especially the human figure and its fantastic or symbolic representations. Her adolescence was marked by chronic kidney disease and several periods of social withdrawal for health care, which remain to this day, and where drawing plays an essential role. She graduated in Fine Arts and has a postgraduate in Analytical Psychology.
Her work is disturbing, causes fear in some people and reflection in others. Dry pastel, charcoal and pencils on large-
format crumpled paper refer to raw and primitive, where we can find expressionism and existentialism. The work themes habitually refer to ways of social power, diseases and human existence. As a Latin American woman, she draws political events, portraits and self-portraits, and personal narratives dealing with health problems and question medical
and political power. She participated in exhibitions in Brazil, and her main influences are Francisco Goya, Leonora Carrington, Francis Bacon, Edvard Munch, Antoni Tàpies and René Magritte.
She just started a new life after receiving a kidney transplant in 2019 and recently moved to Montreal where she constantly
works on new dark drawings.
L’architecture du Chaos is a series of drawings created during the pandemic. All drawings were made of soft/dry pastels on paper board, crumpled or not. These drawings are my personal response to the circumstances presented by the COVID-19, where the historic social injustice showed its cruel face.
My work has always been connected to issues involving health and power. We are all susceptible to the virus, but the socio-political and cultural system chooses who to care for and who to protect.
Unfortunately, the real right to health care and chances of survival is directly proportional to pre-existing conditions such as origins, skin color, social class and integration. Most of those who actually died and will die because of the pandemic are the same oppressed people as ever, the poor, the BIPOC, the segregated, the "useless", the elderly and the sick.
The architecture on which human relations are based is archaic and racist. The pandemic is evidencing our structural flaws, and the need to rethink and change.
ESTEBAN PÉREZ (b. 1992 in Quito, Ecuador), received his bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Arts in 2018 from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, EC, and is currently an MFA Candidate at Emily Carr University of Arts + Design in Vancouver, BC. In 2017 he was selected for the Premio Brasil –Arte Emergente (CAC), an award funded by the Brazilian embassy for the promotion of Emerging Artist. His work has been part of exhibitions such as: ‘Triplete’ (No lugar, 2018), ‘dissipare’ (Khora, 2018), and Premio Brasil (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, 2017). His latest solo show Transitory (Más Arte, 2019), explored the overstimulation and saturation generated by the massive consumption of information.
Earth Project, 2019-ongoing
Link for Video of Earth Project: https://vimeo.com/384156722
I propose a simple gesture. To dig a hole in the earth, put the earth in a box and send it to Ecuador, my motherland. As simple and absurd as this may sound, the process reveals some interesting dynamics between the entangled ideas of land, trade, territory, art and law. The project originated from feelings of anger and frustration when entering a new country, in this case Canada, and requesting yet another visa.
I was interested in the effects of nations and borders, and their restrictive methods for regulating human movement. The designation of a “First World” Country is rooted in a colonial matrix of racialized violence. Particularly interesting are the inherited hierarchies that continue to haunt our daily lived experiences, for instance, why does the settler get to decide who enters its land. Another example could be to see land as a commodity, that needs to be exploited for the benefit of the Nation’s development. At the beginning of this project, I was trying to find out why a person with an Ecuadorian passport cannot freely travel throughout the world. In comparison to a person from a First World nation who holds a “stronger” passport that allows them to travel without any restrictions. My intention with this project was to temporarily change roles. And see what would happen when a person from the southern hemisphere approaches the First World nation territory with an extractive gaze. I wanted to extract the land of opportunities. Now, I understand that I was trying to decolonize the earth. Coming from a developing country and therefore acutely aware of the complex meaning of borders, I recognized that I needed to ask for permission from the first habitants of these lands, the Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. That feeling of frustration shifted toward a sense of deference and respect. After a small Squamish protocol of asking permission to the earth and Nature, Aaron Nelson-Moody, a squamish artist and I, proceeded with the earth collection. This leads me to the next step of the project. The documentation of the bureaucratic process of sending a box of earth (territory) to Ecuador.
Digital photo collage
Rodrigo D’Alcântara (Rodrigo de Alcântara Barros Bueno - b. Niterói, Brazil) is a visual artist, film/video-maker and PhD student in the Interuniversity Doctoral Program in Art History at Concordia University (Montreal, CA). His doctoral studies are supported by Concordia University Graduate Fellowship and Concordia International Tuition Award of Excellence. He holds a Master degree in Visual Arts from the School of Fine Arts of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and a Bachelor degree in Plastic Arts from the University of Brasília (Brazil) - with an exchange term in the Los Andes University (Colombia). Rodrigo’s works have been screened internationally, in countries such as Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Greece, Italy, among others. His theoretical research focuses on analyzing some of the concepts and imagery that have been perpetuated through Western Art History and have contributed in maintaining a colonial and straight structure in contemporary times. He is interested in recent contemporary art movements and theories that have been created through the subversion of hegemonic historicity.
The pandemic and the intensification of life's uncertainty made me connect more with my ancestors. During the quarantine I have been developing a video art alongside the relatives I share my house with, which are my grandmother and my mother. In parallel of this video process, I’ve been creating a series of digital images and photo-collages entitled Self-declarations. In this series I intervene on my family's photographic archive to invoke my matriarchal heritage, as seen at the 3 Matriarchal Ensigns artworks. A mixed-race and syncretic Brazilian iconology is then channeled through symbolic interventions on my genealogical imagery.
Ivetta Sunyoung Kang is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist and writer currently based in Montreal, Canada. Her practice is concerned with cinematic thinking, video installations, text, and performative/participatory work that propose future-oriented and reparative perception and movement. By doing so, her work attempts to ease mental disorders exacerbated by the dominant life model in excessive urbanism and post-colonialism. She examines the common patterns of everyday objects, human behaviors, and relationships with the surroundings until their subversions in social contexts and usages become poetically therapeutic. She has internationally presented her work at film festivals and galleries, including Jeon-Ju International Film Festival, Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, M.A.I, SomoS Art House, Arlington Arts Center and etc. In 2016, She was shortlisted for the Simon Blais Award in Canada. She has recently published a poetry collection entitled Absent Seats. Dang is a co-founding member of an artist collective, Quiet Ourselves since 2017.
Annotated Memoir, which is installed along with Nissology 1: Maehwa, composes six memoirs written by me. These memoirs deliver a mixture of my father’s personal memories and my own imagination about the island, which had been grown upon the told memories. These personalized folktales and pasts unfold in English, which is the language that I use in my “second life” as an immigrant in Canada and, also, are annotated in Korean, my mother tongue. This work investigates the linguistic interstices between the notion of the first and second languages. All of them are printed and written on tracing paper so that each of them can be penetrating one another while superimposed through the light from a lightbox.
● Vimeo link to the video documentation: https://vimeo.com/330364754
Proposition 1: Hands contains a single-channel video and a small booklet that instructs each position of hands performed in the video that aims to transform a banal children’s game into a futuristic therapeutic exercise. This is a second video of my long-term research-creation on relational tensions and internal exchanges between anxiety, the uncertainty of the future and futuristic suggestions to overcome the anxious-self since the first project entitled Intolerance of Uncertainty. The children’s game utilized in this project is called Make Electricity on Hands, which is overly played among children in South Korea. This project converts its underlying conception and arisen sensation from the act of the game into a form of massage therapy to tend to one’s mental health. This piece invites the audience to pair up, sit in a gallery and perform each of the massage steps, following either the video or the installed booklet. Each instructive sentence in the video functions to be propositional means that poetically imagines possibilities of momentary relief from anxiety. It requests the participants to hold and feel each other’s hands and give this performative/therapeutic massage; they will be asked to transfer the warmth that their hands potentially have underneath and to remain bonded at least during this massage session.
"Picture a music box in front of you” is a virtual installation work that germinates its viewers’ active imagination as a participatory (isolated) performance. It consists of a body of music tracks, a single-channel looped video of an image of an instructive box that rotates, and a text work of 13 riddles originally written in English. Above all, as the most foregrounding component of this work, the audio tracks correspond with the written riddles that are spoken by both me as a non-native speaker and digitized utterances on one of the biggest online dictionaries; these considerably “allegedly perfect” utterances represent that of all native English speakers, and they are visually shown for English learners as guidance to pronounce English words “correctly”. The graphic gaps generated from the visual juxtapositions have transformed into the musical notes punctured on the music note sheets and then recorded as a successive series of music songs - alternative yet resonating “languages”. Therefore, the conception of translation between multiple “humans” languages can be subverted for further solidarity rooted in other alternatives of communication. Along with the music playing on one side of the virtual realm, the viewers would read an image of the riddles begin with “What Am I?”, asking the audience to guess the identity of this person or group of people that “erase my [his/her] tongue” and “individuate one’s own liberation” (extracted from the riddles) in the end, as a medium of a collective quiz.
● Vimeo link to the work: https://vimeo.com/429072750/aec93f2d52
SCREEN-GRABS from films and An advertisement
Astria Suparak is an artist and curator based in Oakland, California. Her cross-disciplinary projects often address urgent political issues and have been widely acclaimed for their high level concepts made accessible through a popular culture lens. Her current research interests include linguistics, diasporas, food histories, and sci-fi.
Suparak’s creative and collaborative projects, often taking the form of publicly accessible tools, maps, and databases of subcultures and misunderstood histories, have been exhibited and performed at Artists Space (New York), ICA London, SFMOMA, Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and The Warhol Museum, and published in LTTR and Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents. Her writing has appeared in The Getty blog, Art21 Magazine, VICE Magazine’s Noisey, Boing Boing, The Exhibitionist, The Museum Is Not Enough, and Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community. She co-edited and co-produced the Sports issue of INCITE Journal of Experimental Media, The Yes Men Activity Book, and New Art/Science Affinities.
She has curated exhibitions, screenings, performances, and live music events for art institutions and festivals across ten countries, including The Liverpool Biennial, Museo Rufino Tamayo, MoMA PS1, La Cinémathèque québécoise, Eyebeam, The Kitchen, and Expo Chicago, as well as for unconventional spaces such as roller-skating rinks, ferry boats, sports bars, and rock clubs. Her curatorial practice has explored science, political and community activism, and feminisms and gender, among other topics.
Excerpt from “Asian futures, without Asians” (2020)
From an ongoing research project and illustrated lecture analyzing how white Western sci-fi filmmakers depict futures inflected by Asian culture but devoid of actual Asian people. With coronavirus fears manifesting in irrational anti-Asian racism and conspiracy theories, this selection of images highlights how an old, xenophobic trope has persisted over two centuries.
In futures depicted by white filmmakers, street vendors with hanging food are presented as weird, gross, and savage.
“Rat eating” is a pernicious and enduring urban legend assigned to Chinese immigrants to North America since at least the mid-1800s, broadened to now include other Asian ethnicities and immigrants. This trope is intended to paint Asian people as filthy, diseased, and uncivilized. Rather than, say, the rats themselves, a lack of access to health care and public services, or not wearing a face mask during the current pandemic, regardless of your race.
1) Screengrab of a street vendor selling deep fried rats in the Neo Seoul area of “Cloud Atlas” (2012).
2) Screengrab of hanging roasted animals in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (2017).
3) Screengrab of a white hero realizing the burger he is eating is made from rats in “Demolition Man” (1993).
4) Advertisement for Rough On Rats brand rat poison (c. 1900). This image is used on many novelty products for sale in 2020.
Selection of mixed media and gold leaf on cardboard.
Farzaneh Rostami, originally from Tehran, Iran, lives and works in Ontario, Canada. She studied art in Tehran and Florence for many years. Her artwork focused on the history, mythology and environment in which she was raised. She has explored the medium of sculptures, drawings, paintings and installations.
In her work we see experiences and memories as an Iranian female artist. The artist’s works depict women, their suppression, trauma, movements and relationship with nature. Her culture inspired her collection named the “Renaissance in Persian Gardens.” She explores the differences between Persian miniature and Renaissance in her work. She presents us with the Venus Figure Sculptures series that are the symbol of beauty. She demonstrates how the meaning of beauty changed in the centuries. In her Land Art Series, Farzaneh presents our relationship with nature.
Batik and shibori on linen, silk, and cotton.
Avy Loftus is a Montreal-based visual artist and batik designer. As a visual artist, Avy has held a number of collective and solo exhibitions in Canada, the US, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Bulgaria and Bermuda. She received awards for her artwork and, in 2013, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her artistic and community contributions. Her artwork has been sold in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Indonesia and Bermuda.
As a batik designer, she has conducted batik workshops at Harbour Front, Toronto, the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now: Canadian Museum of History), the Indonesian Embassy in Ottawa, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, Marsil Museum, Annual Tulip Festival, Major Park in Ottawa, Middfest International in Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago Children’s Museum, Textile museum in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Indonesian Embassy and the International Children’s Festival in Washington, DC, the Summer Children’s Festival in Ireland and other private institutions.
Currently, Avy is the President of the Asian Canadian Women Artists, the Director of Peace, Love and Hope for kids and an art educator at MMFA and at MELS (Culture in School program). She is a member of the following organisations; English Language Arts Network (ELAN), National Art Education Association (NAEA), The Textile Society of America (TSA), Women’s Art Society of Montreal (WASM), The Canada-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (CICC), and The Irish Protestant Benevolent Society (IPBS).
Avy holds a B.A. in Education, a B.A. in Language and Art and a Diploma in Public Relations. She is finishing her Master’s in Art Education at Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University this summer.
Sakura (Batik and shibori on Linen – a kimono)
Sakura (cherry blossoms) represents the enduring expression of life, death and renewal. The narration of cherry blossoms is a timeless metaphor for human existence; blooming season is so glorious, enchanting and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting. I transformed this sakura painting into wearable art – a kimono.
Two Masks (Batik on Silk)
Any immigrant who comes to Canada has two identities; when he/she becomes Canadian, he/she also has another identity (his/her origin- Asian/African/European/ Australian, etc).This artwork reflects the social fabric identity and shows the two identities a person has – one relating to his/her country of origin and the other mask representing the new country of arrival. As Joseph O’Neill said “One of the great pluses of being an immigrant is you get to start again in terms of your identity. You get to shed the narratives which cling to you.”
Intertwined (Batik on cotton)
Coming from a multi-cultural background, my artistic life involves the intertwining of diverse cultural existences, however, it is still rooted in Asian traditions and practices. The indigo colour represents integrity and deep sincerity. It also reflects great devotion, wisdom and justice along with fairness and impartiality. The red flowers symbolise passion, respect, and courage.
Pendawa - Friendships beyond borders (batik on silk)
I use this interpretation of the mythological epic Mahabharata to celebrate friendships beyond borders, celebrating sixty years of Indonesian-Canadian Diplomatic Relations. Both countries believe in unity in diversity and it is one of the values that bring people together in the midst of adversity. This concept of unity in diversity is also used by the Indigenous peoples in N. America.
Selected Performances and Photographs, 2020.
kimura byol-nathalie lemoine (키무라 별 – 나타리 르뫈 – 木村 ビヨル – ナタリー レムワンー) is a conceptual multimedia feminist artist who works on identities (diaspora, ethnicity, colorism, post-colonialism, immigration, gender), and expresses it with calligraphy, paintings, digital images, poems, videos and collaborations. kimura*lemoine’s work has been exhibited, screened, published and supported nationally and internationally. kimura*lemoine, as curator, has developed projects that give voice and visibility to minorities and as an activist archivist, ze is working on A.C.A (adoptees cultural archives) to document the history of adoptee’s culture through media and arts.
Recipient of 2014-2015 Mentorship Program from Montreal Arts Interculturals and a 2015 Vivacité Grant from CALQ and the Prize PowerHouse from Gallery La Centrale and the 2017 ‘Regard sur Montréal‘ (CAM, NFB, ACIC), a 2018 CALQ Grant for zer writing essay project ’88 etc. In 2020, kimura*lemoine completed Adoption 30 years after (with ACIC-ONF/NFB) and exhibited at Dazibao (Jan.-Mar., 2020, Montreal).
My art practice is based on time. The selected images are from the time period of the start of the covid19 pandemic. As a full-time independent artist, the new situation didn't really change for me in terms of social connection since I connected mostly with people through social media. Being from the asian diaspora and having been living in 3 different main places, managin time-zones keeps me busy if I want to keep in touch with my friends and networking artists.
As an artist, I joined a few art projects mainly initiated by Caucasian Canadians. I was definitely a minority and spent my energy encouraging POC artists to join. But they were too exhausted with anti-asian racism (for asians) and systemic racism and police brutality for afro-descendants in Montreal, Quebec and Canada.
I also lost my ex-wife in the beginning of the pandemic which put me in a more fragile state of 'heart & mind'. As an overseas and inter-racial adoptee, paradoxically, I was lucky to connect through Facebook with the Montreal asian group that provided support and self-care. It was helping me a lot that many others out there were sharing their stories. Then, I also joined a few Zoom talks and connected even more with P.O.C adoptees web group discussions. It is very therapeutic (more than expected).
All of this to say that the five selected photos represent this strange time. The last photo and artwork is a work that I made to celebrate my 100 days of confinement (3 months and 10 days -march 13 to june 21). The art piece is made from 100 petals selected from a gift received for my real birthday from a fellow belgian korean (also living in montreal).
oil paintings on Canvas and paper, 2020.
Alyssa Tang is a visual artist and architectural designer born and raised in Toronto. Graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Architecture, Alyssa has been pursuing art in parallel with her exploration in spatial design. Her Canadian Chinese identity combined with a transient educational journey has molded her values in diversification of culture, knowledge and interests. Alyssa’s recent work focuses on the exploration of identity, and the intersection of heritage, culture and design.
Piece Description: In my Skin
Oil painting on canvas
36” x 48”
With the advancement and growing popularity of social media, like many people, I found myself exposed to more and more accounts of hate and violence. As we watched the outbreak of Covid-19 spread to western countries, we also witnessed a rise in Anti-Asian rhetoric which trickled down from those in positions of power, to the everyday person’s news intake.Seeing the rise in hate crimes towards people of the Asian community was both heartbreaking and eye-opening. Growing up in Toronto, I was extremely privileged to live in a culturally diverse community. I was never made uncomfortable because of the colour of my skin, and never had to conceal my heritage. I was lucky to grow up in a country that prided itself in diversity and acceptance.
Unfortunately, this pandemic has uncovered the ugly racism that exists in our country, no matter how diverse or accepting, we as a country like to believe we are. On certain days, I contemplated the irony, the fact that our skin, the largest organ in our bodies, which serves to weatherproof, protect, insulate us, became the target for disapproving glances, racial slurs, and even physical attacks. The mixture of self-consciousness, vulnerability, fear, anger, and pain became familiar emotions that lingered in the back of my mind. The quiet reflections and discourses with friends and family, inspired this faceless self-portrait showing a body with multiple hands trying its best to comfort itself. The different hands express a spectrum of emotions, from anger, shame, to protectiveness. Without associating these human emotions to a face, I hope the painting can speak to a more universal crowd, who can perhaps find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in this fight.
Piece Description: Thank You Have a Nice Day
Oil on Paper
Growing up Chinese Canadian in Toronto, the "thank you, have a nice day" plastic bag was an iconic symbol associated with Chinatown and the Asian community.
This graphic serves as the motif for a new series which recognizes the hardships conquered, and celebrates the talents and contributions of individuals across the Asian diaspora, who are breaking boundaries and (re)defining Asian representation across different sectors. As part of an ongoing series, so far I have painted Takashi Murakami and Bruce Lee, and hope to paint more role models from the Asian community in the future.
selected works, 2018-2020
Florence Yee is a Cantonese-struggling visual artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Their interest in Cantonese-Canadian history has informed an art practice examining diasporic subjectivities through the lens of gender, racialization, queerness and language. Notable exhibitions include Sino(n)-Québécoise? at Centre Never Apart and Le Salon at Articule, as well as exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2020), the Gardiner Museum (2019), Centre A (2019), A Space (2019), Art Mûr (2018), and the Karsh-Masson Gallery (2017). Along with Mattia Zylak, Yee co-founded The Institute of Institutional CritiqueTM in 2019. They are currently the Co-Director of Tea Base, a grassroots collective in Tkaronto’s Chinatown run by queer East and Southeast- Asians. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U. They are represented by Studio Sixty-Six. to edit.
My practice started with the research of historical references to Cantonese-Canadian history and has now moved into a more intimate, more self-doubtful examination of diasporic family respectability from a queer lens. I use textile installation to question the stoicism of assimilationist imperatives, by holding space for personal & intergenerational failure and cultural loss. As an expansion upon (and critique of) liberal multiculturalism, it seeks to deromanticize Cantonese diasporic experiences and destabilize linear narratives of the self through humour and an autotheoretical approach. It problematizes labour as the longing for—and futility of—work within Cantonese diaspora, impacted by tradition, family, and queerness.
The banner made specifically for the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was hung inside the gallery during their All Hours event. As a recognition of the AGO’s physical site in the neighbourhood of Chinatown (as well as on stolen land), I collaborated with Tea Base, a local arts collective, to knock on neighbours’ doors to invite them to our mahjong hall. The donated proceeds from the night were redistributed to Giditem checkpoint land defenders who were struggling against a pipeline expansion.
My most recent ongoing series, Please Help Yourself, is a collection of glazed ceramics meant to resemble tangerine peels. The offering of tangerines is reminiscent of the ways that Cantonese people often welcome guests in their home, and the simple food that is shared among friends on the side of the curb. As ceramic works, the inconspicuous leftovers of our shared gatherings become small monuments to those moments. As an expansion upon this project, I have transformed it into a collaborative endeavour. During COVID-19, I have mailed a small portion of clay to relatives and friends whom I cannot visit, for us to “share a tangerine,” by making one and sending it back to me to fire in a kiln. The sculptures act as commemorative objects of loss, while also grieving this time through creative acts.
Fragments of text, digital, 2020
As if an itinerant geographer of conflicted territories (most everywhere), Salloum observes the world and creates/collects images/texts to make meaning/reflections from. Since arriving here - by no means of his own volition - he tries to go only where he is invited or where there is an intrinsic affinity, his projects being rooted in an intimate engagement with place. A grandson of Syrian or Lebanese immigrants he was born and raised on others’ land, the Sylix (Okanagan) territory. After 21 years living and working elsewheres he planted himself on the unceded stolen lands of the Xʷməθkʷey̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh + Səíl̓wətaʔł. Recognizing and acting on this is an everyday practice, but let’s face it, he could do a lot more. In this context - not that it really matters, Salloum has lectured and published pervasively and exhibited peripatetically at the widest range of local and international venues possible and most improbable, from the smallest unnamed storefronts in his downtown eastside Vancouver neighbourhood to institutions such as the Musée du Louvre, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, National Gallery of Canada, Bienal De La Havana, Sharjah Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
In and out of quarantine time pondering how to tackle the point that we find ourselves in now and the unforeseeable future and the politics of fear, regression, pain, promise and hope that surround me. I’ve started and stopped several stabs at things, your message comes at an opportune albeit heavily pressurized time. I don’t produce work upon such short notice, with a short time frame, usually labouring over projects for years, trying to produce something resonant. Nevertheless I am interested in trying to think this through into something useful. Your enthusiasm is convincing and breaks my indeterminate ennui. I had started collecting fragments of text, correspondence with others and writing bits and pieces since I got back here (literally from the jungle) so am making it somewhat of a daily practice. It’ll be a sutured manifesto disguised as poetic ramblings and rants out into the void.
Annotated Photography, Digital, 2020
j.p.mot is a Khmer-Canadian conceptual artist born in Montreal currently living between Brooklyn and Montreal. He completed a BFA in Visual and New Media Art (2009) and an MA in International Development in (2012), at the University of Quebec in Montreal, and received an MFA in Visual Art at Columbia University in New York (2015). He took part in performance art festivals such as the Raflost Reykjavik Electronic festival and the Montreal’s Viva Art Action!; His installations has been part of numerous group shows in Canada, US, Mexico, Iceland, China and Thailand including Art Mûr, Montreal, Verticale, Laval, Espace F, Matane, Praxis, St-Hyacinthe, the Judith Charles Gallery, New York City, Fisher Landau Centre for the Arts, Long Island City, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore. His artist residencies include Gamli Scóli in Iceland, SOMA in Mexico, Tropical Lab in Singapore, NARS Foundation in Brooklyn, MASS MOCA in North Adam, Red Gate in Beijing, and Wassaic Project in New York.
He has been supported by the Quebec art and Letter Council (2011, 2012, 2013) and the Canada Art Council (2018); He was a recipient of the Columbia Morty Frank traveling fellowship (2015) and the NARS Foundation fellowship (2018); He has been featured in ESSE Arts, the Reykjavik Grapevine, the Singapore Strait Times. Currently, he is part of a year-long project titled “Leadership Camp” (2019 - 2020) with the Asia Art Archive in America and has been selected to take part in the NYFA (New York Foundation for the Art) Mentorship program (2020).
Through annotations this Instagrammable work through personal archive poke light jabs on the subject of Asians being seen as a foil to privilege and a scapegoat for identity politics: somewhat of a buffer to gatekeep class/race disparity and an “acceptable” output for triggered anger toward the perfect subaltern. As we are humble and nice we nod and smile...
There’s always the component of the lived experience vs the myth of meritocracy. In which there’s constant validation of this idea of the subaltern in the rhizome of society. Who, if they (the subaltern) work hard enough and are being an outstanding productive member of their society, can rise above their station. Without discounting anyone's lived experience or qualitative information at hand... the problem is that it (the notion of meritocracy) is still deeply embedded in the notion of shame in line with normalizing instances of micro-aggressions toward minorities. How great do you have to become in this equation of inequity to have the same worth as the privilege to receive basic reciprocity? The myth of meritocracy extends and maintains itself through niceness and humbleness which both participate in conserving a sense of stagnation and status quo in racial disparities due to systemic and institutionalized bias.
Diane Wong, Elizabeth Davis, Tamara Harkness, Chaeyeon Park, Sarah Piché.