35+ Prisons in Quebec - Sheena Hoszko

Friday, January 5, 2018 to Thursday, February 15, 2018
Friday, January 5, 7:00pm

35+ Prisons in Québec

Sheena Hoszko
Opening Friday January 5th 7 - 9pm
Exhibition runs January 5th - February 15
Forest City Gallery
258 Richmond St., London, ON, N6B 2H7

35+ Prisons in Québec is a sculptural artwork based on site visits to all federal and provincial prisons in Québec, from 2016 to 2017. The project understands prison as a system of power relations that extend far beyond concrete block walls, and in turn, the work asks “outsiders” to position themselves within this dynamic. 35+ Prisons in Québec locates prisons in relation to the role played by the Catholic Church in building the province’s first carceral institutions, many of which remain today.

At each institution, a 9” x 12” piece of paper was placed as close as possible to the front gate on the ground in the parking lot and then rubbed with conté, charcoal, or crayon. All 35+ drawings have been photo-transferred and etched with acid onto copper plates, which lie in two long rows along the floor of the gallery: one plate for each site visited. A stained glass window, featuring an upside-down fleur-de-lis and maple leaf, illuminates the room in amber light. As well, a large poster hangs on the wall, listing all the prison sites and the distance between each institution and Forest City Gallery itself.

Despite the fact that half of the prisons in the province are situated in suburbs and city centres, the location of prisons remains hidden from our everyday public knowledge. This is due to the ongoing invisibilization of those on the inside and those who are most in conflict with the law: Indigenous people, people of colour, people living with mental illness, and people living in poverty.

Sites near gas stations, sites surrounded by tall corn fields, sites next to Percé Rock and lines of RV homes, sites next to highways that lead to hydro dams and copper mines, a site next to a church and a grocery store that bustles on Sundays.

Sheena Hoszko is a sculptor, anti-prison organizer, and settler living and working in Tio'tia:ke (Montréal), in Kanien'kehá:ka territory. Her art practice examines the power dynamics of geographic and architectural sites, and is informed by her family’s experiences with incarceration and the military. She studied at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design and obtained an MFA from Concordia University, where she received SSHRC funding for her research on feminism and post-minimalism. Selected solo exhibitions include Centre Clark and La Centrale (Montreal), A Space (Toronto), Artspace (Peterborough), The New Gallery (Calgary), with upcoming projects at the Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga). She is also an avid sci-fi fan, and is currently in residence at Atelier Circulaire (Montreal).

Thank you to The Canada Council for the Arts, Atelier Circulaire, Centre du Vitrail, Forest City Gallery Board and Staff, Termite, Eveline Lupien, Giselle Dias, Ed, Michelle, Skye, Nasrin, Emma, Nadege, Mark, Jeffrey, Carol, Manu, Pasc, and Sav.

Image info: Sheena Hoszko, Baie-Comeau, Copper & Photo emulsion, 9” x 12”, 2017

Photo credit: Paul Litherland

Forest City Gallery is situated on the traditional land of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenausaune, Lenape,  Huron-Wendat and Attawandaron peoples who have longstanding relationships to the region of southwestern Ontario and the City of London. In close proximity, there are 3 local First Nations communities: the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee Delaware Nation. In the region of southwestern Ontario, there are 9 First Nations and a growing Indigenous urban population. We would like to recognize the significant historical and contemporary contributions of local and regional First Nations and all of the Original peoples of Turtle Island (North America) to the development of Canada.

Documentation by Yuula Benivolski