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Reading Silences

Friday, November 1, 2019 to Saturday, November 30, 2019

Featuring Aaron Jones (Toronto, ON), Zinnia Naqvi (Montreal, QC), Joi T. Arcand (Ottawa, ON), Shahrzad Changalvaee (Brooklyn, NY), and Karinne Smith (Los Angles, CA).

Featuring Aaron Jones (Toronto, ON), Zinnia Naqvi (Montreal, QC), Joi T. Arcand (Ottawa, ON), Sharzad Changalvaee (Brooklyn, NY), and Karinne Smith (Los Angles, CA).

Curated by Matthew Kyba

Reading Silences is a 5-person group show that elucidates and responds to the ways in which Western photo-archives subjugate, erase, and control communities to dictate prevailing histories. Each artist questions photographic records to undermine Western archival practices by problematize privilege, racial bias, cultural monolism, colonial framing, and linear temporality inherent in Euro-centric archive photography. Through both outwards and self-referential criticism of archival agency, the artists attempt to respond to different archival silences through the process of mining personal & cultural histories.

Recognizing that the seemingly “neutral Western criteria and classifications are in fact tools for maintaining the role of an archive as an imperial project of domination and affirmation” [1], Reading Silences asks: what do certain histories look like if they weren’t traditionally dictated by systems of subjugation and marginalization? By appropriating photographic archival tendencies to reconcile historical erasures, oppression, and colonization, included artists attempts to prove how archives can act as sites of resistance, to work against their original objectives, and ultimately undermine sovereign historical propaganda by unearthing and presenting challenging cultural contents.

[1] Decolonising Archives, Introduction (5)

Joi T. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. In 2018, Arcand was shortlisted for the prestigious Sobey Art Award. Her practice includes photography, digital collage, and graphic design and is characterized by a visionary and subversive reclamation and indigenization of public spaces through the use of Cree language and syllabics. In addition to exhibiting her art widely, she co-founded the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery in Saskatoon, founded and edited the Indigenous art magazine kimiwan, and has curated numerous art exhibits.

Shahrzad Changalvaee, is a sculptor and visual artist. Born in 1983, Tehran, Iran, She received her MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 2015, and her BA in Visual Communications from Tehran University in 2006. Working across installation, sculpture, photography, performance and video, her practice responses to time and space. Through structures that are mostly temporal, fragile, fragmented, and are generated through visual found and basic material, she constructs narratives that question local/global, information/anecdote, language/communication and alienism/exoticism. Shahrzad’s work has been featured in several solo and group exhibitions including"In Absentia, In Effigie", 2019, at The Chimney NYC, Brooklyn, “The Understandables Always Arrive From Far Away”, 2018, at Soho20, Brooklyn, “You Cannot The Same River Twice”, 2016, at O Gallery, Tehran, Iran, and numbers of group shows in the U.S., Iran, UAE, Britain, Canada and Australia. Shahrzad lives and works in Brooklyn.

b.1993 Aaron Jones is a Jamaican-Canadian Toronto native working with found images, videos, and lense-based media. His practice surrounds ideas of self-reflection and character building predominantly incorporating found images of domestic origins. Often working through collage, he employs multiple forms of mark making, photography, and printmaking to build characters and spaces relating to surreal personal experiences. Jones touches on family, masculinity, and melanin in his narratives through a cathartic and ritualistic practice of deconstructing and rebuilding. His process of visual and creative fusion asks, both through its production and its process, How do we make our own [world] from what is given?

Zinnia Naqvi is a visual artist based in Toronto and Montreal. Her work uses a combination of photography, video, writings, archival footage and installation. Naqvi’s practice questions the relationship between authenticity and narrative, while dealing with larger themes of post colonialism, cultural translation, language, and gender. Her works often invite the viewer to question her process and working methods. Naqvi’s works have been shown across Canada and internationally. She recently received an honorable mention at the 2017 Karachi Biennale in Pakistan and was an Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of EMILIA-AMALIA Working Group.

Karinne Smith (b. Los Angeles, CA) is an artist and MFA candidate at the Yale School of Art. Her work uses found imagery and objects to construct new narratives around archives, technology, and identity.

Image: Watchers, Drippers and Leavers#1, Sharzad Changalvaee, 2019

[1] Decolonising Archives, Introduction (5)


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