June 03, 2023

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I am very pleased to announce that Passages II: Inhabiting the North will be part of an exciting group exhibition voz-à-voz / voice-à-voice, opening next Friday, September 18, at YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto, reception 6-9PM. I hope you can join me and other artists at the opening or see the show at another time. The exhibition will run until December 5, and there is a great line-up of other programs associated with the project throughout the fall. Plenty of time and opportunities to see the offerings. Please scroll down for more info.

The second performance in my Passages project (http://passages.subversivepress.org), Inhabiting the North was staged in March 2015 as a collaborative reading of selections from memoirs of Sayyada Salme bint Said, a daughter of the king of Zanzibar and Oman, who went to Germany in mid-19th c. The performance was part of a dinner gathering which also raised funds for It Starts with Us Database project in support of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The piece brought together Sarah Abu-Sharar and Zainab Amadahy as readers, Diane Roberts facilitating discussions, and Salma Al-Atassi,Claude Awad, Azar Masoumi and Nicole Tanguay who prepared culturally significant foods for the feast.

Inhabiting the North video is a stand-alone piece that juxtaposes the reading performance with the visual journal of a winter journey and conversations on critical issues in Indigeneity, migration, settlement, culture and gender on Turtle Island. The video will be part of a playlist included in the voz-à-voz / voice-à-voice online publication along with a critical text by Heather Hermant, coming up at http://www.vozavoz.ca/

I hope you get to see the show. As always, I’d love to hear back from you.

Be well.



voz-à-voz / voice-à-voice

Presented by e-fagia organization and YYZ Artists’ Outlet
Co-presented by imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Curated by Maria Alejandrina Coates and Julieta Maria
Online publication edited by Gina Badger


This exhibition presents seven inter-media art projects that have been adapted for display in an online publication platform produced by e-fagia organization. Both the exhibition and the publication bring into relief the embodied experiences of Indigenous people and non-Indigenous racialized im/migrants across the political and geographical borders of North America. In reference to the French expression vis-à-vis, meaning face to face or in relation to, the exhibition voz-à-voz/voice-à-voice provides a space for the articulation of different voices in the context of creative narratives and the frameworks enabled by new media and digital technologies.

In these artists’ projects, the relationships between land/geography and bodies are animated, while both technology and tradition materialize as ways of knowing that describe the histories of coloniality. At work is the refinement of a vocabulary of solidarity that articulates the complexities and contradictions of moving within a contemporary colonial landscape and the relationship between indigeneity and immigration in this region. The exhibition features artwork by Micha Cárdenas, Tings Chak, Alexandra Gelis, Gita Hashemi, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Julie Nagam, and Skawennati. The publication features texts by Lindsey Catherine Cornum, David Garneau, Francisco-Fernando Granados, Heather Hermant, Nasrin Himada, Tarah Hogue, Yaniya Lee, Jessica MacCormack, Farrah Miranda, Wanda Nanibush, Gregory Volk.

Visit http://www.e-fagia.org for programming details.
Online publication at http://www.vozavoz.ca

Publication Launch: Friday 16 October at 7:30pm
Featuring a special performance by Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Joseph Naytowhow as part of the imagineNATIVE Art Crawl, October 16, 2015, 5:00 – 8:30pm, 401 Richmond Building. Visit http://www.imaginenative.org for full details.

Performance by micha cárdenas: October 8th at 6:30pm
Workshop by Dylan A.T. Miner: October 23rd & 24th, 10:00am- 2:00pm
Screening and Artist Talk by Skawennati: October 20th at 6:00pm

MICHA CÁRDENAS is a performer, writer, student, educator, mixed-race trans-femme latina who works with movement as a technology of change. Cardenas is a Provost Fellow and PhD candidate in Media Arts + Practice (iMAP) at University of Southern California and a member of the art collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. Cardena’s individual and collaborative work has been presented in museums, galleries, biennials, and keynotes around the world. Her co-authored book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities was published by Atropos Press in 2012.

TINGS CHAK is a multidisciplinary artist and designer trained in architectural design whose work draws inspiration from anti-colonial, anti-racist, prison abolition, and spatial justice struggles. She is a migrant justice organizer and believes in the freedom to move, return, and stay for peoples here and everywhere. Her graphic novel, Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention (The Architecture Observer, 2014), explores the role and ethics of architectural design and representation in mass incarceration. She is also the recipient of the Power Corporation of Canada Award at the Canadian Centre of Architecture (2013), and the Kuwabara-Jackman Architecture Thesis Gold Medal (2014).

ALEXANDRA GELIS is a Colombian-Venezuelan, media artist based in Toronto with a background in visual arts. She is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at York University, and she also holds an MFA degree from the same university in Toronto, Canada. Gelis’ work addresses the use of the image in relation to displacement, landscape and politics beyond borders or culturally specific subjects. In her latest works she has expanded her practice using electronics and programming for interactivity. In her installation work she creates immersive sculptural spaces, using video projections and complex sound designs. Her work has been shown in several venues in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Argentina, and the United States.

GITA HASHEMI was born in Shiraz, Iran. She taught time-based art, (new) media and cultural studies at York and Ryerson Universities and University of Toronto, 1998-2009. Hashemi’s transdisciplinary practice focuses on historical and contemporary issues. Her award-winning work has been shown widely in Canada and internationally. Her most recent solo exhibitions include Like Flesh and Blood as part of Mayworks 2015, Time Lapsed at A Space Gallery in Toronto and The Idea of Freedomat MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) in 2013. Drawing on visual, media and performance strategies and using different techniques and technologies, she explores social relations and the interconnections of writing as embodied language with cultural imaginary and politics.

CHERYL L’HIRONDELLE is an Alberta-born mixed blood (Cree/Metis/German/Polish) community-engaged multi / interdisciplinary artist and singer/songwriter, who has been presenting and exhibiting her work since the 1980’s. Her creative practice investigates a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time-space. L’Hirondelle uses song, voice, audio and more to develop endurance-based performances, interventions, site-specific installations, participatory projects while she keeps singing and writing songs where ever and with whom ever she can. Currently Toronto-based, Cheryl has performed and exhibited her work widely both in Canada and abroad, and her previous musical efforts and new media work have garnered her critical acclaim and numerous awards.

DR. JULIE NAGAM carries a joint position of an Assistant Professor at the University of Winnipeg and an Assistant Curator at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Her current SSHRC project includes The Kanata Indigenous Performance, New and Digital Media Art Project (http://www.transactivememorykeepers.org). Nagam has published, The Occupation of Space: Creatively Transforming Indigenous Living Histories in Urban Spaces (2015); A Home for Our Migrations: The Canoe as Indigenous Methodology (2014); Charting Indigenous Stories of Place: An alternative cartography through the visual narrative of Jeff Thomas (2013) and (Re)Mapping the Colonized Body: The Creative Interventions of Rebecca Belmore in the Cityscape (2012). Nagam’s creative practices include working in mixed media, such as drawing, photography, painting, sound, projections, new and digital media. She has shown work nationally and internationally.

SKAWENNATI makes art that addresses history, the future, and change. Her pioneering new media projects have been widely presented across Turtle Island in major exhibitions such as Now? NOW! at Denver’s Biennial of the Americas; and Looking Forward (L’Avenir) at the Montreal Biennale. She has been honored to win imagineNative’s 2009 Best New Media Award as well as a 2011 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Her work in is included in both public and private collections.

Born in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Skawennati graduated with a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. She is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics and technologists investigating, creating and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments. This year they launched IIF, the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.

YYZ Artists’ Outlet
#140-401 Richmond St. W
Toronto, On M5V 3A8

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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