Location: Bachir/Yerek Presentation Space, Suite 452 (4th floor), 401 Richmond St West, Toronto
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12PM - 6PM
Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.
The following guidelines will be in place:
Masking: Masking is required when visiting the exhibition.
Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.
This exhibition brings together artists whose works navigate the purgatory of exile. They explore the complexities and contradictions inherent in the experience of displaced communities, caught in between an incessant longing for homes left behind and an inability to belong to new, presumably safer, environments. Mona Hatoum, Akram Zaatari, Nahed Mansour, Atefeh Khademolreza, Parastoo Anoushahpour and Faraz Anoushahpour, Rehab Nazzal, and Walid Ra’ad capture the disturbing sense of alienation and the deep melancholia that emerge in the wake of losing one’s home, along with the certainty, familiarity, stability, security, and warmth that home represents.
The exhibition borrows works from the Vtape catalogue that reveal what might have withdrawn from collective consciousness, especially the compounded sorrows endured by members of diasporic communities. Most people struggled with being trapped at home during the pandemic, yearning to head back into public space, to return to some sense of normalcy. Others were also trapped, but for them, home was not home. For the displaced, the pandemic only exacerbated an existing situation, which will likely last well into the future. For the displaced—especially immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers—home is exile.
The selected works raise a number of questions: Can the experiences of these communities, for whom the pandemic is yet another tragedy, be accounted for, and perhaps centred? Can the eagerly anticipated post-pandemic moment be taken as an opportunity to ponder how loneliness is itself an epidemic that has taken over the world, and to remember those who were already isolated, and who continue to silently bear the agonies of displacement, privately grappling with feelings of not belonging? How is the construct of “home” imagined, especially by those whose relationship to ancestral homelands has been violently severed? Why does home remain such an elusive place for the exiled?
Exploring how artists employ video, a time-based medium, to convey the durational longing to belong, the exhibition contemplates the very basic notion of home, of being home—taken for granted by some, desired by most, yet unattainable by many. It tells an incomplete and ever-evolving story about the woes of displacement, from isolation to disillusionment, from outrage to helplessness, and from recollections to imagination. It equally underlines the agency of those who go through the experience of losing a home, and the vital role that artists play in shedding light on the paradoxical logics of statehood, borders, and militarization, which produce the conditions of displacement and exile in the first place.
These artists’ powerful works counter the marginalization of displaced communities while unveiling the perils of alienation, of never belonging. Their works suggest that a disaster might not only be a major catastrophic event like a pandemic—but it might manifest itself in our collective apathy and oblivion to the suffering of those who live in our midst.
Mona Hatoum was born to a Palestinian family in Beirut, Lebanon, and has lived in London since 1975. She works in a great variety of media including photography, video, sculpture, and installations, producing surreal and poetic commentaries on the politics of the body, culture, and displacement.
Akram Zaatari was born in Saida, Lebanon, and currently lives in Beirut. His work, in video and photographic installations, reflects on the shifting nature of borders and the production and circulation of images in the context of political divisions in the contemporary Middle East.
Nahed Mansour is a Toronto-based video and installation artist and curator whose works explore themes of entertainment, race, and power. She currently serves as Curator of Programs and Education at the Gardiner Museum.
Atefeh Khademolreza was born in Iran, and currently lives in Toronto. She worked as a freelance director and writer in television and various independent filmmaking organizations. Inspired by experimental and poetic cinematic traditions, her work explores disorientation and alienation.
Parastoo Anoushahpour and Faraz Anoushahpour are Iranian siblings based in Toronto with backgrounds in Theatre and Architecture, working predominantly in video and installation. Since 2013 they have been working in collaboration with Ryan Ferko. Their shared practice explores the tension of multiple subjectivities as a strategy to address the power inherent in narrative structures.
Rehab Nazzal is a Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Toronto, Canada. Her work deals with the effects of settler colonial violence on peoples, on land, and on other non-human life in colonized territories.
Walid Ra’ad grew up in Lebanon, and currently lives in New York, where he teaches at the Cooper Union School of Art. He works across text, photography, video, performance, and