The exhibition Land - LIMINALITY - Loss, curated by Assistant Professor Pam Patterson (Faculty of Art) and featuring work by undergraduate student Angie Ma (Faculty of Art), Pam Patterson, graduate student Vicky Talwar and OCAD staff member Leila Talei (Officer, Research Projects, Office of Research & Innovation), is part of an investigation into the intersection of land and loss with historical/cultural disruption and change.
As long as they live in the duality in which to be is to be like, and to be like is to be like the oppressor, this contribution is impossible.
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1992, p 33
Jackson 2Bears (in Spicanovic, 2018, p. 160) writes “that history is something ‘written on the land’… From this perspective … [how might we endeavor to explore] how narratives are inextricably interconnected with ‘place’…”
How though, somewhat antithetic to this, might narratives, histories and stories explicate ‘land’ displacement? How might we explore the political and cultural implications of these histories and stories, both personal and collective, around this intersection of land with historical and cultural disruption and change?
Troubled by this complex relationship of land and loss Ma, Patterson, Talwar and Talei, as settler/immigrants, in exhibition and conversation, occupy a problematic liminal space, a space adrift where the threat of homelessness looms.
Questions Camille Nelson (2004):
Does anyone really have such a habitat anymore?... One’s identity is attached to one’s knowledge, body and sense of home. If one is without a home, one’s identity is compromised either one is identity-less, or one is multiply constructed across time, space and location. The situation is compounded when one’s dislocation is forced or less than fully free… Identity[’s] temporal component… resonates over time, making historical legacy tangible and relevant today. The ancestral self and contemporary self can collide when the realities of one’s present situation forces the submergence or repression of… cherished identities.
Often this historical and contemporary crisis is as a result of an inherited colonial legacy. The construction is about power. Many who were able to flee and/or were lured to Canada bear the trappings of the rewards they reaped from this place to which they migrated. But didn’t the acquisition of privilege and power have something to do with why they/we left in the first place? (194).
How might we explore the political and cultural implications of histories and stories, both personal and collective, around the intersection of land and cultural disruption and change?
At a moment when OCAD University is embracing a holistic Indigenous curriculum, such conversations are key to examining complex and often troubling relationships. This multi-media exhibit invites the community to explore their own histories and stories within this context in exhibition, conversation and workshop. Land - LIMINALITY - Loss is on display at OCAD University's Graduate Gallery from September 3, 2019 to September 6, 2019.
- Patterson, Pam. Irish need not Apply. 2019. Mixed media prints.
- Talwar, Vicky. A Journey Awaits. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
- Talei, Leila. The Meticulous Documentation of a Personal Loss. 2019. Collage.
- Ma, Angie. Elsewhere: Moments of Home. 2019. Watercolour, Chinese ink, rice paper and botanical hand dye on silk.
- Freire, Paulo (1992). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company
- Nelson, Camille A. (2004). Adrift in the Diaspora. In Camille A. Nelson & Charmaine A. Nelson (Eds.) Racism Eh? A Critical interdisciplinary anthology of race and racism in Canada. Concord, ON: Captus Press. pp 175 205.
- Spicanovic, Vladimir (2018). Pedagogies of the land. In Doug Wallace & Véronique Leblanc (Eds.) Landmarks2017: Art + places + perspectives. Toronto: The Magenta Foundation/Partners in Art. PP. 159 – 161.
We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.
Exhibition photographs by Miklos Legrady