b.h. Yael is a Toronto based filmmaker, video and installation artist. She is Professor of Integrated Media at the Ontario College of Art and Design and past Assistant Dean and past Chair of Integrated Media in the Faculty of Art.
Yael is the recent recipient of a Chalmers Fellowship Award and a Toronto Arts Council grant to media artists. Her most recent work, Trading the Future recently won the ‘Audience Award’ at the Ecofilms 2009 festival in Rhodes, Greece, and has also received the ‘Best Humanitarian Observation – Media Matters’ award at the Rivers Edge International Film Festival in Kentucky, USA.
Yael’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally and has shown in various settings, from festivals to galleries to various educational venues. Her work has been purchased by several universities. Yael’s past film and video work has dealt with issues of identity, authority and family structures, while at the same time addressing the fragmentary nature of memory and belonging. More recent work focuses on activist initiatives, political fear, apocalypse and gender. The work most often involves non-linear and hybrid forms, including dramatized and fictional elements combined with first person narration, autobiographical and documentary perspectives.
Fresh Blood, A Consideration of Belonging focused on the many intersections of identity, including its racialized aspects within Jewish culture, and centred around a ‘return’ journey to Israel and to her mother’s Iraqi culture. A follow up piece, In the Middle of the Street, is a documentation of peace actions in Israel/Palestine. Palestine Trilogy, three videos that focus on activist initiatives, addresses the politics of Palestine and Israel through varying approaches: Deir Yassin Remembered considers the pivotal repercussions of the massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948 resulting in Palestinian dispossession; Even in the Desert focuses on several sites of solidarity in the West Bank; and a hot sandfilled wind, a trilingual poetic piece, visually acknowledges that mutual recognition is the only basis for hope.
b.h. Yael has produced work as part of various artist projects: (of)fences, in response to the Quebec Summit of the Americas is part of blahblahblah (Re)viewing Quebec; Triskaidekaphobia, commissioned by Inside/Out, focuses on conversations with her adolescent son, about phobias, theories of sexuality, and mothers; and pacts, produced for The Olive Project by the Hardpressed Collective, is a short web based piece pointing to the failure of peace negotiations.
Past installation works such as Home Rule and Bomb Shelters have exhibited with the Spontaneous Combustion Collective; Offering, a video projection focusing on contemporary fear, was exhibited at the Koffler Gallery as part of DIG/DUG, this installation expanded into the fear series, as part of Images Festival’s Contained Mobility show at Harbourfront’s York Quay Gallery and is an ongoing project.
In collaboration with Johanna Householder, Yael has produced four Approximations, a series of short works examining filmic representations of gender. The Mission, a comedic piece which calls into question the gendering of redemption, is a shot for shot recreation of the opening scene of Francis Coppola’s 1979 landmark, Apocalypse Now. December 31, 2000, based on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, is an ironic and humourous reversal of domesticity and of a gendered apocalypse, pointing to the failure of the future. The latest piece, VERBATIM, recreates the opening scene of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, with shot-for-shot faithfulness.
Yael has served on the boards of artist run centres and on several arts council and festival juries.