March 18 – March 25
Open Space Gallery, 49 McCaul Street, Toronto
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 18, 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Gallery Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Artist Panel: TBA
The sharing of bread and salt is a traditional welcoming ceremony in many European cultures, and ubiquitous to hospitality in Slavic cultures. Similarly, in some Middle Eastern cultures, the Arabic saying "Fi Khobez wa meleh bainna", or “There is bread and salt between us”, refers to an alliance based on mutual respect and moral obligation between individuals. While bread has largely been associated with life and sustenance perhaps since the beginning of agriculture, salt has both positive and negative connotations; it is able to represent both prosperity and hardship as well as denote a difficult relationship or history. This rich metaphor can be used to frame the conversation about what it means, for many, to call nations such as Canada home, and contemporary ideas of subjecthood.
Canada is preparing for a significant milestone in 2017, the marking of 150 years since Confederation. While this event will be celebratory in nature for some, others may hold more ambiguous and conflicting feelings towards what this anniversary represents, and what national myths it perpetuates. During such celebrations, the multiculturalism and conjectural inclusivity of Canadian society are often touted globally, glossing over historical violence and ongoing struggles. The discourse around Canada’s modern national identity also alludes to the Canadian national subject; assumed to be stable and singular by some, individuals residing in Canada may now, however, identify with several conflicting, fragmented, and hyphenated subject-hoods.
Contemporary artists who challenge or don’t conform to precariously defined narratives of what it means to be Canadian - affected by globalization, colonialism, migration, and displacement - are exploring these ideas of subject-hood, multiple and conflicting identities, as well as cultural and historical entanglements, often through gestures of hospitality. New conceptions of “home” are negotiated and created: often a pastiche of memories, cultural practices, and ideas of what it means to belong.