Sensing, Feeling, Being
July 23rd-August 15th 2021
Co-presented with Whippersnapper Gallery
Exhibition viewable online at www.gloryholegallery.com and in-person by appointment at Whippersnapper Gallery.
*Please email email@example.com to arrange an in-person gallery appointment beginning July 23rd.
Sensing, Feeling, Being is an exhibition that features sound, multi-media, and installation works by Jessica Karuhanga, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, and Yara El Safi. Each artist employs various sensorial strategies through the use of food, song, video, and sound to demand the attention of the viewer and detail experiences of neurodiversity, nostalgia, joy, demands of labor, and language reclamation of women, femme, gender non-conforming, and queer people.
Forthcoming Curatorial Essay by Karina Iskandarsjah.
Skies Are Not Just Blue
Yara El Safi
Skies Are Not Just Blue, Mazze
Mazze is three soft sculptures made out of dry goods and pantyhose mixed with real pita and spices. These sculptures were a part of the Salt and Bread Solo show at The Factory in Hamilton Ontario. These sculptures highlight the feminine energy often overlooked in the ritual of making food. This sculpture is meant to tantalize the viewer with the smell of food while also being inedible. The video portion of this piece is a combination of scenes from my documentary Skies are Not Just Blue, addressing the queer Muslim experience.
Moxa Willngan Tastes Really Good
Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Moxa Willngan Tastes Really Good
I employ porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Reflecting on an indigenous feminist body with a neurodiverse mind I create art using composite media, primarily working in performance, textiles, video.
I look for knowledge embedded in materials and techniques. Embodiment and visual art allow a reprieve from the colonialism and ableism of English. My interest in communication comes from my lack of access to my indigenous languages (Potawatomi and Lenape) and as a person living with a learning disability caused by issues with short-term memory. This perspective of language and communication is fractured and politicized. Honoring that my body and mind are not separate I address the socio-political representations and implications of menstruation, reproduction and the
ALL OF ME
ALL OF ME features the voices of seven black women and gender-non-conforming folk I admire. I asked them to speak to longing, nostalgia and time-travel. The mix is made of layers of choir samples and trap beats and riffs off my favourite lamentation by lady day. This mix riffs off of Angela Davis' assertion that Black feminism is rooted in the blues.
Featuring: Maandeeq Mohamed, Angela Tumuhairwe, Ahlam Hassan, Kiera Boult, Kimberley Wint, Brenda Bemugisa, melannie monoceros, and Gloria C. Swain.
About the Artists:
Jessica Karuhanga is a first-generation Canadian artist of British-Ugandan heritage whose work addresses issues of cultural politics of identity and Black diasporic concerns through lens-based technologies, writing, drawing and performances. Through her practice she explores individual and collective concerns of Black subjectivity: illness, rage, grief, desire and longing within the context of Black embodiment.
She is the 2020 - 2021 recipient of Concordia University's SpokenWeb Artist/Curator In Residence Fellowship. Karuhanga has presented her work at SummerWorks Lab (Toronto, 2020), The Bentway (Toronto, 2019), Nuit Blanche (Toronto, 2018), Onsite Gallery (Toronto, 2018) and Goldsmiths University (London, UK, 2017). Currently, she is developing new works for forthcoming exhibitions at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, TANGLED Disability + Art, Museum London and Gallery TPW. Karuhanga's writing has been published by C Magazine, BlackFlash, Susan Hobbs Gallery and Fonderie Darling.
She has been featured in AGO's Artist Spotlight, i-D, DAZED, Visual Aids, Border Crossings, Exclaim!, Toronto Star, CBC Arts, esse, filthy dreams, Globe and Mail and Canadian Art. She earned her BFA from Western University and MFA from University of Victoria. She lives and works in Toronto, Canada where she is part-time lecturer at Ryerson University.
Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. Her family is from Eelūnaapèewii Lahkèewiitt (displaced from Lenapehoking) and European settlers. She Employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood reveals the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Reflecting on an indigenous and gendered body with a neurodiverse mind Dion Fletcher creates art using composite media, primarily working in performance, textiles, video.
She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance and York University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art. Vanessa is a 2020-2021 Jackman Humanities Institute fellow at the University of Toronto.
Yara El Safi
Yara El Safi is a Queer, Lebanese, Muslim, and neurodivergent visual artist and Performer. Raised in Tripoli, Lebanon, El Safi immigrated with her family to Windsor, Ontario in 2002 in search of a better education and economic standing. El Safi completed her BFA Honours Specialization in Studio Art and minor in Women’s Studies at Western University in 2016. Currently based in Hamilton, Ontario, her BFA aided with the establishment of her artistic discipline in formal studio practice, while her background in Women’s Studies informed her foundation to understand herself within a Canadian context and the intersections of identity in her ongoing practice.
Yara El Safi’s paintings and illustrations are focused on imagined Queer, Muslim ancestory and stories that take place in different imagined realities. These narratives appear as complex illustrations and poetry influenced by her neurodivergent perspective.
El Safi attempts to narrate these realities by creating layered ink and acrylic painting influenced by the architecture and the people of her homeland; Lebanon. El Safi uses specific Arab and Muslim iconography, such as Fatima’s Hand, imagined Queer, Muslim ancestors, along with Arabic and English phrases allowing for multiple interpretations of the work. El Safi's paintings and illustrations focus on small communities of people painted like families migrating together. El Safi's work attempts to relate to feelings of displacement, immigration, and the preservation of traditions. All these elements intertwine to discuss cultural preservation as the means to understanding the Queer Muslim experience.
El Safi self published a book of illustrations and poetry in 2018 called “Masha’allah ya Habibiti”. This book explored the queer Muslim experience during periods of mania and recovery. The book illustrates the changes in her reality during those periods, evident in the change in mark making, and in the tone of her poetry. Currently, El Safi is creating a graphic novel in her studio practice focusing on the narratives of imagined Queer Muslim ancestors. This ongoing project will feature a narrative, poetry, characters, illustrations, and paintings.
El Safi was starred in Skies Are Not Just Blue Documentary that examines her life experiences along with Monib, Tariq and A. claim their identities as Muslims from diverse milieux by negotiating a space in the LGBTQ+ community and reflecting on their personal beliefs and experiences. This documentary took place in Toronto and Montreal in 2018 and has been shown in theaters and film festivals all over the world. This movie was a beautiful collaborations of examining the meaning of being queer and Muslim and spreading the personal knowledge and experiences of all the character’s involved.