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ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
“…the archive represents the end of a certain kind of creative innocence, and the beginning of a new stage of self-consciousness, of self-reflexivity in an artistic movement.” Stuart Hall
Stuart Hall’s quote underscores the significance of situating this exhibition as a moment of self-reflection on the contributions of Latin American diaspora media artists to Canadian media art histories. The contested terrain of both the terms “archive” and “diaspora” requires deeper consideration since this exhibition asks what is the meaning behind making these two terms form a dialogue with one another. Diaspora Dialogues: Archiving the Familiar features contemporary artworks by Cecilia Araneda, Rosalina Libertad Cerritos, Amanda Gutiérrez, Soledad Fátima Muñoz, and Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda. All from the Latin American diaspora, these artists apply a variety of critical and aesthetic approaches to archiving. In addition, the exhibition is in dialogue with a virtual screening of video art by women artists from the 70s and 80s hosted on VIVO Media Arts Centre website entitled Women& Art: Political Praxes of Memory. This dialogue that has been established between Latin American video artist pioneers from Brazil and Chile foregrounds the diaspora’s relationship with “original” culture, “copy”, and“archive”.
The syncretic nature of diaspora peoples and cultures, the doubling of places, the passages and slippages between past and present, here and there, mother tongues and adopted tongues, all foreground the fluidity and porousness of diaspora identities and ways of being as dialogic. This exhibition engages with (dis)articulations of the archive as syncretic through formal and conceptual experimentations of master codes and narratives. Diaspora archives interrupt racist nationalism and border enforcement ideologies by making visible histories of violence and interventionism in the Global Southall of which have created the conditions for being in diaspora in the settler-nation-state, on stolen Indigenous lands, known as Canada.
Diaspora Dialogues opens an inquiry into how archival memory can articulate diaspora histories, experiences, and knowledge. How does looking at these artworks that engage the archive produce a contemporary historical experience? What new possibilities does this exhibition open up as we engage with intergenerational Latin American and diaspora media histories and futures? The archive as a negotiable terrain linked to the collective imaginary calls into question the absences, gaps, and silences of an archive that is mediated by hierarchies and power structures. Colonization, patriarchy, white supremacy, racial capitalism have all shaped historical narratives, collective memory, and how we access and interpret information. In the field of media art, archival safeguarding and archeology continue to pose very practical problems of how to ensure the legacy of artworks that use digital and analogue machines, computer languages, pixels, binary digits, and the numeric codes used to mediate diasporic stories.
The initial impulse for this exhibition is the result of a documentary film project which dialogues with Latin American media art archives through an intergenerational and feminist perspective. This exhibition intends to follow its lead and establish an ongoing dialogue with Latin American diaspora women, working within the Canadian settler-nation-state, using archives as a strategy of inquiry and resistance. Through dialogic meaning-making processes, these artworks highlight how our social, and political situatedness in the world intersects with memory and power. The artworks in DiasporaDialogues make visible the living political memory of the diaspora through diverse media art languages, manifesting affective approaches to the archive as a site of interpretation, contestation, and negotiation. Here, the archive is personal, familiar, familial, political, gendered, fragmented, embodied, and living.
Diaspora Dialogues: Archiving the Familiar ultimately produces a curatorial archive that aims to generate further dialogue on the significant contributions, knowledge production, and archival safeguarding of diaspora communities within and despite the nation state. It is important to highlight how border regimes have been catalysts for the conditions of migration and diaspora within Canada. The hemispheric dialogues between North and South speak to ongoing violent histories of Indigenous genocide, dispossession, occupation, and oppressive forms of government. Diaspora histories are thus tied to the violence of borders with its walls and wars. The exhibition thus creates dialogic mediations between the artists, their communities, and their histories, disrupting neoliberal national discourses of multiculturalism. The archive is gendered, racialized, and political; these artists are agents telling and safeguarding their own diasporic histories through the language of media art.
Co-curated by Sarah Shamash and Tamara Toledo
Financially supported by the Toronto Friends of the VisualArts.
Sur Gallery Exhibition: 39 Queens Quay East, Suite 100
Gallery Hours (during exhibition):
Wednesday - Friday noon-6:00PM
Sat 11 AM-5 PM