EXHIBITION: Garden of Broken Shadows

June 24, 2023 - August 5, 2023

Critical Distance is pleased to present Garden of Broken Shadows, curated by Fatma Hendawy Yehia, featuring works by Lamis Haggag, Katherine Melançon, Ahmed Naji, Anahita Norouzi, and El Rass. In a transglobal world, race and class are the basis of any immigration system. The fascination with building a new life elsewhere — thinking about immigration as an investment in the future — has become a condition of our times. While immigration can be perceived as a global commodity, used to improve people’s social status and well-being, the stories and histories held by migrant bodies are often tokenized through a western gaze. This exhibition is inspired by the personal experiences and stories that emerge from the condition of migration. 

The artists in Garden of Broken Shadows define their relationship with their native land and the process of migration that some of them went through, seeking refuge or a better living as immigrants. Through the use of organic material, text, sound, and technology, these artists manifest the ways in which one could survive and adapt within new environments. The exhibition interweaves these practices, producing a temporal space in which visitors can experience the possibilities of being both here and there — in both Canada and the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) — simultaneously. 

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PUBLIC ART: Billboard on Shaw by Nadya Kwandibens

April 21, 2023 - August 3, 2023

Billboard on Shaw co-presented by Native Women in the Arts and Critical Distance  in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and Partners in Art, featuring Shiibaashka’igan: Honouring the Sacred Jingle Dress by Nadya Kwandibens.

This outdoor component of the exhibition Materialized presents an image by newly-appointed Toronto Photo Laureate Nadya Kwandibens. Photographed at the Naotkamegwanning roundhouse, the portrait depicts three Anishinaabekwewag sharing a candid moment of laughter, subverting the “stoic Indian” trope that characterizes historical portraits by non-Indigenous photographers. It is said that laughter is medicine—this image brings together that energy with the healing power of the jingle dress.


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A photograph depicts a young boy sitting on the front steps of a house, with a landscape of an open field and trees shown in the far distance on the right-side. On the right and left side of the boy, two seated figures have been cut out of the photograph in a round, oblong shape, leaving an empty, white space. The edges of both cut-out shapes has been stitched with small, gold beads.

EXHIBITION: Materialized

April 21, 2023 - June 3, 2023

Featuring works by Joi T. Arcand, Celeste Pedri-Spade and Catherine Blackburn, with a public art billboard by Nadya Kwandibens
Curated by Ariel Smith

Core Exhibition at the 2022 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Opening reception
Friday, April 21, 6 to 8 pm
Artist Panel
April 22 from 1 to 3pm at Urbanspace Gallery

Native Women in the Arts and Critical Distance Centre for Curators are pleased to present Materialized in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and Partners in Art.

Combining portrait photography with elements from adornment arts, textiles, sculpture, and customary Indigenous art practices, Materialized examines themes of intergenerational memory, familial narrative, and decolonization. By using their craft to reclaim portraiture as a form of self-expression and self-determination, each artist resists the colonial metanarratives contained in settler-made images of Indigenous subjects.

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PUBLIC ART: Billboard on Shaw by Jake Kimble

March 16, 2023 - April 16, 2023

Billboard on Shaw presented by Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and Critical Distance, featuring Grow Up #4 by Jake Kimble.

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PUBLIC ART: Billboard on Shaw by Morgan Melenka and Megan Gnanasihamany

October 6, 2022 - November 26, 2022

Billboard on Shaw presented by Critical Distance, featuring Burtynsky Suite by Morgan Melenka and Megan Gnanasihamany, 2022.

Burtynsky Suite is composed of four reproductions of Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Calagrande #2 by the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. The reproductions range in degrees of abstraction, but each, unlike the seemingly cool distance of the original photograph, contain the rough edges of the process of translation and the clear marks of a subjective artistic rendering.

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