EXHIBITION: An Archive, But Not An Atlas

April 27, 2019 - June 2, 2019

Alex Jacobs-Blum, Curtiss Randolph, Camille Rojas, Eve Tagny
Curated by Liz Ikiriko

April 27–June 2, 2019

Opening Reception and Curator’s Tour with Liz Ikiriko
Saturday, April 27th, 1–3pm


“An archive, but not an atlas: the point here is not to take the world upon one’s shoulders, but to crouch down to the earth, and dig.”

— Allan Sekula

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a group exhibition that explores personal and social histories as they are unearthed through movement, gesture, language, and land. Four emerging artists address unconscious memory as it is embodied across generations and geographies. Through photography, performance, and film, the artists’ knowledge is rooted in observing subtleties expressed in familial, domestic, or cultural locations.

For many marginalized people the denial of dominant culture to acknowledge inherent, embodied knowledge, acts as a form of erasure. The trauma experienced by the denial of intrinsic relationships to self and land becomes a silencing force, muting creative production. Art critic/historian Hal Foster writes of the incompleteness of the archive as a bridge between the found and the constructed, the factual and the fictional, the public and private. To accept this amorphous state is to accept multiple ways of knowing one’s past, present, and future. An Archive, But Not An Atlas makes space for these four artists to cultivate power and presence through body and land as they converse with history.

An Archive, But Not An Atlas is a Featured Exhibition of the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and is presented in dialogue with Developing Historical Negatives, curated by Gabrielle Moser for Gallery 44. These thematically linked exhibitions investigate how artists engage the archive to question experiences of belonging, displacement, and situatedness in the Canadian landscape. Mining both personal and institutional narratives, the projects activate overlooked and marginalized histories, drawing attention to their ongoing resonance in the present.


Contact Photography Festival and the Toronto Arts Council

Critical Distance is pleased to present An Archive, But Not An Atlas as a Featured Exhibition of the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the largest annual photography festival globally, with over 200 exhibitions and events from May 1-31 in greater Toronto.For more information on this exhibition and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, visit their website. We are also grateful for the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council in making this exhibition possible.

About the Curator(s)

Liz Ikiriko

Liz Ikiriko is a Tkaronto/Toronto-based, Nigerian Canadian artist and curator. Her role as an educator, maker, and mother informs her practice, which focuses on African and diasporic narratives. Ikiriko holds an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University (2019). Her writing is published in Aperture, Public Journal, MICE Magazine, C Magazine, Blackflash, and Akimbo. She currently is the co-curator of Bamako Encounters 2021 Photography Biennale in Mali, West Africa and is the Curator of Collections and Contemporary Engagement at the Art Gallery of York University.

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About the Artists

Alex Jacobs-Blum

Alex Jacobs-Blum is a band member of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory of the Lower Cayuga Nation and Euro-Canadian. She dissects what it means to live in-between two worlds. With a focus on Indigenous-settler reconciliatory relations, she employs ironic storytelling as an act of survivance to deal with the conflicts of assimilation and cultural dominance.

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Curtiss Randolph

Curtiss Randolph (Toronto) is a multidisciplinary artist working in film, performance and photography. Having grown up in theatre environments, the elements of stage production are influential to his practice. Randolph uses traditional analogue and digital photography to experiment with non-linear forms of personal storytelling.

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Camille Rojas

Camille Rojas (Toronto) is a multidisciplinary artist working with film, photography and dance. Shifting her position between camera operator and subject, she documents dancing bodies as a form of deconstructing the emotional fungibility of public and domestic spaces.

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Eve Tagny

Eve Tagny (Montreal) is a multidisciplinary artist working with photography, video, writing and environmentally focused installation. Her practice is focused on mending traumatic disruptions through nature. Her work has been shown in Canada and abroad. Her photo book Lost Love, was the recipient of an Honourable Mention from the BurtynskyFind out more