EXHIBITION: Billboard on Shaw by Quratulain Butt

January 25, 2018 - March 25, 2018

In partnership with South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Critical Distance is pleased to present the Winter 2018 Billboard on Shaw, featuring work by Quratulain Butt curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour as part of the exhibition We Look At Animals Because.

Growing up with roosters as pets, this motif appears frequently in Butt’s paintings. Originally created using delicate watercolor strokes in the Gadrang (opaque) miniature painting technique, the artist presents figures of brawling roosters as stand-ins for human conflict. Butt also draws, perhaps comically, on the pressures of conformity that come with family and tradition. For this exhibition, an enlarged and digitized version of the original Ego painting was commissioned from the artist for the eight-foot square billboard structure.

In addition to this work by Quratulain ButtWe Look At Animals Because features photographs, works on paper, sculpture, and videos by Khaled Hourani, Maha Maamoun, Huma Mulji, Ed Panar, Alex Sheriff, and Andrea Luka Zimmerman, on view in the CDCC gallery (Suite 302 on the 3rd floor of Artscape Youngplace) and other locations within the building through March 25, 2018.


Exhibition on view at Critical Distance:
180 Shaw Street, Suite 302 at Artscape Youngplace, M6J 2W5
Admission is always free; building and gallery are fully accessible. 

New gallery hours:
Thursday–Sunday from 12–5 pm

Also on view beyond the gallery:
Hallway Video by Smriti Mehra (stay tuned for more information on screenings)

Join us for an opening reception with the curators:
Thursday, January 25th from 6–9 pm
Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.


About the Curators

Nahed Mansour is a Toronto-based curator and multidisciplinary artist working primarily in video, installation, and performance, She is currently the Constituent Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada. Previously she held the position of Artistic Director at SAVAC, as well as Director of Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, Toronto.

Toleen Touq is a curator and writer who has recently moved to Toronto from Amman, Jordan. She is co-founder of annual residency Spring Sessions, a program that brings together artists, scholars and cultural practitioners in a collaborative and experiential learning environment for 100 days each spring. She also initiated The River Has Two Banks, a multidisciplinary platform that addresses the historical, political and mobility commonalities between Jordan and Palestine. Her writings have been published with Ibraaz, A Prior, Manifesta Journal, and others.

About the Artist

Quratulain Butt was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and trained as a miniature painter and sculptor at the National College of the Arts in Lahore, and the Hunerkada Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Islamabad. Quratulain’s work shares concerns with social hierarchy, war conflict, hypocrisy and hope. Since 2013 she has been based in Canada.


Critical Distance and South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) are grateful for the support of the Toronto Arts Council in making this exhibition possible.

image: Quratulain Butt, Ego, 2018, on view at 180 Shaw Street in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood through March, 25, 2018.