EXHIBITION: thinking about forever

April 11, 2024 - June 15, 2024

Artist(s):Azadeh Elmizadeh, Maryam Tafakory, Shelley Niro and Anna Gronau
Curator(s): Jaclyn Quaresma

Refusal is an unwillingness to accept. In an ableist imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-hetero patriarchy,1 refusal is also a mode of being that requires consistent rehearsal in order for one to sustain themselves against the violence of these interlocking hegemonic systems. How might we conceptualize Rehearsing Refusal? As a practice of consecutive gestures of defiance?2 Or, as a stepping into the power of otherwise? Might it hold the potential to speak into being healing, provocation, generation, and liberation? Maybe rehearsing refusal, though trying or inconvenient for those on the receiving end, is an act of generosity for future generations. Perhaps it is the process of building a discipline of hope.3

This hopeful, generative, and ongoing refusal is an essential element in the work of Shelley Niro and Anna Gronau, Maryam Tafakory and Azadeh Elmizadeh presented in this exhibition. Each artwork gathered in this exhibition distorts linear timelines, converging what came before with the present moment, making way for possible, enmeshed futures.

thinking about forever4 is presented by Images Festival in partnership with Critical Distance Centre for Curators. We would like to extend a special thank you to Charles Street Video and TPW for their support in loaning technical and exhibition materials.

1 bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (New York: Washington Square Press, 2005). See also: bell hooks, “bell hooks and Laverne Cox in a Public Dialogue at The New School,” The New School. October 13, 2014, video,1:36:08. https://youtu.be/9oMmZIJijgY?si=w_JIckIelvsXwnn5.
bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1989).
Mariame Kaba, We Do This Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice (Chicago, USA: Haymarket Books, 2021). In an interview with Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstien, Mariame mentions hearing the phrase “discipline of hope” in conversation with a nun, who is unnamed in the book.
4 Frank Ocean. “Thinking Bout You.” Youtube.com. 3:20. 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JHu3b-pbh8.


Thank you to our partners and funders


About Images Festival

Images Festival is an artist driven festival that expands traditional definitions and understandings of media art by experimenting with a multiplicity of artistic forms. Images presents, promotes and pushes the boundaries of contemporary moving image culture. See https://imagesfestival.com for more information.

Image: Maryam Tafakory, Nazarbari, 2022. Video Still. Courtesy of the artist.