Archive:WE LOOK AT ANIMALS BECAUSEJanuary 25–March 25, 2018

WE LOOK AT ANIMALS BECAUSE

January 25–March 25, 2018

Featuring Quratulain Butt, Khaled Hourani, Maha Maamoun, Smriti Mehra, Huma Mulji, Ed Panar, Alex Sheriff, and Andrea Luka Zimmerman | Curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour

In partnership with South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Critical Distance is pleased to present We Look At Animals Because, an exhibition that gazes on animality. Through the lens of spectatorship, the show explores the shifting ways in which animals are regarded, represented and accorded meaning in post-industrial landscapes. Exhibiting photographs, video, works on paper, and sculpture, the featured artists reveal the nuanced, complicated and unexpected paradoxes that mark our relationships with cosmopolitan animals.


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:
Billboard on Shaw Street by Quratulain Butt and
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.

A complementary series of public learning events to be held at both Youngplace and at SAVAC’s location at 401 Richmond will be announced soon.


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 Artists

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. She is now based in Canada.

Khaled Hourani is based in Ramallah, Palestine, and has exhibited widely including a retrospective at the CCA in Glasgow and Gallery One in Ramallah, dOCUMENTA (13), and the 2011 Sharjah Biennial. He is a co-founder of the International Academy of Art in Palestine and recently received the Leonore Annenberg Prize by Creative Time for Art and Social Change, New York.

Maha Maamoun is a Cairo-based Egyptian artist. Her work has been shown in exhibitions and biennials including The Time is Out of Joint at Sharjah Art Foundation; Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum (NY); Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear at Tate Modern; and Mapping Subjectivity at the Museum of Modern Art, NY (MoMA). She is a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), an independent non-profit space for art and culture founded in Cairo, and a co-founder of the independent publishing platform Kayfa-ta.

Smriti Mehra is based in Bangalore, India and works primarily in video, through which she interacts with local residents from multilingual, cultural, economic backgrounds. She holds an MFA from NSCAD University (Halifax) and her works have been screened worldwide.

Huma Mulji holds an MFA from Transart Institute, Berlin, and a BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi. She has exhibited widely including at the Karachi, Venice and Gwangju Biennials, Whitechapel Gallery (London), and Asia Society (NY). She is currently a Lecturer in Fine Art, at Plymouth College of Art, UK.

Ed Panar is based in Pittsburgh (PA) and holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI). His photographs and books have been exhibited internationally at venues including The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Nofound Photofair, Paris; The New York Photography Festival, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Alex Sheriff is a Canadian artist and filmmaker. He received his BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCADU before moving to New York where he received his MFA in Fine Arts. He now lives in Los Angeles and works in painting, drawing, sculpture and film.

Andrea Luka Zimmerman is an artist, cultural activist and filmmaker. She is the first director to be shortlisted for both the Grierson and Jarman Awards, and in 2017 Zimmerman received the Artangel Open Award for her feature drama Cycle, produced in collaboration with Adrian Jackson. Currently she teaches at Central St. Martins in London, where she also studied for her PhD.


About South Asian Visual Arts Centre

SAVAC is a non-profit, artist-run centre in Canada dedicated to increasing the visibility of culturally diverse artists by curating and exhibiting their work, providing mentorship, facilitating professional development and creating a community for our artists. SAVAC was founded to be an organization staffed by people of colour, committed to support the work of artists of colour.


South Asian Visual Arts Centre | 450-401 Richmond St. W | Toronto, Ontario | M5V3A8 | Canada
www.savac.net / 416-542-1661 / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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


image: Huma Mulji, Lakhon Main Aik (one in a million), 2008, courtesy of the artist.

Events

Please join us for the following exhibiton-related events. Click below for more info.

Artist Talk: Maha Maamoun : Sun, Mar 4, 2018 | 5-6 PM

Critical Distance and South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) are pleased to bring Cairo-based artist Maha Maamoun to Toronto for an artist talk as part of SAVAC’s Views on the 4th, a series that invites racialized artists, curators and arts administrators to share their views on the politics behind their research and practice. The talk is also part of “We Look At Animals Because” exhibition currently on view at Critical Distance until March 25th.

Maha will present a broad view of her work, primarily based in video and photography, and unpack her interest in the circulation and function of images in vernacular culture, reframing these as tools for critical insights and analysis.

Maha Maamoun has exhibited her work internationally in biennials and exhibitions at such venues as the Sharjah Art Foundation, New Museum, Berlinale 64, Tate Modern, 9th Gwangju Biennale, Witte de With, MoMA NY, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Haus der Kunst. She is a co-founder of the independent publishing platform Kayfa-ta and a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), an independent non-profit space for art and culture in Cairo.


Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 5PM
The Commons – Suite 440, 401 Richmond

Admission to this event is free. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. Building is fully accessible.

Maha Maamoun will also lead a multi-day workshop co-presented by Critical Distance, South Asian Visual Arts Centre, and Gallery 44 at the 401 Richmond building; details to be announced soon.

2-day Workshop w/Maha Maamoun: And What Did the Animal Say? : Sat + Sun, March 3-4, 2018

In partnership with South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) and Gallery 44, we are thrilled to bring Cairo-based artist Maha Maamoun to Toronto for a free 2-day intensive workshop culminating in an artist talk as part of SAVAC’s Views on the 4th in conjunction with We Look At Animals Because.

In Mathieu Kassovitz’s film La Haine, Vinz and Sayid walk through the clashes between police and residents in their suburb, and Vinz becomes sure he has seen a cow crossing the street. It is not clear if he is the only one who saw it, if it’s even real, a symbol of the collapse of the urban order, or possibly an omen of his imminent death.

Why look at animals? Do we use animals as symbols or proxies for other subjects? Is our interest in them driven by a desire to reach beyond the confines of our bodies, subjectivities, knowledge and practice? How are these interests or desires finally translated in our work? In this workshop, animals will be our starting point to explore the personal, the cultural and the political. By engaging with the work of a selection of contemporary writers, artists, film-makers and others who use or reflect on the use of animals in their work, this discussion-based workshop aims to explore different modes and languages of observation and how they are translated into images and texts.

This is a rare opportunity to participate in a small group setting with international artist Maha Maamoun. Workshop is FREE but space is limited. If interested, please email toleen@savac.net with a 150-word personal statement of intent and a link to view examples of your work. Workshop participants will receive a confirmation and detailed program information by the end of the week, and will be asked to bring an example of recent animal-related news items. Workshop location will be at The Commons on the 4th floor of the 401 Richmond building.

Maha Maamoun has exhibited her work internationally in biennials and exhibitions at such venues as the Sharjah Art Foundation, New Museum, Berlinale 64, Tate Modern, 9th Gwangju Biennale, Witte de With, MoMA NY, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Haus der Kunst. She is a co-founder of the independent publishing platform Kayfa-ta and a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), an independent non-profit space for art and culture in Cairo.

Film Screening: Taskafa, Stories of the Street : Sun, Feb 25, 2018 | 5-6:30 PM

Critical Distance and South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) invite you to a free film screening of TASKAFA: Stories of the Street, directed by UK-based artist, activist, and filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman, as part of “We Look At Animals Because.”

Structured around readings by renowned critic and essayist John Berger, TASKAFA (2013, 66 mins) offers a brilliantly incisive meditation on urban space and city life by investigating the complex history of Istanbul’s street dogs. Despite several major attempts by Istanbul’s rulers, politicians and planners over the last 400 years to erase them, the city’s street dogs have persisted thanks to an enduring alliance with civilian communities that recognize and defend their right to co-exist.

TASKAFA gathers the voices of diverse Istanbul residents, shopkeepers, and street based workers, all of whom display a striking commitment to the well-being and future of the city’s canine population. Interwoven to this narrative are readings by Berger from his novel “King,” a story of hope, dreams, love and resistance, told from the perspective of a dog belonging to a community facing disappearance, even erasure.

Andrea Luka Zimmerman is an artist, cultural activist and filmmaker. She is the first director to be shortlisted for both the Grierson and Jarman Awards, and in 2017 Zimmerman received the Artangel Open Award for her feature drama Cycle, produced in collaboration with Adrian Jackson. Currently she teaches at Central St. Martins in London, where she also studied for her PhD. www.fugitiveimages.org.uk


Sunday, February 25 at 5PM
Small World Theatre – Suite 101, Artscape Youngplace – 180 Shaw Street

Admission to both screening and gallery are free. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. Building and gallery are both fully accessible.


image: Andrea Luka Zimmerman, TASKAFA: Stories of the Street (still), 2013

Artist Talk: Alex Sheriff : Sun, Feb 11, 2018 | 5-6 PM

Critical Distance and South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) present a free artist talk with Los Angeles-based Canadian artist and filmmaker, Alex Sheriff.

Focusing on the arbitrary division between human and natural history, Sheriff will discuss contested forms of living in the Anthropocene. He will reveal his concept of “droopy history,” born of science, pseudoscience and mythology, which he uses to navigate the space of this imagined division.

Alex Sheriff received his BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCADU before moving to New York where he received his MFA in Fine Art. He now lives in Los Angeles and works in painting, drawing, sculpture and film. www.alexsheriff.com

Two works on paper from Sheriff’s recent exhibition at Praxis Gallery (NY) are included in our current exhibition, “We Look At Animals Because,” produced in partnership with SAVAC, and curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour. A selection of sculptures is on display as well. 


Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 5PM
Suite 107, Artscape Youngplace – 180 Shaw Street

Admission to both talk and gallery are free. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. Building and gallery are both fully accessible.


image: Alex Sheriff, Undiscovered Man-made Islands (detail), 2016-17

Links / Updates

News, press, publications and more information.

WE LOOK AT ANIMALS media release (PDF)

We Look at Animals Because is a Must-See Show
Canadian Art | January 25-31, 2018

Hybrid 2: Interspecies
Akimbo TV | Hosted by: Terence Dick | Season 1 Episode 10

CDCC Shop Items

Zebra Copy Card: Khaled Hourani

Animals That Saw Me: Ed Panar

Images

Hover for info; click to enlarge image and view full captions.

We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view with work by Alex Sheriff, Huma Mulji and Ed Panar, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view with work by Ed Panar, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid.
Ed Panar, Midsummer, from Animals That Saw Me series, 2014, archival digital print on Epson Premium Lustre paper, 16 x 20 inches, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by CDCC. We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view with work by Ed Panar and Alex Sheriff, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Alex Sheriff, Monkey’s Uncle, 2017, mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 inches; Learning to Fly, 2017, mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 inches, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Alex Sheriff, Undiscovered Man-Made Islands, 2016-17, gouache on clay, dimensions variable, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2017. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid.
We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view with work by Alex Sheriff, Khaled Hourani and Huma Mulji, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Huma Mulji, Lakhon Main Aik (one in a million), 2008 archival inkjet print, 28 x 40 inches; Tin Ka Raja, 2008, archival inkjet print, 29 x 45 inches. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Khaled Hourani, Zebra Copy Card, 2009/2018, digital print on matte cardstock 4 x 6 inches, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. We Look at Animals Because, 2018, curated by Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq, installation view with work by Alex Sheriff and Maha Maamoun, Critical Distance Centre for Curators. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid.
Maha Maamoun, Dear Animal, 2016, Single-channel video, 25:30 minutes, installation view, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Maha Maamoun, Dear Animal, 2016, Single-channel video, 25:30 minutes, installation view, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Huma Mulji, Single Salute, 2008, archival inkjet print, 40 x 40 inches, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Huma Mulji, Single Salute, 2008, archival inkjet print, 40 x 40 inches, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid.
Smriti Mehra, Authanakoota (Banquet), 2015, video, 14 minutes, installation view, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Smriti Mehra, Authanakoota (Banquet), 2015, video, 14 minutes, from We Look at Animals Because, Critical Distance Centre for Curators, 2018. Installation documentation by Toni Hafkenscheid. Winter 2018 Billboard on Shaw, Winter 2018 Billboard on Shaw,