Curating contemporary art involves engaging in multiple relationships.
With the artists, of course, whose collaboration and trust are essential
With their practice, their artistic vision, their singularities and their references
With their works
Often, an encounter with the work precedes the meeting with the artist
The work serves as the link
Curating an exhibition entails engaging works in a dialogue
Thoughts and humans
It's about forging connections with a broader context, with other works
For example, with Joséphine Bacon’s magnificent poetry collection Uiesh – Quelque part, from which the exhibition takes its title
And with an archipelago of sources and ideas, some of which I have gathered here.
I offer my deepest gratitude to artists faye mullen, Mona Sharma, Anna Binta Diallo and Leila Zelli, with whom I had numerous enjoyable and extremely inspiring exchanges, by email, via Zoom or two metres apart in a park.
Ariane De Blois holds a PhD in Art History from McGill University and has been working as an author, researcher and curator in the contemporary art scene for the past fifteen years. The artistic director at Plein sud, centre d’exposition en art actuel (Longueuil), she was on esse arts + opinions magazine’s editorial board from 2014 to 2018. Her various curatorial projects were shown at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Havana Biennial, Stadtgalerie in Bern and the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City.
Through a 2Spirit mixed indigenous (Anishinaabe / Algonquin / Irish / Italian) perspective, faye mullen’s practice reaches toward horizontality worlding queer imaginings and decolonial ways of being. Pursuing a doctorate (Études et pratiques des arts, UQAM), she holds a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto) and the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris, and is a recipient of an MFA from the University of Toronto and a diploma from Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains (Tourcoing, France). Her work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions in Asia, Australia, Europe and across Turtle Island. Currently she situates her practice in and alongside community of Tio’tia:ke / Mooniyang / Montréal.
Mona Sharma is a first-generation Canadian artist of South Asian descent who lives and works in Montréal. She obtained her MFA (2012) and BFA (2007) in Painting and Drawing from Concordia University. Directly inspired by tensions induced by the diverse nature of her background, her goal through art has been to foster a more critical understanding of how we form as individuals and function as a society. She has exhibited her art in galleries across Canada (Montréal, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton among others) as well as the United States, and has received numerous awards and grants such as those presented by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts and MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels).
Anna Binta Diallo was born in Dakar (Senegal) and raised in Saint-Boniface (Winnipeg) on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. She is currently based in Montréal, or Tio’tia:ke, on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka. She is a Canadian multidisciplinary visual artist who investigates memory and nostalgia to create unexpected narratives surrounding identity. She completed a BFA from the University of Manitoba (2006) and obtained an MFA in Creative Practice from the Transart Institute, Berlin (2013). Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in exhibitions in Winnipeg, Montréal,Toronto, Vancouver, Keuruu (Finland) and Berlin (Germany). Diallo has been the recipient of multiple grants and honours. In 2019, her work was selected as a shortlisted finalist for the Salt Spring National Art Prize.
Born in Tehran (Iran), Leila Zelli lives and works in Montréal. She holds an MFA (2019) and a BFA (2016) in Visual and Media Arts from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Zelli is interested in the relationship that we have with the ideas of "others” and “elsewhere” and more specifically within this geopolitical space often referred to by the questionable term “Middle East.” Her work has been shown, among others, at the Bradley Ertaskiran Gallery (2020), at the Conseil des arts de Montréal (2019-2020), at Galerie de l’UQAM (2019, 2015) and at the Foire en art actuel in Québec (2019). Her works are part of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts collection, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec’s Prêt d’oeuvres d’art collection and the Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul collection.