Fellowship Shortlist Exhibition

Fellowship Shortlist Exhibition


The Fellowship Shortlist Exhibition features nine artists, each of whom offer a distinct way of considering relation to convention, everyday experience, and the lore of family, history, and the self. With diverse practices spanning mediums, themes, contexts, and fixations, these artists ignite questions around our contemporary life and the ever-evolving narratives which we inhabit and refute. 

The works of Christian Vistan, Anne Riley, and Damla Tamer explore themes of transformation, memory, and the intersection of personal and collective histories. In their grandmother’s patchwork and referential painting, Vistan draws on their lineage of artmaking, creating from a place that points directly back to their familial relations, while attempting to collapse the space between them. This collapse, between an intergenerational memory and a present embodiment, is further echoed in Riley’s video, which considers what it means to experience an undefinable somatic shift when both speaking in and feeling through their ancestral Dene language. Meanwhile, Tamer’s oya needle lace (a traditional Turkish embroidery practice) intertwines aspects of nostalgic recollection, family history, and the socio-political narratives in which they exist.

Working with kin in their artmaking is also integral to the practice of Manuel Axel Strain. Utilizing Coast Salish formline to insert depictions of their brother and nephew, Strain refutes euro-centric imagery by establishing contemporary Indigenous existence in the forefront, thereby presenting a vision of presence and continuum. Strain's intervention into Western painting traditions and Jordan Hill's exploration of urban landscapes intersect in their shared commitment to disrupting narratives of imperial legacy and challenging colonial gaze. Hill's work interrogates the act of construction and urban architecture, exposing the facades and power dynamics that perpetuate the built structures that have destroyed our natural, native environments.

For Lauren Crazybull and Solomon Chiniquay, the themes of asserting presence and questioning authenticity is further echoed in their practices. Crazybull’s figurative painting recontextualizes the colour red through a process of reclamation and the depiction of present-day Indigenous life, as captured by a filtered camera, and rendered in crimson oil. Navigating the complexities of representation while asserting the multiplicity of Indigenous experience is also prominent in the work of Chiniquay, whose documentary-style photography portrays intimate scenes in their home community of Morley, on Treaty 7 territory, and offers a nuanced reflection on the emotions and banality of everyday existence. 

Imbuing renewed meaning to everyday actions also comes through in the works of Odera Igbokwe and Katayoon Yousefbigloo, as routine activities become moments of ritualized practice. Through a contemporary exploration of Afro-diasporic spiritualism, Igbokwe paints divinity cultivated in ordinary tasks, revealing a sacredness in the mundane. Similarly, Yousefbigloo redefines the concept of ritual through their work, as seen in their scratch-and-win image transferred onto aluminum. For Yousefbigloo, ritual is found in repetition and the passage of time, transforming what might seem like a mere game of chance into a ceremonial practice of manifestation and intention-setting.

- Asia Jong, Curator