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Elham Hazfi, Irit Epstein, Lina Faroussi
Life Disrupted


Exhibition: May 25 – June 4
Opening reception: Thursday, May 25, 6:30–10 pm
Gallery 1313, Toronto

Three artists from three countries – Syria, Iran and Israel – now living in Toronto, explore the humanitarian crisis in our contemporary world – a result of man-made destruction. The works portray the Syrian war, the refugee crisis, the loss of home and homeland, and the geographic uncertainties that influence us all. The artists express their unrest and sensitivity to today's current events and related crises from their personal points of view.

Elham Hazfi was born in Tehran and migrated to Toronto in 1998. She is a self-trained artist. Elham began this project with Bad Dude Land, a piece inspired by one of Donald Trump's speeches, when he exclaimed, “There are bad dudes coming from there, guys, bad dudes!” This painting has all the elements that came to Elham's mind about the things that are left behind when one migrates – hopes, expectations and the resulting feelings. Faces or figures in her paintings have a fish attached to them, the fish that caught them when they risked their lives crossing the seas to reach a new life. Alive or dead, safely at the shore or at the bottom of the oceans, this fish is part of their existence.

Irit Epstein was born in Israel and relocated to Toronto in 2010. She has a Masters of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art in Berlin, Germany, and a Masters in Art Therapy from New York University. Maps, borders, immigration, and refugees have been of interest to her, as a member of a family with a complex historical narrative, and having redefined ‘homeland’ periodically over the course of her life. Irit explores the idea of ‘territory’ to express her perception of a collective reality that influences us all, one of conflict and man-made destruction.

"What today is the meaning of foreign, the meaning of homeland?
When the homeland becomes foreign, the foreign becomes the homeland.” – Thomas Mann

Lina Faroussi was born and educated in Syria, and has resided in Toronto since 2008. She grew up surrounded by political turmoil, witnessing the imprisonment of her father, and deeply feeling the impact of watching her homeland torn apart by the recent war. Her reaction to this war is showcased in her series 'The Obvious and the Obscure'. What started as a beautiful desire for freedom in Syria, sadly became a snowballing jumble of conflicts, constituting a severe, terrifying, relentless war. Some call it a civil war, others a sectarian war, or even the Third World War. Yet ultimately, no matter what we label it, it is a merciless war that is leaving hope beyond the horizon.

“War does not determine who is right, only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell

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Gallery 1313
1313 Queen St. West, Toronto  M6K 1L8
Wed–Sun 1–6 pm