100 years then and hereafter | Public Space


Hiba Abdallah, Capsule #001, 2020, mixed media.

100 years then and hereafter
By Hiba Abdallah

March 15 to May 15, 2021

Curated by Sandy Saad-Smith

100 years then and hereafter is an exhibition of new works by artist Hiba Abdallah. Inspired by her excavation of Clarington’s historic archives, Abdallah looks back 100 years into the municipality’s documented history, finding diary entries, political documents, and newspaper headlines with uncanny similarities to the present moment. With her findings as the grounds for the exhibition, she examines social and political cycles, while exploring ways to disrupt the archival process when looking to the future.

The exhibition brings together text works based on archival headlines and tools that have been altered from their historic context to offer different imagined purposes. In collaboration with filmmaker Alyssa Bistonath, Abdallah proposes alternative archival practices, and invites community members to contribute to future historical records adding to a more complex narrative of our times.

Hiba Abdallah is an artist and cultural organizer who frequently works with others. Her practice explores the structural legacies and futures of cities by researching the intersections of collaboration, communication, and disagreement as productive frameworks for re-imagining public agency.

Exhibition Programming:

Messages to the Future: March 15, 2021
The VAC is launching access both in the gallery and online to members of the public to write messages to the future and contribute to a new historical record project by Hiba Abdallah. The messages will be displayed in the gallery and placed in buried time capsules to be opened in 100 years.

Digging into Archives: Thursday, April 22, 6pm – 8pm EST
Guest Archivist: Tamara Rayan
Join us on Zoom for an intimate discussion with artist, Hiba Abdallah, and archivist, Tamara Rayan. Moderated by curator, Sandy Saad-Smith the discussion will touch on some of the most compelling issues around the nature and meaning of the archive.

Tamara Rayan is a Palestinian settler, ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow, and recent University of Toronto Masters of Information Studies graduate specializing in archives and records management. Anti-racist action and BIPOC representation within the archive has always been at the forefront of her archival work. She is the former co-chair for the UofT iSchool’s Diversity Working Group and is a current Steering Committee Member of the Society of American Archivists – Archivists and Archives of Color Section.

Burial of Time Capsules: Date TBA
Slated to take place when the grounds at the VAC have thawed, and dependent on COVID-19 guidelines, a burial ceremony will be held to place Abdallah’s time capsules beneath the VAC.


Le bureau (tr. The Office), exhibition view, Centre Plein sud, Longueuil QC, 2019, photograph by Éliane Excoffier.

Public Space

March 16 – Dec 15, 2021

Nicolas Fleming, Rudy Shepherd, Sahar Te, Petrina Ng, Josh Vettivelu

Curated by Matthew Kyba

What does it mean for a gallery to create community-focused programs that respond to and inquire about art’s role as public engagement? The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC) is pleased to present Public Space, a year-long transforming project founded on artistic and cultural collaboration. Over 2021, five artists will facilitate collaboration-based participatory and community-focused programming for underserved Durham Region groups and non-profit organizations. Public Space represents a new way that artists, community, and galleries can work together for inclusive experiences that specifically serve multiplistic publics.

Co-existing as artistic, cultural, and community-collaborations, each artist will transform the VAC Loft Gallery through ongoing architectural interventions that will facilitate cooperative skill-sharing workshops, group discussions, and educational opportunities for local equity-seeking groups. Working with a number of local community non-profit organizations, Nicolas Fleming will collaborate with Rudy Shepherd, Sahar Te, Petrina Ng, and Josh Vettivelu to help design and produce site and project-specific environments for community-activated events. Fleming will recycle, adapt, and re-organize select components for each subsequent installation to feature each artist’s site-specific artwork. By featuring an evolving but malleable exhibition model, Public Space marks a radical new shift towards experimental iterative exhibition-making within VAC programming.

Visitor Guidelines
Before visiting the VAC, please read our guidelines to learn more about the protocols we are asking our visitors to follow to keep everyone safe and comfortable.

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington is a partially accessible venue with an accessible washroom. The front entrance can be accessed by a ramp and an outward-opening door (please note that we do not have an automatic door opener). It is important to note that the Loft Gallery is not accessible by wheelchair. Accessible parking is available on site. For any special assistance or queries about the venue, please call or email us. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 143 Simpson Avenue, Bowmanville, Ontario, L1C 2H9

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