A Kind of Return

Bishara Elmi and Luther Konadu

Curated by Alyssa Fearon

May 4 – June 22, 2019
Doris McCarthy Gallery
University of Toronto Scarborough

Luther Konadu, Figure as Index, 2018, courtesy of the artist

A Kind of Return brings together projects by Bishara Elmi and Luther Konadu that offer nuanced reflections on interpersonal relationships within Black communities. Konadu is an emerging Winnipeg-based photographer who takes self-portraits and photographs of close friends and loved ones. The resulting images present the subjects on their own terms, and challenge dehumanizing representations that have long been associated with the Black body in photography. Elmi is a Toronto-based artist who addresses the tension between displacement and belonging within relationships, particularly as it relates to the Black queer and trans experience. Using fabric, text, and moving and still images, Elmi’s work argues that the experiences of exile and marginalization can occur within the context of a relationship, not just from a physical location.

At their core, both projects ask: What role can relationships serve for those living in oppressed conditions? And how do those individuals find each other and build community? Elmi and Konadu explore their truths of what this means culturally and systemically, while complicating stereotypical and narrow representations of Black communities.

A Kind of Return is a Featured Exhibition in the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.


Opening reception
Saturday, May 4
12 – 2 pm
Exhibition tour with the artists and curator 1 pm
Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul St) at 11:30 pm, to return at 2 pm, first come, first served

Contemporary art bus tour
Sunday, May 26
12 – 5 pm
Art Gallery of York University, Doris McCarthy Gallery & Robert McLaughlin Gallery, guided tours or talks at each venue. To reserve a seat, please email Alissa Firth-Eagland, alissafe@yorku.ca.

All programming is free and open to the public. For more programming information, see the DMG website.

Bishara Elmi, Cynn from the series The Space Between Us, 2019, courtesy of the artist


Bishara Elmi is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, educator and public speaker working in visual forms and with numerous materials and creative processes. Elmi is currently residing in Toronto by way of Mogadishu. The artist also works individually and within collectives centering BIPOC youth, women and femme voices and stories, and Elmi has created many spaces for these types of storytelling and skill-sharing to take place.

Luther Konadu is a writer and artist of Ghanaian descent based in Winnipeg. His studio labour is project-based and realized through photographic print media and painting processes. He is interested in how the legacies of these mediums continue to shape prevailing perceptions of group identities, and uses his work to reinterpret this kind of image-making. Konadu lives and works on Treaty One Territory, the stolen lands of the Anishinaabe, Métis, Cree, Dakota and Oji-Cree Nations.

Alyssa Fearon is a curator, educator and arts manager currently based on Treaty 2 territory (Brandon, Manitoba), where she is Curator of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Raised in Scarborough, Ontario, Fearon actively seeks new ways of organizing artistic projects within communities that have not traditionally been sanctioned as places of creativity and innovation. She has organized a range of projects, from large-scale performances by international artists to community-based youth artist residency programs. In 2018, Alyssa Fearon curated the inaugural Scarborough zone of Nuit Blanche Toronto.

Doris McCarthy Gallery
University of Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 am to 4 pm; Wednesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Saturday, 12 to 5 pm.
Admission is free. Open to the public. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

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