Alize Zorlutuna and Jagdeep Raina at the Art Gallery of Burlington

The Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) spring exhibition series opens Thursday May 9, 6:30–8:00 pm featuring the work of Alize Zorlutuna and Jagdeep Raina.

Alize Zorlutuna, To Move Like Currents, (documentation Gibraltar Point), 2024. Ebru on nylon and bucket. Photo: Alize Zorlutuna

We Who Have Known Many Shores is for all of us who have come from elsewhere—built home and fallen in love with the land, here.” – Alize Zorlutuna

We Who Have Known Many Shores brings together material practices rooted in Anatolian textiles, ceramics, and marbling, and contemporary mediums, to forge new pathways for considering diasporic relationships to place and belonging. Conjuring earth, air, water, fire, and spirit, transdisciplinary artist Alize Zorlutuna collages mediums, methods, and geographies at the AGB for their first solo exhibition in a public art gallery from May 10 – September 1, 2024, curated by Suzanne Carte.

Exploring ancestral material practices through contemporary means, Zorlutuna reconnects threads that have been severed through displacement, imagining what healing might look like for those who have been separated from their homelands. Their approach emerges from years of research, training, and practice engaging with material and cultural technologies from the SWANA region (Southwest Asia and North Africa) while thinking through relationships to place, settler-colonialism, diaspora, and healing. Following generations of makers, they repeat patterns and actions known to many hands—the marbling of Ebru, the tufting of carpets, the coiling of ceramic vessels, the dying of silks; their hands hold deeply embodied knowledge and wisdom acquired through repeated engagement with traditional craft practices and a collaboration with the elements.

We Who Have Known Many Shores addresses diasporic relationships to land and water by tracing the outlines of waterways that have informed Zorlutuna’s sense of home. Using fabric, seeds, and video, they trace the contours of Lake Ontario’s shores, bends in the Humber River, and key waterways in Anatolia – the continental boundary of the Bosporus Strait, and the Marmara, Aegean, and Mediterranean seas. Incorporating healing plants from Anatolia and Turtle Island, as well as inviting the elements of wind and water into the exhibition, Zorlutuna explores the emotional landscape of belonging to place.

The exhibition is accompanied by hands-on learning with land-based material practices including natural dyeing and paper marbling workshops with Zorlutuna, and Turkish carpet weaving with Selin Kahramanoğlu and the Turkish Society of Canada.

Jagdeep Raina, Sun Hangul, 2023. Ceramic. 38 x 14 x 29 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Cooper Cole, Toronto. Photo: Angela Chen

Guelph-born, New York-based artist Jagdeep Raina’s Destroyer from April 13 – June 23, 2024, is a dramatic mise-en-scène featuring a selection of recent ceramics, embroidered tapestries, works on paper, and poetry, curated by Jasmine Mander. The carefully composed set draws inspiration from Dal Lake, the second largest body of water in Kashmir, and the most visited place in Srinagar by tourists and locals.

Through his delicate fabric works and gestural ceramics, Jagdeep uncovers the harsh colonial ties to this coveted place and the resulting loss of local traditions over time. During colonial India in the 19th century, houseboats were commissioned by the British empire to serve as accommodation for British officials. After India gained independence from Britain in 1947, the empty houseboats were converted to luxury hotels on the water. Forty years later in 1989, the tourism industry in Kashmir collapsed due to insurgency and violent conflicts of the state. As hundreds of these boats stand empty and in disrepair, Kashmir stands to lose an important part of its culture, heritage, and an entire tourism industry.

“Through this exhibition, I aim to unravel the complex layers of history, displacement, and resilience woven within the fabric of Dal Lake,” Raina says. “Destroyer serves as a lens to examine the interplay between colonial legacies and contemporary realities.”

José Luis Torres, The place as an object and the object as a place, 2024. Wood, metal, glass, and plastics. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roya DelSol

Artist José Luis TorresThe place as an object and the object as a place takes over the AGB’s experimental Living Lab space with an architectural platform built for spontaneous exploration, creation, and exhibition.

Over the year, community organizers, artists, activists, and orators host a series of free workshops, talks, craft-circles, demonstrations, and manifestations to slowly grow a collection of rarities. Every month, an invited guest guides participants through an exploration, inviting them to contribute an object that becomes an integral part of the expanding assemblage. This spring you can learn how to knit with Sean Morello, throw a large clay vessel with Grace Han and interpret your birth chart with Charlie Star – and bring an object to contribute to Torres’ growing cabinet of curiosities. Register online.

We Who Have Known Many Shores has been generously sponsored by Alinea Group Holdings Inc. and supported by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts.

The AGB is supported by the City of Burlington, Ontario Arts Council, and Ontario Trillium Foundation. The AGB’s learning programming has been sponsored by The Burlington Foundation and the Incite Foundation for the Arts.

Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON L7S 1A9

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