Eve Tagny + Emii Alrai: Sutures

Sutures, images courtesy of Emii Alrai and Eve Tagny, 2022, digital media, dimensions variable.

Eve Tagny + Emii Alrai

July 3 – September 4, 2022
Curated by Matthew Kyba and Megan Kammerer

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (VAC) is pleased to announce the participation of Eve Tagny (Montréal, QC) and Emii Alrai (Leeds, UK) in our inaugural international residency and site-specific duo installation taking place this Summer 2022.

Tagny + Alrai come together after months of digital collaboration to disrupt traditional installation making at the VAC. Inspired by their recent virtual AKA project, investigating how non-Western cultures represent trauma through landscape and artifacts, the pair erupt from digital modes of collaboration to harmonize their interests in the gallery’s physical space.

Tagny + Alrai travel to Clarington in June 2022 for a one-month residency onsite at the VAC. They will visit garden sites, research local history, explore regional iconography, and examine how monuments propagate territorial statehood and settlement in the Durham Region. With free studio access, the pair will experiment in ceramic hand building, film making, and video projection to create multidisciplinary installations that blur the line between each individual practice. The deferred project holds inherent contingencies that leave no room for rigid dogma. Thus the artists’ work during this period of free play and experimentation will embody a stubborn resilience to reignite the gallery’s exhibition spaces.

The coalescing exhibition Sutures opens on Sunday, July 3 running through September 4, 2022. After injury, a suture makes you whole. Its scar, though rough or imperfect, signifies a healing. This transformative process is not unlike Alrai + Tagny’s production as the artists negotiate themes of reflection, healing, and physical reconnection. As China Miéville writes, “Scars are memory. Like sutures. They stitch the past to me.” We look forward to welcoming our community members back after two years of remote summer programming for a new period of reconnection and renewal at the VAC.

Informed by inherited nostalgia, geographical identity, and post-colonial museum practices of collecting/displaying objects, Alrai weaves together historical narratives by forging artifacts and visualizing residues of cultural collision. Her work contains elements which are broken or unfinished, and hover between the formal polish of an imperial museum, archaeological dig, or the residue of a performance. Alrai questions the value and origin of artifacts, while navigating diasporic experiences.

Tagny focuses on how communities at the margins commit to living, rather than merely surviving through a lens-based installation practice. She centers garden spaces to mend traumatic disruptions in accordance with nature. She investigates these man-made sanctuaries that simultaneously encompass all stages of the living—from luscious growth to decay—to engage in processes of renewal, reconnection, and transformation.

Artist Biographies:

Eve Tagny is a Tiohtià:ke/Montreal-based artist. Her practice considers gardens and disrupted landscapes as mutable sites of personal and collective memory — inscribed in dynamics of power, colonial histories, and their legacies. Weaving lens-based mediums, installation, text and performance, she explores spiritual and embodied expressions of grief and resiliency, in correlation with nature’s rhythms, cycles, and materiality.

Tagny has a BFA in Film Production from Concordia University and a Certificate in Journalism from University of Montreal. Recent exhibitions include Musée de Joliette, Momenta Biennale, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and Centre Clark, Montreal; Cooper Cole, Gallery 44, and Franz Kaka, Toronto. She is the recipient of the Mfon grant (2018), the Plein Sud Bursary (2020) and has been shortlisted for the CAP Prize (2018), the Burtynsky Photobook Grant (2018) and the OAAG Award (2020).

Emii Alrai’s practice is informed by inherited nostalgia, geographical identity and post-colonial museum practices of collecting and displaying objects. Focusing on ancient mythologies alongside oral histories, Alrai weaves together narratives by forging artefacts and visualising residues of cultural collision. Often working at large scale, she creates sculptural installations that recall museological displays and dioramas, natural landscapes and processes of decay and ruin that question the verity of the historical record.

Alrai is an artist based in Leeds and Wakefield, UK. She was selected for Year 2 of iniva’s Future Collect with The Hepworth Wakefield. Recent exhibitions include: A Core of Scar, The Hepworth Wakefield (2022), The Courtship of Giants, Eastside Projects (2022) Deposition Layer, Threshold Projects, Leeds (2021), Stories We Tell Ourselves, Foreman Gallery, Quebec (2021); Ecdysis, Assembly Point, London (2021); Jerwood Solo Presentations, Jerwood Arts, London (2021); The High Dam, The Tetley, Leeds (2020); Tutelaries, VITRINE, London (2019); House of Teeming Cattle, Two Queens, Leicester (2019); An Ancient Quiver, GLOAM, Sheffield (2018). In 2021, Emii was selected for Triangle Astérides residency programme in Marseille, In-Ruins residency in Calabria and partook in a Creative Fellowship at the University of Leicester.

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 VAC 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). 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
Email: communications@vac.ca | Phone: (905)-623-5831 ext. 1
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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.