Farihah Aliyah Shah: Without a leg to stand on

Exhibition Opening

Without a leg to stand on
Farihah Aliyah Shah

June 30 – September 18, 2022
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 7 from 5:30-7:00pm
MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario

In Without a leg to stand on, Farihah Aliyah Shah presents a collection of work that speaks to a history of photography in relation to Black bodies. During the early 1950s, as colour film stock became accessible to middle class families, Kodak photo labs all over the world used Shirley Cards—portraits of white female models, sometimes wearing pearls or fine gloves — to calibrate their machinery for skin tone, shadows and lighting during printing. Enforcing a false standard of beauty, the widespread use of this calibration device produced grey and inhuman looking photographs of Black people and those of the global majority.

Using still images, video and embroidery, the exhibition reveals a hierarchy of subjects within photography at the beginning of colour film stock popularity, and the lack of representation of disenfranchised bodies that endures within the photographic canon today.

Farihah Aliyah Shah is a lens-based artist based in Bradford, Ontario. She holds a BFA in Photography with a minor in Integrated Media from OCAD University. Using photography, video and sound installation, her practice engages photographic history and explores identity formation through the colonial gaze, race, connectivity to land, and collective memory. Shah was the 2019 recipient of the John Hartman Award. She currently is a member at Gallery 44 – Centre for Contemporary Photography and Women Photograph an organization that advocates for Female Identified and Non-Binary photojournalists. Shah has exhibited internationally in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Ancillary Programming

Masterclass: Unconventional Portraiture – Farihah Aliyah Shah
Sunday, July 10, 2022
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
$135 / $121.30 + HST Members

Join Farihah Aliyah Shah, recipient of the 2019 John Hartman Award and explore creative approaches to portrait photography. Participants will take a tour of Without a Leg to Stand On and explore unconventional approaches to portraiture from incorporating still life to symbolic portraits. Participants are encouraged to bring objects with significant meaning to discuss and incorporate into their work.

*This program requires participants to bring their own camera. Digital is preferred; both DSLR and smartphones are suitable*

Artist Talk – Farihah Aliyah Shah
Thursday, August 11 at 7:00pm / FREE

Join artist Farihah Aliyah Shah as she draws connections between the themes embedded in her current exhibition and artistic practice which explores identity formation through the colonial gaze, race, land, and collective memory.

For a full list of exhibitions now on view at the MacLaren, visit:

Gallery Hours
Wednesday – Friday: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am to 4:00pm

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37 Mulcaster Street
Barrie, Ontario, L4M 3M2
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