MFA Thesis 2021: Racquel Rowe | Karice Mitchell

Presented by University of Waterloo Fine Arts and UWAG

We invite you to check out the work of MFA candidates Racquel Rowe and Karice Mitchell.

While MFA thesis exhibitions will be installed on site, the gallery remains closed in response to the ongoing pandemic and current lockdown.

Both exhibitions “open” on April 15 with updated exhibition documentation to be posted on April 19.


Making Sweet Bread with Gran (video still), Racquel Rowe, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

Racquel Rowe
The Chicken Is Just Dead First

The Chicken Is Just Dead First is a euphemism borrowed from a series of short stories by Zalika Read Benton called Frying Plantain. The collection details the life of a first generation Canadian of Jamaican heritage. It sums up the differences between island life and living in Canada. Exploring the notion of compulsory visibility and subverting dominant ideologies, the exhibition embodies and embraces the differences and similarities between the various black experiences across the diaspora. Engaging in critical conversations around race to furthers ones’ own ability to break away from colonial representations.

Racquel Rowe is a performance artist who explores the way history has shaped modern day depictions of Black people, culture and thus how these things affect her lived experience. Rowe is based in Waterloo, Ontario but hails from the island of Barbados where most of the inspiration is drawn for her current body of work.


Untitled Diptych, Karice Mitchell, 2020. Photo: Scott Lee.

Karice Mitchell
1b, black legs, 52”

1b, black legs, 52” is an effort to reconcile with history. Through the re-contextualization of black pornographic images primarily using digital-based processes, this exhibition serves as a re-imagining of what black women’s futures could be. By creating images that are hyper-visible in presentation yet ambiguous in their representation, these works seek to foster images of the black female body that demand to be seen and understood removed from the historical construction of blackness that has been upheld and perpetuated through white supremacy. Giving the black female body new meaning we can begin to foster new possibilities for it to be understood differently and to exist in its multiplicity. This show cultivates space for black women and their sexuality to be unapologetically represented while also allowing ourselves the grace to acknowledge the historical legacy of racism in an effort to subvert it, ultimately, striving towards reclaiming our agency.

Karice Mitchell is a photo-based installation artist whose practice uses found imagery and digital manipulation to engage with issues relating to the representation of the black female body in pornography and popular culture. Her work seeks to re-contextualize pre-existing images to reimagine the possibilities for black womanhood and sexuality detached from the white gaze and patriarchy.

Please join us in celebrating the work of our MFA candidates during this time of transition.

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
East Campus Hall, 263 Phillip Street, Waterloo

Ivan Jurakic, Director/Curator

Gallery is temporarily closed until further notice

University of Waterloo Art Gallery
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1