Shifting Ground

Still from: Nadia Myre, Tethered, 2021. Single-channel video, 8:56 min, colour, no sound. Courtesy the artist.

Shifting Ground

August 29 – October 28, 2022
DARC Project Space

This group exhibition presents artists who examine the complex, and at times tenuous, links that tie some of us to the political, cultural, and geographic entity known as Canada. The artists share their unique perspectives as Indigenous and racialized Canadians, employing time-based media and digital technologies to navigate, and perhaps mitigate, the oppression and exclusion frequently endured by their communities. From reconstructions of homes to memories of other places, from estrangement to expressions of longing, and from critical analysis to more sentimental engagements, the artists reflect on their experiences of alienation from the tremulous terrain to which they are supposed to belong.

The exhibition features works by Canadian artists Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman, Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, Atefeh Khademolreza, José Andrés Mora, Nadia Myre, Curtis Talwst Santiago, Jin-me Yoon, and Shaheer Zazai, who serve as vital cultural mediators at a time of crisis and strife. From Myre’s reflections on the Canadian flag to Santiago’s desire to connect with distant ancestors, and from Mora’s invisible musings on place to Abdourahman’s apprehensions about the virtual realm, the artists actively rethink and even subvert existing assumptions about belonging. Instead, they suggest alternative, bottom-up, and authentic ways of placemaking to account for the varied backgrounds, layered experiences, and plural creeds forming the multifaceted identities of this land’s inhabitants.

Commenting on her work, Nadia Myre states: “Tethered reveals a frayed and tattered Canadian flag as a split mirrored image, each half slowly undulating in the wind. From the space where the two maple leafs overlap, the wings of a symbolic eagle emerge, spreading to take flight but never able to—its talons remaining tethered to each flag. Tethered speaks to how Aboriginal interests can never fully flourish, or even be righted, as they are bound by federal and provincial jurisdiction within the current Canadian political system.”

The participating artists challenge common conceptions of nationhood by acknowledging the fraught history and current reality of Canada, while exploring their relationship with its contested territories. Together, they point to the shifting ground underneath our feet, in a world characterized by uncertainties and flux. They also deliberately shake the ground to reveal anxieties and grief, and illuminate the truths—and even wisdom—inherent in being alienated from home.

Shifting Ground is curated by Amin Alsaden.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a host of educational and public programs. For more information, please visit DARC’s website. Please note: for everyone’s safety, masks are mandatory and physical distancing is in place. Contact tracing is available.

About DARC:
Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC), formerly SAW Video, is a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that supports artists through programming, education, and access to equipment and mentorship. Our mission is to foster the development of a diverse community of media artists, actively promoting equity regardless of race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, or ability. Our core principles are independence of expression, affordable access to all, and paying artists fair compensation for their work. Initially founded in 1981 as a project of the Sussex Annex Works (S.A.W.), SAW Video and SAW Gallery later moved to Arts Court and formed the multidisciplinary centre Galerie-SAW-Video. In 2001, SAW Video became independent from SAW Gallery, forming SAW Video Association. In 2020, the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) became the organization’s new identity, expanding our digital presence online and asserting our role as a point of support for artists.

Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC)
67 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9

Social Media:
Instagram: @digitalartsresourcecentre
Facebook: @digitalartsresourcecentre
Twitter: @darcmediaarts

All doors at DARC have accessibility buttons to press for automatic entry. DARC is located on the main floor (one story above ground) of the Arts Court building. DARC’s main entrance is located at 67 Nicholas Street which is wheelchair accessible. Alternate wheelchair-accessible entry is available through 10 Daly Ave at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Elevator access is available from 9AM – 11PM. DARC staff are available and happy to assist with all inquiries and requests regarding physical access. We also welcome inquiry, feedback, and resources regarding accessibility and improvement by phone (613.238.7648 x. 4) or by email at