Spring/Summer 2024 Exhibitions Launch at Esker Foundation

Join Esker Foundation to celebrate the spring/summer season opening reception: Friday, May 24, 6-9 pm, all welcome.

Deanna Bowen, The Branded Hand of Captain Jonathan Walker, 1845, 2020. Inkjet print on archival paper. Courtesy of the artist and MKG127, Toronto.

Deanna Bowen
Black Drones in the Hive

May 25 – August 25, 2024

Curated by Crystal Mowry
Organized by the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
Circulated in partnership with the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina

Conversation with Deanna Bowen and Crystal Mowry: Saturday, May 25, 1-2 pm

Discover & Download: Spring/Summer Brochure PDF.

For more than twenty years, Deanna Bowen’s practice has evolved from its roots in experimental documentary video into a complex mapping of power as seen in public and private archives. Research and exhibitions are rarely mutually exclusive modes for Bowen, in part because her subjects are capable of revealing new perspectives over time. Whether it is through strategies of re-enactment or dense constellations of archival material, Bowen’s work traces her familial history within a broader narrative of Black survival in Canada and the United States.

Originally produced by the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Black Drones in the Hive unfolds in a series of visual chapters to reveal the strategic erasures which have enabled Canadian canons such as the Group of Seven to exist without question or complication. The exhibition draws its title from a racist assessment of William Robinson, a Black journeyman, as written by a city official in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener) in the records of the Waterloo County House of Industry and Refuge (1869–1950). This sentiment echoes the centuries-long project of devaluing Black labour and the promise of autonomy. Combing historical texts, petitions, and archives ranging from the local to international, Bowen weaves together narrative threads of migration, power networks, and hierarchies of remembrance.

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The exhibition was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council. Exhibition and touring support provided by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Wei Li, Skinbound, 2024. Photo by Blaine Campbell.

Wei Li

Until June 9, 2024
In the Project Space

Artist Talk by Wei Li: Thursday, June 6, 6-7 pm.

Wei Li’s captivating digital work Skinbound, explores a world where the human body and everyday objects coalesce in evocative, visceral, and emotionally provocative hybrids. To compose these images, Li utilizes hyper-realistic computer renderings to transform consumer goods into anthropomorphic fusions by seamlessly integrating the textures of human skin, hair, and blemishes with the shapes, labels, and branding of product packaging.

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Levin Ifko, Tender To The Flame, 2024. Courtesy of the artist.

Levin Ifko
Tender To The Flame

June 17 – October 20, 2024
In the Project Space

At a time of heightened rhetoric against healthcare access for trans youth, Levin Ifko’s installation Tender To The Flame, highlights expanded notions of what queer and trans healthcare can be, and how our connections with one another can pose a radical shift in how we choose to care for ourselves and those around us.

Contrasting the clinical with the sensual, Ifko utilises personal photography, translucent tapestry, and visible mending. Drawing on their lived experiences accessing healthcare as a trans youth into adulthood, as well as shared knowledge from trans writers, artists, and friends that have guided them along the way, Ifko’s work aims to honour trans livelihood, companionship, and pleasure by addressing community networks of trans protection and care.

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Levin Ifko is a Queer and Trans interdisciplinary artist, writer, and musician. Blending practices in photography, fibre, and sculpture, his visual art is playful and intimate. Writing plays a large role in his practice; utilising words to conjure queer memories and imagine possible futures. As an avid collector of train tickets and a lover of street signage, he enjoys reflecting upon the roles that everyday objects have in shaping our perceptions of the world. Above all, he believes in art as a way of caring for ourselves and connecting with our communities.

About Esker Foundation

Esker Foundation, established in 2012 by Jim and Susan Hill, is a privately funded contemporary art gallery located in Calgary, Canada. Through exhibitions, public programs, publishing, and commissioning activities, the Foundation supports artists and audiences through a variety of learning, connecting, and collaborative models. The gallery reflects on current developments in local, regional, and international culture; creates opportunities for public dialogue; and supports the production of groundbreaking new work, ideas, and research.

Gallery hours:
Wednesday to Friday: 11am-6pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12-5pm

Accessibility: the gallery is barrier-free.
Admission and programs are free.

Press contact:
Jill Henderson, Head of Communications & Marketing
Tel: 403 930 2499

Press page & images download.


Esker Foundation
4th Floor, 1011 9th Ave SE
Calgary, Alberta, Canada