That Which We Were Given


Anique Jordan
Kosisochukwu Nnebe
Mallory Lowe Mpoka

May 6 – July 1, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6, 2:00 to 6:00 pm
The Next Contemporary, Toronto

The Next Contemporary is pleased to present THAT WHICH WE WERE GIVEN. This group exhibition explores the politics of Black place-making and somatic and semiotic expression within a visual context and offers reflections about the use and limitations of contemporary resources in such an endeavor; From vernacular photography archives to verbal and visual materials and archiving methodologies to personal gestures and collective lenses.

Displacement through generations of migration implies more than just dispersal and reveals a paradoxical emotional state of both displacement and attachment. This exhibition makes use of visual histories to explore the ongoing processes of displacement and dispossession so prevalent among Black communities, visualizing what is often a precarious and tenuous relationship with place – both “back home” and the lands on which one re-makes home.

Consequently, the works on display explore the self as the place of belonging and examination, attempting to rethink and understand cultural modalities through the visual memories of Blackness.

Please join us on May 6th from 2:00 to 6:00 pm in celebration of opening the THAT WHICH WE WERE GIVEN for an evening filled with art, love, learning and of course wine!

The artists will be in presence for the opening reception.

To Score the Marvellous, Anique Jordan. Photo: Zeyuan Ren.

About the Artists

Anique Jordan is an artist, writer and curator who looks to answer the question of possibility in everything she creates. As an artist, Anique works in photography, sculpture and performance often employing the theory of hauntology to challenge historical or dominant narratives and creating, what she calls, impossible images. Recently, she has been thinking about time, the surreal, and the rejection of the singular and linear ways of thinking or being in the world. Anique has lectured on her artistic and community engaged curatorial practice as a 2017 Canada Seminar speaker at Harvard University and in numerous institutions across the Americas. In 2017 she co-curated the exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood at the Art Gallery of Ontario. As an artist, she has exhibited in galleries such as Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), Art Gallery of Guelph, Doris McCarthy Gallery, German Gallery, Art Gallery of Windsor, Gallery 44, and Y+ Contemporary. She has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships and in 2017 was awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist of the Year award. Anique is currently completing her MFA in Photography at Rhode Island School of Design.

Is a Language a Flag, Kosisochukwu Nnebe

Kosisochukwu Nnebe is a Nigerian-Canadian visual artist and curator. Inspired by postcolonial theorists Frantz Fanon and Edouard Glissant, Nnebe’s practice is invested in unraveling the process of racialization and re-thinking the politics of Black visibility. Moving across installation and lens-based media, Nnebe creates works that shapeshift and transform to reveal a glimpse into new ways of seeing and understanding Blackness.

In their play with spatiality and coded visual lexicons, Nnebe’s works root themselves also in Black feminist standpoint theory to demonstrate how one’s positionality within society – as within space – dictates what is seen and unseen, thus engaging viewers on issues both personal and structural in ways that bring awareness to their own complicity. Undergirding Nnebe’s practice is a desire for reconnection and dreams of otherwise Black futurities anchored in non-Western epistemologies and ontologies and anti-colonial solidarities.

Nnebe’s work has been exhibited across Canada, including ArtSpeak in Vancouver, the Agnes Etherington in Kinston, the Bows in Calgary, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the NIA Centre in Toronto, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and AXENEO7 in Gatineau, as well as internationally, including Hausen Gallery in New York City, the Mohr Gallery in Mountain View, California, and an upcoming installation in Amsterdam. She has been commissioned for projects by Plug In ICA in Winnipeg as well as the Mozilla Foundation. Nnebe’s work can be found in both public collections, including the Canada Council for the Art’s Art Bank and the Ottawa Art Gallery collection, as well as private collections in Canada, the United States and Nigeria. Nnebe has spoken about her artistic work and research across the country and was an instructor of Art and Criticism at the Ottawa School of Art.

A Rhizome Growing in My Heart, Mallory Lowe Mpoka

Mallory Lowe Mpoka is a Cameroonian Belgian visual artist who works between Tiohtiá:ke (montreal) and Douala. Her practice draws on archival photographs and personal experiences and examines how individuals navigate places, continually reconsidering the nature of identity and belonging. Her use of analog photographic processes, screen printing, embroidery and natural textile dyeing refers to a reality between many cultures, while contextualizing her work in a familiar environment. Her recent investigations question the notion of home as an (in)tangible place and the concept of migration through the prism of diasporic, transoceanic and post-colonial realities, while incorporating personal archives, heirlooms and self-portraits.

Mpoka was a Villa Lena Foundation artist-in-residence in 2021 and has been nominated as a finalist for the Access ART x Prize 2022-23 by Art x Lagos and Yinka Shonibare’s Foundation. She is also the winner of the Malick Sidibé prize by the Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography, and the winner of the Royal Bank of Canada Future Launch Scholarship 2023. She has shown her work nationally and internationally at Atiss Dakar Gallery, Art Toronto, Fofa Gallery, Phi Center, Rad Hourani and le Livart Gallery. Mpoka’s most recent work, steaming from a research residency at Bandjoun Station Museum will be shown at the Next Contemporary Gallery in May 2023.

The Next Contemporary
1655 Dupont Street, Unit #103 (around the courtyard)
+1 647 317 9666

Facebook @thenextcontemporary
Instagram @thenextcontemporary

The Next Contemporary is a fully accessible space.