The Sense Archive: This Body of Work

Ruth Douthwright, threads, 2022. Photo: Michaela Devine Altenburg

Eyelevel Presents

The Sense Archive: This Body of Work: Rendering, Reassembling, and Performing Motherworlds

May 26 – June 18, 2023
Opening: May 26, 2023 from 6PM – 8PM
Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery
923 Robie Street, Halifax NS

The exhibition will be on view at SMU Art Gallery from May 26th – June 18th with performances by the artists at the opening reception and throughout the exhibition. Find a full schedule of performances here.

This Body of Work is an interdisciplinary exhibition that grew from self-directed Artist Residencies in Motherhood (ARIM). This Body of Work explores critical feminist performance(s) of motherhood and maternal agency through lived bodily/cellular experiences and locates the body as the initial source and archive for the labour/work of the m/other.

We have created works that span photography, sculpture, sound, video, text, new media, and performance that consider themes of care, trauma, loss, lineage, identity, emotional bonds, oral/object histories, and memory.

We expose the labour, performance, and experience of motherhood and have allowed it to inform our work. We use a critical feminist perspective to disrupt cultural and perceptual norms. We make the work and are the work. the sense archive employs the word “mother’ as a verb in our approach and in considering our inclusive and extended audience—an audience that includes all those who mother.

Sally Morgan, Bonding Agents or Directives for Mum, 2023. Photo: Hanna Wolf

the sense archive is interested in exploring, reading, and transcribing the body as the site of narratives that shape us as artists/mothers. We believe in activating research and artistic work that challenges patriarchal ideations of motherhood. We are focused on, and committed to, creating socially engaged work that values the body and the embodied experience.

the sense archive, Ruth Douthwright (ON), Sally Morgan (NS), and Jessica Winton (NS), are white, cis-gendered, artists, educators, and mothers, living and working in Kanata/Canada. Our initial collaborative efforts are focussed on developing our first major project in two parts—a live performance work and a gallery exhibition—titled This Body of Work.

The artists acknowledge, honour, and are thankful for the land we live with and on. Sally and Jessica live in Kjipuktuk/Halifax located in Mi’kma’ki, the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. This territory is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship which the Mi’kmaq, Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet), and the Passamaquoddy signed in 1726. Ruth lives in London, Ontario, located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Chonnonton Nations, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum.

This project is presented in partnership with Mayworks Festival of Working People and The Arts, and Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Arts Nova Scotia.

Jessica Winton, SMILE! (detail), 2023. Photo: Hannah Minzloff

About Eyelevel:

Eyelevel is an arts worker/artist-run organization mandated to present and support the development of socially-relevant and thought-provoking artistic practices locally, regionally and nationally. Eyelevel supports artists through residencies, mentorship, publishing and presentation outside of a traditional gallery context that is accompanied by care-oriented and trauma-informed artistic, professional and personal support. Eyelevel aims to raise public awareness and capacity of our local arts community; particularly artists and arts workers who have been historically underserved and misrepresented in the contemporary art dialogue. Eyelevel strives to be a connector between artists, communities and the broader public, to constantly question the balance of power and work against systemic oppression and discrimination by centring anti-violence and pro-survivor practices. Eyelevel works in treaty to build a more inclusive and caring world through art, and to advance positive change within the arts through its operations, policies and programming. Learn more…

Access Notes

SMU Art Gallery is wheelchair accessible and the entire university campus is scent-free. Most doors on campus have working push-button switches, but the doors to the gallery do not currently have working push-buttons. Gallery and Eyelevel staff will be available to assist with doors.

Gender-neutral washrooms are located close to the gallery. From the gallery entrance head toward the residence security desk, turn right at the desk and the two washrooms are just past the residence administration office on the right. Gendered washrooms are located across the hall from Tim Hortons. SMU Art Gallery or Eyelevel staff will be available during all opening hours to assist with directions and answer questions.

All programming and didactic materials are in English-only, if you require ASL interpretation, visual description or translation please contact Sally, Eyelevel Artistic co-Director at

Finding the Gallery:

  • From Inglis Bus Stop: Follow pathways through campus, enter Loyola Academic Building, continue straight through building past Tim Hortons, Gallery on the right at the end of the hallway.
  • From Robie Street: Follow main entrance through gates down to parking roundabout, enter Loyola Academic Building on right, continue straight through building past Tim Hortons, Gallery on the right at the end of the hallway.
  • From Gorsebrook Avenue: The main Loyola Academic entrance on Gorsebrook Ave. is CLOSED because of construction. There are other entrances: a) down the construction ramp alongside Sobey building b) through the Rice/Loyola residence halls (this route has stairs).

Once in the Loyola Academic Building, follow campus signage for the Art Gallery, the gallery is located across from an information desk. The entrance is currently under construction and the exterior wall and gallery doors are painted with a mural. There are some doors still without accessible switches. The Art Gallery door is one of them.

Parking Note: All campus lots are PAID parking. They are regularly monitored and vehicles without passes are ticketed. Street parking rules have also recently changed.

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