this bridge between starshine and clay

Renee Gladman, Adee Roberson, and Rashid Zakat
Curated by Safia Siad

On View: October 14 – November 25, 2023
Opening Reception: Friday, October 13, 6–9 pm
Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC), Toronto

Adee Roberson, Never Run Away (Black Harmony), 2023, Screenprint on paper, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Critical Distance is pleased to present this bridge between starshine and clay, an exhibition that explores and illuminates sonic innovations and architectures that create and hold space for Black aliveness. Using Lucille Clifton’s won’t you celebrate with me as a poetic entry point, this collection of work across mediums weaves through themes of geography, movement, rhythm, (un)knowing, vibration, and sound. Bringing together new works by artists Renee Gladman, Adee Roberson, and Rashid Zakat, the concept of musical bridge becomes literal, creating portals and possibilities.

A public art billboard by Adee Roberson, entitled Transport Connection (Sister Nancy), will be on view at 180 Shaw Street throughout the run of the exhibition. Learn more about the exhibition and artists at:

This exhibition was developed through the Ways of Attuning curatorial study group facilitated by WaveForm Collective (Liz Ikiriko and Toleen Touq).


Please join us on the evening of Friday, October 13 for the opening reception at Critical Distance. Promptly following the opening remarks at 6:00 pm, artist Adee Roberson will present an activation and performance in the gallery channeling oceanic and cosmic sounds through synthesizer, percussion and voice.

At 6:30 pm, artist Rashid Zakat will perform in the Urbanspace Gallery just around the corner from the gallery. Using two turntables and a mixer, Zakat live-edits an archive of personal and public films, found footage and animation to produce a spontaneous and thoughtful audio-visual narrative. Part dance party, part live video art performance, Revival! is a celebration of the visual and sonic frequencies that are contained within and spill out of Black ecstatic experiences. These images and sounds marry and multiply to tell textured stories of African cultural retention, the relationship between survival and faith, and the collective creative strategies of adaptation, joy, and mutual aid embedded in Black life and history in the Americas.

ASL interpretation and a Deaf performance will feature alongside the Revival! performance from artist Rashid Zakat.

Rashid Zakat, Revival!, video still, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

About the Curator

Safia Siad is a curator and DJ. She is currently a graduate student in the department of Art History at Concordia University and works with the Afrosonic Innovation Lab.

About the Artists

Renee Gladman is a writer and artist preoccupied with crossings, thresholds, and geographies as they play out at the intersections of poetry, prose, drawing and architecture. She is the author of fourteen published works, including a cycle of novels about the city-state Ravicka and its inhabitants, the Ravickians . She has also produced three collections of drawings: Prose Architectures (2017), One Long Black Sentence, a series of white ink drawings on black paper, indexed by Fred Moten (2020), and Plans for Sentences (2022). She has been awarded fellowships, artist grants, and residencies from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Lannan Foundation, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and is a 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize winner in fiction. She makes her home in New England with poet-ceremonialist Danielle Vogel.

Adee Roberson is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is a meditation on symbolism and texture. Synthesizing performance and installation, her work melds vibration and technicolor visions through paintings, video, and melodic compositions. These works offer a refracted timeline of black diasporic movement, weaving sonic and familial archives, with landscape, rhythm, and spirit. They have exhibited and performed at numerous venues including, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Antenna Gallery, Project Row Houses, Palm Springs Art Museum, Human Resources, UTA Artist Space, NADA Miami, Charlie James Gallery, Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, MOCA Los Angeles, and Art Gallery of Ontario. Adee has also been an Artist-In-Residence at Echo Park Film Center, Treehouse Lagos, and ACRE. She is a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Cutting Edge Grant and the 2021 Los Angeles Artadia Award. She is based in Los Angeles, California.

Rashid Zakat is a professional filmmaker and video artist based in Philadelphia. He uses video, photography, design, audio and the web to encourage people to find as much beauty, joy and wonder as possible. In his 20-year career as a director and cinematographer, he has made non-fiction, experimental films and music videos for India.Arie, Carmelo Anthony, Black Thought, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, BlackStar Film Festival, Soul Train, Topic, WHYY, Philadelphia Contemporary, Mural Arts, and BET, to name a few. His personal work includes short documentary, iPhone and traditional portrait projects, visual mixtapes, digital publications, video installations, open mics, and dance parties that experiment with visuals.

Thank you to our funders

this bridge between starshine and clay is made possible through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Critical Distance gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Location and access information

Critical Distance prioritizes creative and collaborative approaches to access in conversation with guest curators, artists, access professionals, and people in community. We are located on the ground floor at 401 Richmond, a wheelchair accessible building with a ramp at the Richmond Street doors and an accessible washroom on every level. The gallery is equipped with an automatic door and we commission audio description for all exhibitions. Updates on any measures we develop in relation to artworks or events will be posted as they become available. For questions or more information, please contact us at

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Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC)
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 122 / Toronto, Ontario / M5V 3A8 / Canada / / Instagram: @critical.distance