this is not an atlas


Teo Monsalve, Pasto Astronomer, 2021. Oil and watercolor on inkjet print, 11.8 x 15.7 inches.

this is not an atlas

January 9–March 26, 2022
Curated by Noor Alé

this is not an atlas examines notions of mapping, mythologies, and belonging in the works of artists Jude Abu Zaineh, Bruno Canadien, Bonnie Devine, Maria Hupfield, Teo Monsalve, Su Yu Hsin, and Joseph Tisiga. The gathered works—among them paintings, prints, video and site-specific installations—make visible the histories and realities of sovereignty and resilience by remapping, reorienting, and reclaiming cartography as a decolonial practice.

Cartography charted the expansion of European empires into the Americas, Africa, and Asia, fuelling the forced expropriation of Indigenous lands. Authored by surveyors, maps are neither neutral nor objective; they serve as ideological tools articulating power hierarchies, economic motivations, and nationalistic agendas. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from a global collection of counter-cartographic writings by artists, environmentalists, and scholars who create maps to engender political activism.

Artist Biographies:

Jude Abu Zaineh is a Palestinian-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker. Her practice employs art, food, and technology to investigate meanings of culture, displacement, and belonging. She has presented her work at the Art Gallery of Windsor; Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon; and Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City.

Bruno Canadien is a member of the Deh Gah Got’ı́é Kǫ́ę́ First Nation, a Deh Cho Region member of the Dene Nation. In his painting, collage, and drawing practice, Canadien addresses issues surrounding the intersection of First Nations/Tribal sovereignty, resource exploitation, and environmental concerns. Canadien has exhibited his work at Stride Gallery, Calgary; Winnipeg Art Gallery; and Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton.

Bonnie Devine is an installation artist, video maker, curator, and writer. A member of the Anishinaabek of Genaabaajing, (Serpent River First Nation) on the north shore of Lake Huron, Devine’s work emerges from the storytelling and image-making traditions that are central to Anishinaabe culture. She has exhibited her work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg; and National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.

Maria Hupfield is a transdisciplinary artist who activates her work in live performances. She is interested in the formation of shared moments that open spaces for possibility and new narratives. An urban off-reservation member of the Anishinaabek People, she belongs to the Wasauksing First Nation. She has exhibited her work at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto.

Teo Monsalve is an Ecuadorian artist whose multidisciplinary practice explores themes relating to the natural world of the Andes and the Amazon region of Ecuador. In his practice, Monsalve engages in ideas of interculturality, interspecies relationships, geographical contexts, and metamorphosis, both mythological and botanical. His work was exhibited at No Lugar, Quito; Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver; and Khora Gallery, Quito.

Su Yu Hsin is a Taiwanese artist and filmmaker based in Berlin. She approaches ecology from the point of view of its close relationship with technology. Her lens-based work reflects on technology, ecology, and the critical infrastructure in which the human and non-human converge. She has exhibited her work at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art Busan; Taipei Biennial; and ZKM Karlsruhe.

Joseph Tisiga is a member of the Kaska Dena Nation whose multidisciplinary practice includes painting, drawing, installation, and performance. His work reflects upon notions of identity and what contributes to this construct—community, nationality, family, history, location, real and imagined memories—to probe questions about the social milieu. He has exhibited his work at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Curator Biography:

Noor Alé is a curator, art historian, and writer. She is the Associate Curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. Her curatorial practice examines the intersections of contemporary art with geopolitics, decolonization, and social justice in the Global South. She holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph.

Visitor Guidelines:
Before visiting the VAC, please read our guidelines to learn more about the protocols we are asking our visitors to follow to keep everyone safe and comfortable.

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington is a partially accessible venue with an accessible washroom. The front entrance can be accessed by a ramp and an outward-opening door (please note that we do not have an automatic door opener). It is important to note that the Loft Gallery is not accessible by wheelchair. Accessible parking is available on site. For any special assistance or queries about the venue, please call or email us. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 143 Simpson Avenue, Bowmanville, Ontario, L1C 2H9
Gallery Hours: Please visit our website
Media contact: Áine Belton, Marketing Coordinator
Email: | Phone: (905)-623-5831 ext. 1
Visit: | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington is proudly supported by: