Undone | Shaheer Zazai: Are We Even

Adriana Kuiper + Ryan Suter, Cover I, 2022, installation (quilt, video monitor, objects), courtesy of the artists

Erika DeFreitas, Ursula Johnson, Adriana Kuiper + Ryan Suter, Andrea Mortson, Roula Partheniou, Tara K. Wells

8 October to 11 December 2022
Vernissage: 14 October @ 7:00 pm

Curator: Emily Falvey

This group exhibition features seven artists whose work both centres and expands our understanding of the handmade and its relevance to contemporary art. It is also a meditation on our shared and personal circumstances during a period of multiple crises, as well as our capacity to imagine a better future. Building on the various meanings of “undone,” the exhibition makes connections between artistic process, grief, impermanence, transition, undoing, not doing, and doing differently.

Erika DeFreitas’ multidisciplinary practice includes performance, photography, video, installation, textiles, drawing, and writing. Placing emphasis on gesture, process, the body, documentation, and paranormal phenomena, DeFreitas mines concepts of loss, post-memory, legacy, and objecthood. Ursula Johnson is a Mi’kmaw Interdisciplinary Artist from Eskasoni First Nation of Unama’ki District (Nova Scotia). Johnson consistently works within a wide range of mediums, while maintaining the foundation of her practice in performance and installation. Much of her work employs cooperative didactic intervention, is place-based, and often includes collaboration with others. Interdisciplinary artists Adriana Kuiper and Ryan Suter are partners and artistic collaborators from Sackville, New Brunswick, within the traditional territory of Mi’kma’ki. Their practice examines subtle forms of resistance and resilience while questioning objects and forces meant to provide protection and care. Andrea Mortson is a Canadian collage artist and painter. Her practice is a careful process of worrying about the future. This often involves questioning the role of images and artists in the complex relationship between individual and collective experience, the inherent hubris of passive consumption, and the promotion of nostalgia and escapism for power. Roula Partheniou’s largely sculptural practice centers on an exploration of the replica, calling into question the language of everyday objects and the ways that we read and decipher our environment. Utilizing mechanisms such as optical illusion, associative play, visual similes, material puns, colour cues and the double-take, the works draw an alternate logic from commonplace materials. Tara K. Wells is a Maritime Canadian artist and designer. Her multidisciplinary art practice includes new media installations, animations, prints, drawing, kinetic and static sculptures, and most recently, quilts. In her efforts to make as small a dent on the planet as possible, she prefers to work with recycled materials. Her creations are often rooted in a strong sense of play.

Left: Shaheer Zazai, 1114.8, 2019, digital print on watercolour paper produced in Microsoft Word, edition of 10, 28 x 35.6 cm, courtesy of the Artist and Patel Brown Gallery. Right: Shaheer Zazai, 1114.8, 2021, Jacquard Loom woven tapestry designed in Microsoft Word, edition of 3, 127 x 152.4 cm, courtesy of the Artist and Patel Brown Gallery.

Shaheer Zazai: Are We Even

15 October to 11 December 2022
Artist Talk: 12 October @ 4:00 pm
Vernissage: 14 October @ 7:00 pm

Curator: Emily Falvey

Afghan-Canadian artist Shaheer Zazai is known for incredible digital works that use thousands of individual, manual key strokes in Microsoft Word to mimic traditional Afghan carpet-making techniques. More recently, he has expanded his practice to include textiles, translating his digital works into jacquard weavings. The works in Are We Even continue his ongoing exploration of cultural identity in the context of diaspora and contemporary geopolitics, while also engaging with concepts of mirroring, transformation, splitting, and merging into new forms.

Shaheer Zazai received a BFA from OCAD University in 2011 and was artist in residence at OCAD University as part of the Digital Painting Atelier in 2015. He is a recipient of Ontario Arts Council grants, and he was a finalist for EQ Bank’s Emerging Digital Artist Award in 2018. Since graduating, Zazai has had several solo and group exhibitions such as those at the Capacity 3 Gallery, CAFKA Biennial 2019, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, Double Happiness Projects and Patel Brown Gallery. His digital works have been covered by CBC Arts in 2018, Ajam Media Collective in 2019, and the Globe and Mail in 2020. In addition to his solo exhibition at the Owens, his upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at the Agha Khan Museum (Toronto), the group exhibition Shifting Ground at Digital Arts Resource Centre (Ottawa), Every Answer is Correct, an off-site group exhibition curated by the Power Plant (Toronto), and Porous Identities, the inaugural group exhibition for Patel Brown Gallery’s Montreal location. www.shaheerzazai.com

We would like to acknowledge that the Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, is located within the traditional territory of Mi’kma’ki, the unceded ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq. Our relationship and our privilege to live on this territory was agreed upon in the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725 to 1752. Because of this treaty relationship, it is to be acknowledged that we are all Treaty People and have a responsibility to respect this territory.

Owens Art Gallery
Mount Allison University
61 York Street Sackville, NB, E4L 1E1 • 506-364-2574
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Vimeo

Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Admission is Free
Masks are mandatory.

The Owens is partially accessible. The stairs from the entrance nearest the University Chapel have a handrail. There is also ramp access at this entrance, however, the ramp is steep. The stairs to the entrance off York Street have a handrail, but no ramp, and are covered with temporary wood treads. The main floor of the Owens is wheelchair accessible. Our second-floor gallery and gendered bathrooms are located in the basement and are not accessible. Two flights of stairs lead to each of these floors. The Owens welcomes guide dogs and other service animals. The closest accessible parking spaces are located on York Street across from the Owens.

If you have any questions about your visit, please email owens@mta.ca or call (506) 364-2574.