UW Fine Arts MFA Thesis One: Behnaz Fatemi | Jill Smith

University of Waterloo Art Gallery

April 18 – May 4, 2024
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 25, 5-8 pm

Behnaz Fatemi
We will lose our beloveds — ما عزیزانمان را از دست خواهیم داد

We will lose our beloveds — ما عزیزانمان را از دست خواهیم داد is a body of interdisciplinary works which uses feminist autotheory to transcribe lived experience under the Iranian theocracy. The works highlight the complexities of migration: what self-exile feels like, along with my connection to the greater Iranian diaspora after moving to Canada in 2018. Artmaking allows me to unpack the emotional landscape of my in-betweenness (neither here nor there), to process grief and loss (both personal and collective), while also pacifying my quest for belonging. Using paper, graphite, and my body in nonverbal dance and performance, I use mark-making as a methodology for healing, a strategy for resistance, and a source of agency while inhabiting the discomfort of this in-betweenness.

Behnaz Fatemi is an Iranian interdisciplinary artist based in Waterloo who investigates diaspora and trauma through performance, drawing, installation, and video. Her artworks have been exhibited in Iran, Canada, and the United States. Highlights of her time spent in the Kitchener-Waterloo area include Kitchener Artist in Residence (2020-21), Waterloo Region Arts Awardee (2020), and CAFKA biennial (2023). Fatemi gratefully acknowledges the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. Artist website

Jill Smith
kupferschmidt / kupferschmid / kupferschmidte

kupferschmidt / kupferschmid / kupferschmidte is a sculpture and installation-based exhibition which uses materiality and autobiography to question the role and success of self-preservation amid a disruption to identity. The works in this exhibition use materials including those associated with Jewish culture to demonstrate the paradoxical nature of preservation. Delicate jewellery chains come together in messy knots as a connection to what came before. Pickles are crystallized in a moment of in-between as both their life and death are elongated. Falling, folding, and slumping glass jars appear to be in states of becoming and undoing. past / present / future. tethered / suspension / potential. In this exhibition notions of time and authenticity are disrupted by the tension between desire for preservation and inevitable failure. The works, surreal and absurd, aim to answer the question: is true preservation even possible?

Jill Smith is a queer, Jewish multi-disciplinary artist born and based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Working primarily in sculpture, her practice explores archival properties of materials, objects, and rituals. Among others, she has exhibited at Xpace Cultural Centre, Toronto, ON; Forest City Gallery, London, ON; and has been artist-in-residence at Gibraltar Point, Toronto, ON; and AGA LAB, Amsterdam, NL. Smith has received grants from the Social Sciences and Research Council (SSHRC) and Toronto Arts Council. Artist website

Admit Everyone
University of Waterloo Art Gallery
East Campus Hall, Room 1239
519.888.4567 ext. 33575

Ivan Jurakic, Director/Curator

Wednesday to Saturday 12-5 pm
Or by appointment

Ground floor entry
Automated door at Fine Arts entrance
Accessible washrooms on ground level
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263 Phillip Street, Waterloo
East Campus Hall (ECH) is located adjacent to Engineering 6 (E6)
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Visitor Parking available in B Lot (E6) or Q Lot (EC1) for a flat rate of $7 as of May 1
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University of Waterloo Art Gallery
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1

Image credits and descriptions:
1) Behnaz Fatemi, Rubbing and Remembering (detail), 2023-24, graphite and found objects. Photo: courtesy of the artist. Description: A handbag with tag attached rests beside a pair of women’s dress shoes on a dark background. Everything has been meticulously drawn over in graphite.
2) Jill Smith, glimpse of potential (detail), 2024, glass, copper. Photo: courtesy of the artist. Description: Close-up of an antique copper key covered in crystals, wedged inside of a partially melted glass jar.