Opening Reception: Saturday November 12, 5 pm-7 pm
For a Spell brings together autobiographical works by Sidi Chen, Terreane Derrick, Mena El Shazly, Melanie Evelyn, Rosalina Libertad Cerritos, Marzieh Mosavarzadeh, Nazanin Oghanian, and Jack Page. These works were created in the Artists as Artwork workshop series led by Ghinwa Yassine at VIVO Media Arts Centre. A collection of audio-visual and mixed-media works, gestures, and rituals, with the common thread of making the invisible visible, a repository for the artists' phantoms, and a reminder for the audience that the body and the mind have different processing times.
"The Artist As Artwork workshop series was a container for witnessing and mirroring that brought together artists who showed up, reflected, remembered, unearthed, shared, and re-wrote. In the process were an insistence on fighting linearity and opposing agendas and deliverables with an anti-disciplinary, body-driven, co-created approach. A space that welcomed each body in the room to affect and be. As a guide and witness, I had the privilege of lingering in certain thoughts and using the element of time to deepen our conversations, but mostly, to stay in the pleasure of knowing the artists and their practices and listening to their words tracing their thoughts and bringing forth their tools for us to experience. The conversation travelled across time and space to make three stops: the first, the familial, the thread each artist picked and pulled to clear and discover how their ancestral past lived in their presence; the second, the collective history, the context each artist inhabited and position they reclaimed; the third, the personal, the past, the endearing bittersweet poetics becoming material for art." Ghinwa Yassine
Sidi Chen is a queer artist in diaspora whose interdisciplinary performance-based practice interrogates the queerness of the relations held within the extended bodies that are human, ecological, and planetary. Through his practice, Chen explores subjects of queer diaspora, intergenerational migration, ecological and environmental shifting to understand and cultivate an earth-based kinship. Sidi Chen is currently studying in the Master of Fine Arts Program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Chen has been participating in a wide range of residencies, exhibitions, performances, and projects in North America. Sidi Chen is also an independent arts administrator and researcher for arts-based community development, and is currently residing on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, known as Vancouver, BC.
Terreane Derrick came into the arts both by accident and design. She is of Gitxsan and German ancestry and lives with the attributes of being born with cerebral palsy. At an early age, Terreane's first foray into the performing arts was puppetry. She currently explores the mediums of writing, painting and drawing. She also has training in film production. Terreane is also an accomplished public speaker and facilitator and has sat on government boards as a special needs/disability advisor. Terreane appreciates the medicine of art and is currently focused on personal governance.
Mena El Shazly’s work is grounded in time-based media and extends to embroidery, sculpture and performance. Currently an MFA candidate at Simon Fraser University’s School for Contemporary Art, she studied Performing and Visual Arts at the American University in Cairo, and was a fellow of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. Her videos have been exhibited at numerous venues worldwide. El Shazly is the Artistic Director of the Cairo Video Festival organized by Medrar for Contemporary Art, and recently joined the Vancouver team of the Small File Media Festival.
Melanie Evelyn is an interdisciplinary artist and educator residing on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ílwətaʔɬ and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm people. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr, and a BEd in Art Education from SFU. Her educational work takes up themes of performance, identity and environmental stewardship and prioritizes collaborative and community-based projects. In her own practice, Evelyn draws inspiration from artists such as Nan Goldin and Tracey Emin, as well as the rituals and mythologies of her own childhood. Evelyn’s work draws on the visual lexicon of feminine aesthetics located in the everyday, joyfully arranging and rearranging it into photographs, happenings, comic books and plays.
In her artistic research and studio practice, Rosalina Libertad Cerritos explores themes that navigate personal and collective experiences and histories and how these unfold through identity, culture, language, place, memory and intergenerational experiences of trauma, nostalgia, celebration and hope. These themes are expressed as personal allegory and symbolical narrative where digital moving image, sound and sculptural form embody and encompass the subliminal corners of her emotional creativity and imagination. Her practice is multi-dimensional and multi-sensorial. In her work she is exploring and imagining new narratives and new futures through a process and exercise of reconstruction, reconciliation and reconnection to her memories and history.
Marzieh Mosavarzadeh is an Iranian artist who lives, learns, teaches, and makes art on the unceded, ancestral, and traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples in Vancouver, BC. Currently, Marzieh is a PhD candidate specializing in art education in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at The University of British Columbia. As an immigrant artist and scholar, Marzieh has always found herself in-between places, and through this inbetweenness, she has come to hold a love for place (topophilia) in relation to both her artistic and scholarly practices. Her work has been continuously entangled with exploring the potentialities that reside within the process of walking in/with place, as well as the kind of artmaking one can pursue in response to the practice of walking in/with place, and how such a practice can eventually create conditions for one to cultivate a sense of place. Marzieh holds her MFA and BFA degrees in visual arts.
Nazanin Oghanian is a multidisciplinary artist and experimental filmmaker whose practice unfolds from critical reflection around notions of the body, identity, gender, memory, politics, and the establishment of a constant dialectic between the individual and the social. Nazanin’s recent work explores power relations and the ways in which women’s bodies are controlled through the medicalization of their bodies and reproductive health. She currently lives and works as a guest on unceded and ancestral territories of four Coast Salish First Nations: The xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, səlilwətaʔɬ, and the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm — the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speaking peoples — traditionally and colonially known as Burnaby, Canada. She is a recipient of the BC Binning Memorial Fellowship, and her work has been exhibited across Iran and Canada including AHVA Gallery, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and Morris And Helen Belkin Art Gallery. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2020.
Jack Page is an interdisciplinary visual conceptual artist. He is grateful to live and work on the ancestral and occupied territories of the Coast Salish peoples: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. He completed a BFA in Critical and Cultural Practice from Emily Carr University in 2012. From 2012 to 2015, he pursued a MA in Cultural Studies from McMaster University. Jack left due to tran-sphobic healthcare, which impaired his physical functionality by denying medication to prevent the degeneration of his psoriatic arthritis mutilans. Jack is a transman, queer, physically disabled, chronically ill, psychiatric consumer and survivor.
Ghinwa Yassine (Lebanon/Canada) is an anti-disciplinary artist, based on the unceded Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh people. Her mixed media work includes film, installation, performance, sound, text and drawing. In her art, Yassine confronts the ideological and patriarchal systems that she grew up in while exploring collective feelings and what it means to be a marked body. She seeks a radical historicizing of individual and collective traumas where embodied memories manifest through story, ritual, and gesture. She pursues community-based research around embodied writing and the healing potential of autobiographical art.
Yassine holds an MFA in contemporary art and interdisciplinary studies at Simon Fraser University, an MA in Digital Video Design from the University of the Arts Utrecht, and a BA in Graphic Design from the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut.