The latest exhibition of the VAC, this is not an atlas, examines notions of mapping, mythology, 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 collected works—including paintings, prints, videos, and site-specific installations—make visible the stories and realities of sovereignty and resilience by remapping, reorienting, and reclaiming cartography as a decolonial practice. this is not an atlas is curated by Noor Alé.
Cartography charted the expansion of European empires into the Americas, Africa, and Asia, and encouraged the forced dispossession of indigenous lands. Maps produced by surveyors are neither neutral nor objective; they serve as ideological tools that articulate power hierarchies, economic motivations, and nationalist agendas. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from a global collection of counter-cartographic writings by artists, environmentalists, and scholars who create maps to generate political activism.
Jew Abu Zaineh is a Palestinian-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker. Her practice uses art, food, and technology to explore the meaning of culture, displacement, and belonging. She has presented her work at the Art Gallery of Windsor; Museu de Arte, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; and Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City.
Bruno Canada is a member of the Deh Gah Got’ı́é Kǫ́ę́ First Nation, a member of the Dene Nation from the Deh Cho region. In his painting, collage, and drawing practice, Canadien explores issues surrounding the intersection of First Nations/tribal sovereignty, resource exploitation, and environmental concerns. Canadien has exhibited his work at the Stride Gallery, Calgary; Winnipeg Art Gallery; and Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton.
Bonnie Devine is an installation artist, videomaker, curator and author. A member of the Anishinaabek of Genaabaajing (Serpent River First Nation) on the north shore of Lake Huron, Devine’s work draws from the traditions of storytelling and image-making 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, DC
Maria Hubfeld is a transdisciplinary artist who activates her work in live performances. She is interested in the emergence of shared moments that open up spaces of possibility and new narratives. She is an urban member of the off-reservation Anishinaabek people and 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 related to the natural world of the Andes and the Amazon region of Ecuador. In his practice, Monsalve deals with notions of interculturality, relationships between species, geographical contexts and metamorphoses, both mythological and botanical. His work has been exhibited at No Lugar, Quito; Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver; and Chora 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 technology, ecology, and the critical infrastructure where human and non-human converge. She has exhibited her work at the Center 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 notions of identity and what contributes to this construct—Community, nationality, family, history, place, real and imaginary memories-to investigate Questions about the social milieu. He has exhibited his work at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Noor Ale is a curator, art historian and author. She is Associate Curator at 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 has an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph.
Before you visit the VAC, please read our guidelines to learn more about the protocols that our visitors must follow to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort.
The Visual Arts Center of Clarington is a partially accessible venue with an accessible washroom. The front entrance is accessed via a ramp and an outward opening door (please note we do not have an automatic door opener). It is important to note that the Loft Gallery is not wheelchair accessible. Disabled parking is available on site. For specific assistance or questions about the venue please call or email us. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
Accompanying image: Teo Monsalve, pasto astronomer2021. Oil and watercolor on inkjet print, 11.8 x 15.7 inches.