Location: Second Floor Gallery
Unfolding as a tender and poignant homage, In the presence of absence | في حضرة الغياب is an exhibition that centres Palestinian-Canadian artist Jude Abu Zaineh’s relationship with Palestine, a homeland that she has only encountered through oral histories, archival images, literature, and cultural traditions. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from the late Palestinian author Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry book that weaves his autobiography with the shared experiences of exile endured by Palestinians. Layering both personal and collective accounts of migration and adaptation, Abu Zaineh has created neon, collage, and print works that draw photographs from library archives and family albums. For the artist, these works reimagine the home as a dynamic site that is constantly evolving through the experiences of migration, familial anecdotes, and memories. Across all the works, images of plants emerge as a metaphor for vitality, symbolizing the ability of displaced individuals to flourish under challenging conditions. The exhibition is conceived as a home that shares narratives of belonging, selfhood, and culture that are transformed when one is at the crossroads of being a diasporic individual.
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, diaspora, and belonging. She examines ideals of home and community while working to develop aesthetics rooted in her childhood and upbringing in the Middle East.
Abu Zaineh is the recipient of the 2020 William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists, and was one of the first selected artists to participate in a collaborative residency with the Ontario Science Centre and MOCA Toronto (Canada). She has presented her work at a number of cultural institutions including: Cultivamos Cultura, São Luis, Portugal; Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon, Portugal; Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City, Mexico; SVA, NYC, USA; Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, USA; Forest City Gallery, London, Canada; Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada; and Centre Culturel Canadien, Paris, France.
Abu Zaineh received an MFA from the University of Windsor (Canada) and is currently pursuing her PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY, USA) as a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow.
She maintains an active studio practice between upstate NY, USA and Windsor-Essex, Canada.
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 has contributed to curatorial research, exhibition management, and public programs at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Art Dubai. Alé holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph. Alongside Claudia Mattos, she co-founded AXIS, an independent curatorial laboratory dedicated to exhibiting socially-engaged contemporary art. She was awarded curatorial residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Shanghai Curators Lab