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A recent University of Winnipeg graduate is returning to her alma mater to explore themes of history, memory and the body in an upcoming art show.
Noor Bhangu graduated with a master’s degree in curatorial practices in 2017 and is the curator of Not the Camera, But the Filing Cabinet: Performative Body Archives in Contemporary Art, which runs Sept. 13 to Nov. 24 at U of W’s Gallery 1C03.
"The University of Winnipeg community has been really, really supportive of my work," she said. "It’s been such a great opportunity to reconnect with professors as a curator."
Bhangu is the first curatorial practices grad to mount a show in the school and gallery director and curator Jennifer Gibson says she is excited about the homecoming.
"I think it’s important to bring them back to share how their career has developed and the directions that they’ve taken their work in," Gibson said. "She’s very interested in bringing forward perspectives that the gallery is not addressing as much, in particular feminist perspectives."
The show features 10 Canadian and international artists whose multimedia work focuses on female and non-binary bodies as an archive.
"My idea is to challenge history and official archives where lots of women and queer people have been left out of those histories," Bhangu said. "There’s a kind of incompleteness in each work, which is really interesting because it does challenge the objectiveness of history and the archives."
Artists include Susan Aydan Abbott, Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, Sarah Ciurysek, Dayna Danger, Christina Hajjar, Ayqa Khan, Luna, Matea Radic, Sophie Sabet and Leesa Streifler. Body image, aging, psychic trauma, displacement and cultural survival are some of the topics explored.
Visual artist Danger has produced a series of photos that deal with fetish, sexuality and power.
"The photos are really luscious and inviting, but the way the bodies are framed it becomes really incomplete," Bhangu said. "So there is the idea of visualizing these bodies, but also refusing entrance."
Winnipeg artist Christina Hajjar will be doing an interactive performance with food at the show’s opening reception on Sept. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Gallery 1C03 has also partnered with Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art to put on a round table discussion for young feminists of colour with New York-based artist Ayqa Khan on Sept. 15.
The gallery is hosting a panel discussion with a number of the artists on Sept. 17 in the university’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall and Gibson says more programming is in the works for the exhibition. Visit uwinnipeg.ca/art-gallery for more information.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.