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Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

Artist Spotlight: Noah Rubel

Noah Rubel is a Vermont-raised artist attending Concordia University.

His practice started as a high school freshman, drawing digitally and on paper. Since 2018, he has explored various mediums, especially during his undergraduate career. 

Studying in Montreal, Noah works to understand the various cultures of his peers. Surrounded by a welcoming Latin and French community, Noah now takes inspiration from his fellow international students. Alternatively, he uses this time to understand his own Japanese identity and how to reclaim his family’s lineage through creation and research.

To see more of his work, check out @granoah_art on Instagram!

“Present” the Puppet. Photo by Noah Rubel

Artist Statement

“Present” the Puppet is a giant marionette made entirely of resourced wood and screw hooks. I found the wood and hooks in scrap piles and resource centres. All the pieces were sanded and rounded using woodworking tools and then assembled with screw hooks and wood glue. This piece takes inspiration from the adventures of Carlo Collodi’s wooden puppet, Pinocchio. Throughout the book, Pinnochio finds himself lost and helpless, abandoned almost by the cruelties of reality. While many consequences are a by-product of his delinquent nature, plenty of punishments he faces are undeserved. As the world abandoned Pinocchio, Montreal abandoned this scrap wood.  I wanted to reclaim the wood in this city and give it a purpose, in this case, as a marionette. I gave the puppet the name “Present” because he is a gift. He gave the wood a purpose but also gave something to me. Plenty of objects have personal value, and my piece investigates the value in everything. Living or not, what do we choose to care about? What values do we assign to things? The value I hold in “Present” is a present in itself, since, for any object, the ability to exist is beautiful. 

“Present” the Puppet. Photo by Noah Ruel
“Present” the Puppet. Photo by Noah Ruel
Categories
Arts Arts and Culture

Má Sài Gòn: Documenting Queer Vietnam

Vietnamese-Quebecois director Khoa Lê’s new documentary highlights queer lives in Saigon.

On Friday, Feb. 2, Cinema du Parc hosted the much-anticipated Montreal premiere of Quebecois director Khoa Lê’s documentary, Má Sài Gòn—which has been making the rounds in film festivals since 2023. Má Sài Gòn, which translates to“Mother Saigon” in Vietnamese, fixes its bold and inquisitive gaze upon Saigon’s queer communities, all while triumphing its subjects in their most mundane acts of courage.

Though not explicitly autobiographical, for Lê, Má Sài Gòn represents a profoundly “personal quest” of reckoning with his conflicted feelings towards Vietnam—a motherland that feels both familiar and foreign, both loving and suffocating. “Should I live again one day, I still want to be your son,” is a refrain that echoes throughout the documentary. 

Having moved from Saigon to Quebec at the age of six, Lê is now a successful queer filmmaker who seeks to explore the imagined, alternative paths he could have lived if he had stayed in Vietnam. “Connecting with that landscape and those people helps me search for the person I could have been,” he said. 

Má Sài Gòn. Photo by Danny Taillon

Indeed, there is an undeniable poetic and surrealistic quality to Má Sài Gòn, especially in its dream-like sequences which feature distorted visions of Vietnamese flora and fauna. Borrowing the naturalistic qualities of cinéma vérité, the loving way that Lê’s camera captures hidden beauty in even the most mundane scenes astounds in its subtlety: the studied, careful peeling of a pomelo, framed with the glow of an afternoon sun; the soft bickering of two husbands snuggled up in the same train cabin; the proud, adoring gaze of a mother watching her son’s drag performance for the very first time. These snippets of everyday life—offering so little yet so much—allow viewers to understand Má Sài Gòn’s protagonists in intimate and unexpected ways.

Mimi Ha, a fellow Vietnamese-Quebecois and recent graduate from UQAM who attended the screening, expressed how moved and excited she was to see more diverse representations of Vietnamese people in a Quebecois-made film: “Vietnamese people and culture is so much more than just the typical immigrant boat people story. It makes me feel good to see that, even in Montreal, we can see another side of Vietnam that no one’s really seen yet.”Lê hopes that his work’s resonance with audiences will open up more opportunities for fellow Vietnamese filmmakers to challenge the white-dominated, homogeneous standard in Quebecois cinema: “That is the engine that motivates me to work harder,” he said.

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Arts Arts and Culture Exhibit

Datura at Espace Maurice brings the Rust Belt to Montréal

The show features works by Alex Patrick Dyck, Cléo Sjölander, Ariane Gagné (éli del), Tom  Roeschlein, Julien Parant-Marquis, Justin Apperley, Jason Van Hoose, Dylan Weaver and Paul Jackson Burgess.

The morning after my visit to Datura, the latest offering from Espace Maurice, I was confronted with a seemingly endless stream of people walking past me in their Sunday best: puffy jackets, Arcteryx tuques, and shiny sunglasses. They all appeared to be going to brunch, dressed up in their finest to go spend more money; a sign that the capitalist machine is happily turning. 

I noticed it because it couldn’t have been more different than what I was confronted with at Datura the day before. The group show, curated by the gallery’s founder Marie Sègoléne C. Brault, a Concordia graduate, features a wide variety of artists and practices whose works are entangled with the darker side of capitalism. 

All the works in the show were made in Youngstown, Ohio, many of them as part of a 10-day residency that took place during last fall. Through their subject matter and materiality, the artworks reflect the long lasting effects felt by a city that suffered greatly from the closing of factories during the 1970s. A number of the pieces were made by reusing materials like car window frames or rusted nails. 

Alex Patrick Dyck, thorn apple (trumpet flower), 2023, Found objects, antique air horns & trunk, mother of pearl, transparency film, tattoo ink. In Datura at Espace Maurice. Photo by Manouska Larouche.

The residency came to be—thanks to Brault who, upon viewing the documentary Greyland (dir. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque), was taken with the story of Youngstown and got in touch with one of the local residents featured in the film, Rocco Sait. This marked the start of a collaboration that resulted in the Ohio residency in which artists from New York, Montreal, the Yukon, and Youngstown gathered to create the art currently on display at Espace Maurice. The show represents a small fraction of what was produced during the residency, but it is accompanied by a catalogue that documents the works as they were installed in Youngstown at a warehouse owned by Sait. 

This show considers the lived experiences of those born and raised in the shadows of shuttered steel factories, and poses the question: What about those who stay? The answer is found in the form of sculptural works that use wood, ceramic, nails, candlesticks, wrought iron, and plastic tarps used in construction, as well as in the form of paintings that reflect on the violence bred by economic inertia.

In some ways, the show’s curation mimics the imagery of places like Youngstown or Detroit, which are all too often defined by the distant memory of economic prosperity—images of abandoned mansions in disarray dominate the visual landscape in these places. This show engages with this visual mode, but with an added level of care and intention. 

On the floor beneath a painting on one wall is a selection of carefully lined up tchotchkes, like a silver letter opener and a small heart-shaped piece of resin with nails sticking out of the top. A similar object sits atop one of the light switches along another wall. The show rewards a desire to look in unexpected places—the floor, the light switch, and the window. 

The show’s namesake flower, datura, also known as moonshade or devil’s weed, is a member of the nightshade family. It is a poisonous flower, with psychoactive effects that can induce delirium. Indeed, there is a sense of delirium in the show. One can easily get lost within the works on display, and I would encourage everyone to do so. 

Datura will be on view at Espace Maurice until Feb. 16.

Dylan Weaver, Horse on The Runway, 2022, acrylic on canvas. In Datura at Espace Maurice. Photo by Manouska Larouche.
Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Exhibit

Trevor Baird’s Sunkissed at Pangée

Embracing age-old methods to create new work that feels ancient.

Trevor Baird is a Montréal-based artist with a BFA in ceramics from Concordia University whose works have been exhibited domestically and internationally. His current exhibition Sunkissed is now on view at Pangée, a gallery located inside a historic 100-year-old building, formerly known as the Czech Consulate. The gallery directly overlooks Mont-Royal park, making it a favoured destination for the art community of Montréal. 

Upon entering the building, a fluorescent sign bathes the entrance in warm, red light and directs visitors upstairs into the gallery space. The bright and sunlit space smells of fresh oil paint, initially gravitating the visitors toward Delphine Hennelly’s whimsical exhibition, Behind the Scenes.

In the adjacent room, Trever Baird’s exhibition features a long podium in the centre of space which displays a collection of wood-fired stoneware works. This new body of work marks a significant departure from his previous method of working, for Baird is embracing a new approach to ceramics. “It’s been a while since I’ve shown and have completely rethought my entire practice since Covid,” Baird wrote in a recent post on Instagram, “moving away from a more technical practice to an intuitive one took a long time to understand, but I’m so much more satisfied with this work than I have been in the past.”

Trevor Baird’s Arca Mundi, 2023, Ash Glazed Stoneware. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian.

The collection overall has the distinct, rustic quality of archeological discoveries, leading the viewer to question whether they are looking at contemporary artworks or antiquities. In the poignant words from artist Rebecca Storm’s accompanying exhibition text, “Tarnished, at times seeming to have surrendered to erosion, or to the slow creep of lichen, [the ceramics of Trevor Baird] bear ciphers of antiquity, teasing the viewer into speculation. Have I been newly created, they ask, or have I been found?”

For example, the repeated motif of the ribcage (Arca Mundi, 2023) may remind the viewer of fossilized human remains, preserved by the earth. “Ribs are the artist’s interpretation of the alchemical concept of the vessel as the symbol for the soul,” Storm wrote. The rib cage both protects and metaphorically imprisons the heart—the presumed locus of the human soul. Baird’s “remains” are imbued with a sense of the spirit of the body they perhaps once belonged to. 

Sunkissed will be on view at Pangée from Jan. 20 to March 2.

Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Theatre

Still Life: The Complexities of Emotional Health

A theatrical dive into the shadows of womanhood.

A 30th birthday? What’s there to fear about hitting that milestone? But what if it’s a convergence of all things going wrong? 

Society’s expectations grow heavier with each passing year. Every added responsibility feels like a suffocating weight. Your once-familiar room now feels estranged and echoes with a profound emptiness. Imagine commemorating three decades of existence in a state that mirrors death more than life itself. Welcome to Still Life, a gripping theatrical experience freshly translated from French to English, debuting at the 2024 Wildside Festival in Montreal.

“It is a big play, that jumps around in time, and through the psychological and physical states of a woman trying to understand what is happening to her,” said Emma Tibaldo, director of Still Life.

Annually, the Wildside Festival—taking  place from Jan. 18 to Feb. 8 this year—spotlights independent and experimental theatrical works from Quebec and beyond. Still Life is the starting act of a total of six plays, and it was written by playwrights Marie-Ève Milot and Marie-Claude St-Laurent of Théâtre de l’Affamée. It is currently in the process of being reworked for its official release this fall.

The play features five actors—a main character and four others that serve as a chorus—simultaneously portraying the protagonist’s inner thoughts as well as those of the other characters in the narrative. 

The use of lighting is significant, creating intense moments of claustrophobia in the protagonist’s mental landscape. Thoughts may seem fragmented and elusive, yet they resonate with a raw sense of authenticity, even when they verge on the surreal.

Scene from Still Life, The protagonist isolated in her apartment shares a moment with her concerned best friend. Photo courtesy of Talisman Theatre

From Hannah Wilke to Joseph Beuys, the main character effectively employs art references to vividly capture universal feelings of anxiety. 

Such was the case for Nidaa Badwan, a Palestinian artist who voluntarily confined herself to her 100-square-feet apartment for 20 months in 2013. Badwan tried to construct her own reality through art as a form of liberation from the constraints of womanhood in Gaza. Her experience became a recurring reference in the life of Still Life’s protagonist, mirroring aspects of her own emotional turmoil. 

But capturing such intense emotions presents its challenges. Cary Lawrence, a cast member of the play,  spoke about the potential impact that embodying such raw emotions may have on an actor’s emotional health: “Especially when we were rehearsing the chorus work, we were heavy breathing to the point where we were so lightheaded,” said Lawrence. “You know as actors, that’s our job—to take the words and physicalize them by putting a lot of meaning behind them.”

Director Tibaldo expressed her aspirations for what the piece communicates to its audience upon release in the fall. “I want folks to be aware of the unpredictable effects of anxiety and depression. The way it can cut you down, and completely disempower you,” said director Tibaldo. “The improbable becomes that which can save us. A chance meeting, an extreme act, a possible connection. Maybe just being open to the unexpected can be enough to pull us through.” 

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Arts Arts and Culture Community Student Life

This week’s opportunities for fine arts students

Looking to start building up your CV? Check out these upcoming opportunities for emerging artists, including callouts, job listings, networking events and more!

Discover

Sex and Self Concordia  has announced their upcoming Paint Night on Feb. 9 at Le Frigo Vert (1440 rue Mackay)! The event will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. This live model painting session will be guided by art educator Zoe Dedes. Each participant will be given one canvas, once easel, one palette and access to brushes and paint. Visit the link here for tickets.

Be sure not to miss the incredible exhibits on view at Pangée (1305, avenue des Pins O.), including Concordia alumnus Trevor Baird’s Sunkissed, Concordia Fine Arts/Studio Arts Assistant Professor Delphine Hennelly’s Behind the Scenes, and Brandon Morris’s Cathedral Junkie. Read all about these shows at Pangée’s website here.

The Centre communautaire LGBTQ de Montréal (2075 rue Plessis) will be hosting a winter art market on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. The market will feature paintings, ceramics, textiles and more for sale from local queer and trans artists. Visit the event page for more information.

Artist and curator Didier Morelli, a FRQSC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Art History at Concordia University, recently curated the show Artletics, currently on view at Artexte (2, Sainte-Catherine East, room 301) from Jan. 18 through March 30. The show brings together works from a selection of artists who “examine the world of sports through a variety of approaches: by showing bodies in action, by discussing performance and competition, by sharing skills, by creating a link to the community, by revisiting memories, by moving from the collective to the individual, or by evoking the clan, group, or family.” Read the full exhibition text here.  

From Feb. 1 through Feb. 18, multimedia artist Deline Huguet will be exhibiting her show Les corps complexes at Projet Casa (4351 Esplanade Ave). According to the gallery’s announcement of the exhibition, Huguet’s soft-sculptures, works on paper and installations reveal “the discomfort conveyed by relations of domination based on gender identities in contemporary and past space-time.”

On Feb. 16, be sure to visit the Chaos Market at the Hive Cafe from 7 to 11 p.m! There will be unique items of clothing for sale as well as prints and visuals on display. You will be able to buy some drinks at a low cost and listen to some music from underground Montréal artists. For more information, check out the Chaos Market’s Instagram.

Open Calls

Concordia’s Fine Arts Reading Room (FARR) has put out a call for submissions and jurors for their Winter 2024 publication grants. These grants are meant to fund students who would like to publish artist books, zines, exhibition catalogues, creative writing, essays and more! Any kind of book-based project is encouraged. Selected applicants will receive a stipend of $250 for materials, as well as an honorarium of $750. The submission deadline is Feb. 19. For more information, visit this link.

FARR is also accepting applications for their Winter 2024 residency, entitled “Resilient Imaginings.” Undergraduate students that identify as BIPOC and are enrolled in at least one studio arts course are welcome to submit proposals that are rooted in resistance and resilience and thoughtfully engage with the community. The chosen applicant will receive a $100 project stipend, in addition to a $1000 honorarium. The deadline to apply is Feb. 19. Details are available here.

Chouette, a Montréal-based literary magazine, is open for submissions! Send in your fiction, non-fiction, poetry and artwork by March 1. Learn more at their website here

Centre PHI launched a call for project proposals as part of their monthly Espaces Incarnés series. Both established and emerging performance artists and collectives whose work involves theatre, music, sound, dance, visual and performing arts are encouraged to submit before Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Follow this link for more information.

Concordia’s Art Volt is now accepting applications for their annual collection! Graduating students who have applied to graduate in the Spring of 2024 and recent alumni—those who have graduated in the last five years—are eligible to submit their work for sale and rental. The submission deadline is Feb. 11 at 11:59 p.m. Visit this link to learn more about eligibility and submission requirements.

Students in Concordia’s MFA Studio Arts and the PhD Humanities programs are encouraged to submit their project proposals for the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s annual exhibition, IGNITION. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 18. Learn more about the submission requirements here.

The city of Montréal is accepting applications for their subsidy program for artists in visual arts and crafts! Professional artists who are actively creating new work in a studio space are able to access financial assistance to support their practice. The deadline to apply is March 31. Learn more about the program here.

Concordia’s FOFA Gallery has put out a call for artwork for their annual Undergraduate Student Exhibition, which is scheduled to open in early 2025. Applicants are encouraged to consider the following themes: disillusion, empathy, aspiration, taking action, resources, revolution, growth, evolution, and interconnectedness. Selected artists will receive a $200 honorarium. See the submission guidelines here.

Jobs

Concordia’s Centre for Gender Advocacy (CGA) is now hiring! They are currently looking to fill their Administrative Coordinator position, a role responsible for the general organization and smooth running of the CGA’s operations. Applicants must be fluent in both French and English in order to be eligible, have at least one year of administrative experience and ideally have lived experiences of the issues faced by the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Canada. Visit this link for more information on eligibility criteria, job responsibilities, and the application process.

Art Volt is also hiring for two positions! Recent graduates are welcome to apply for their Web & Communication Assistant and Advisor & Sales Coordinator positions before Feb. 19.

Concordia’s Art Education Graduate Student Association (ARTEGS) is seeking workshop facilitators for their May-June 2024 edition of Les ateliers ArtEDU Workshops. Current PhD and MA students in art education are encouraged to submit their ideas for workshops that are designed to inspire established and emerging art educators. This is a paid opportunity, where selected proposals will be compensated for 50 hours at TRAC rates. For more information, visit their website here

Opportunities at The Concordian

As always, artists who want to see their work featured in the paper are encouraged to submit to The Concordian’s Arts & Culture section! Our artist spotlight series provides a space for Concordia’s fine arts students to showcase their recent artwork. Send your poetry, photography, digital art, films, or documentation of physical works or performances along with a brief biography (100 words) and an artist’s statement (250 words) to artsculture@theconcordian.com for a chance to be featured in print! 

Email our Arts & Culture Editor Emma Bell for more information at artsculture@theconcordian.com.

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News Photo Essay

Picketers lead ‘shame convoy’ with Legault mannequin

Photos from Thursday: ‘Shame Convoy’

Photos from Wednesday: Classroom picketing

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Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

Artist Spotlight: India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner is a Black bi-racial artist, writer, curator and cultural worker from  Montreal. She is currently completing her BFA in Art History and Studio Arts at Concordia  University.

India-Lynn has previously had her writing published in the FOFA Gallery’s Undergraduate Student Exhibition Journal (USE) 2021. Most recently, her work has been shown at Fais-moi l’art gallery in May 2023 in a co-curated exhibition called “Tenderly Reminiscing.” India-Lynn was also a  facilitator/curator for the 2022 Art Matters Festival. She was the artistic and community alliances coordinator at La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse throughout 2022, producing La Centrale’s first digital publication, “[espace variable | placeholder]”. She is now a happy librarian and admin/finance coordinator at the Fine Arts Reading Room of Concordia University.

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree. Photo by BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner

I walked around downtown Montreal with a small tree (money plant) in my backpack, and wore plant netting and gardening gloves. It is a commentary on urban planning and its lack of care for trees, reinserting them into cities for aesthetics rather than for their true purpose. I’m employing a playful take on the commodification of nature, asking what it means when I become a tree and wear nature as an accessory. 

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner
India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree. Photo by BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner
India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree. Photo by BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner
Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

Poetry Spotlight: Jessica Wood

Jessica Wood is a second-year in creative writing student at Concordia University. A writer her whole life, she particularly enjoys writing creative non-fiction, poetry, and autofiction.

Originally from Vancouver Island, BC, she has been in Montreal for a year and a half and has loved every minute of it. This is the first publication of her writing, and she hopes it will be the first of many.

Graphic by Maya Robitaille-Lopez

In the Dead of Winter (I Can Feel Okay Again!)

maybe 

in the dead of winter I can feel okay again. 

this week is already better! I’m tentatively hopeful, and defiantly confident that 

in the dead of winter, I can feel okay again. 

sure, my heating bill is higher than my friends, who warm their hands on a shared joint, shivering together like molecules as they puff and pass. 

and even though I don’t smoke, I’m standing out there too 

in the dead of winter. I can feel okay again! 

even though 

-my laundry freezes on the walk home (the laundromat dryers eat my quarters and spit out no hot air in return) 

-there’s salt water rings around my boots (I am using all of my towels to block off drafty windows) 

-I have to shovel the stairs if I want to get groceries (I pretend I’m a penguin, imploring myself to laugh when I slip on the sidewalk) 

I am hopeful. and I am confident. 

in the dead of winter, I can feel okay again.

Jessica Wood


Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

Poetry Spotlight: Steven Gao

Born in Jinan, China, and now living in a small town on the west tip of the Montreal island, Steven draws inspiration from his roots and his observation of the world.

He writes his poetry in English, sometimes in Chinese. Gao currently studies history at Concordia University in history. He participated in Twigs & Leaves (a poetry reading event, now defunct) and continues to be a regular participant in another poetry/arts event, Kafé Poe. In his free time, Steven enjoys learning history and doing scale models, as well as photography.

Photo by Steven Gao

Yet Another Morning… Lost?

The sky is crooked, not like if it were smudged by clouds.

But I feel something’s off.

I see the reflection of the lake, reminding me of blinking fish scales.

At what scale?

– I don’t know.

But they flicker randomly.

Should you trust me with a pinch of salt?

My measuring is off, so is the sky, yet the light is on.

Confused indeed.

Is it another day of hallucination?

Or mental condensation?

I still see ripples dancing.

I hear the morning piano go off key.

I smell the burnt coffee.

I feel the floor quaking.

Not again,

Everything goes off the charts!

Or am I trembling?

Ah! I forgot to adjust my lenses…

Photo by Steven Gao
Photo by Steven Gao
Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Community Student Life

This week’s opportunities for fine arts students

Looking to start building up your CV? Check out these upcoming opportunities for emerging artists, including callouts, job listings, networking events and more!

Discover

Éric Lamontagne’s “The nature of silent things” is currently on view at Art Mûr (5826, rue St-Hubert), and will be ongoing until Feb. 24. Lamontagne’s careful interventions into the surface of his landscape paintings raise some interesting questions regarding the nature of a painting as a mutable object.

OBORO gallery is currently showing “Disobedient Matter” as part of the second edition of Af-flux, Biennale transnationale noire. The group show was curated by Olivier Marboeuf and will be installed until March 16.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the McCord Stewart museum will be hosting a fashion show, co-curated by Armando Perla, chief curator at the Textile Museum of Canada, and Jason Baerg, multidisciplinary Métis artist and Indigenous futurist, titled “kisewâtisiw myootootow—S/he is Mercifully.” The show will take place throughout the museum’s galleries and will highlight and celebrate Indigenous creativity. Tickets are only $5 for students and free for members of Indigenous communities! 

Open Calls

The Mile End’s Gallery Diagonale is inviting curators, artists and theorists to submit their work for the gallery’s 2025-2026 programming. They are particularly interested in projects concerned with fibres. Submissions will be open until Feb. 29. Learn more about their guidelines on their website here

C Magazine has issued an invitation for its readers to submit 100-400-word letters to the editor in response to their most recent publication, issue 156 “CRAFT.” Letters that are selected will be published in the next issue coming out in the spring, and will earn a $100 honorarium. Send your letters to pitch@cmagazine.com by Feb. 25.

The call for applications for the Summer 2024 Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Awards (CUSRA) has been announced! The award, worth $8,120 for 15 weeks of full-time research, is meant to provide students with the opportunity to spend their summer working on a project supervised by a full-time faculty member. The deadline to submit your application materials is Feb. 26, and you can find more information here.

Opportunities at The Concordian!

Want to see your artwork featured in the paper? Submit to the Concordian Arts & Culture section! Our artist spotlight series provides a space for Concordia’s fine arts students to showcase their recent artwork. Send your poetry, photography, digital art, films, or documentation of physical works or performances along with a brief biography (100 words) and an artist’s statement (250 words) to artsculture@theconcordian.com for a chance to be featured in print! 

Are you a graphic designer or illustrator? We are looking for artists to create original illustrations to accompany our creative writing submissions. If you are interested in illustrating poetry, prose, short fiction and creative nonfiction, please submit up to five examples of your work to artsculture@theconcordian.com to be considered for assignments.

Email our Arts & Culture Editor Emma Bell for more information at artsculture@theconcordian.com

Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Community Student Life

Student Organized Day of Screenings: Rethinking Palestine Through Films

Don’t miss the films screened during Concordia art history student-organised week of events for Palestine.

On the week of Jan. 29, a group of Concordian art history students organised a week of events for Palestine. Their intention was to host meaningful sites of horizontal solidarity, seeking to platform Palestinian artists and stories of resistance in conversation with decolonial art histories and artworks.

Their events included a teach-in on Jan. 29, with Palestinian artists Jenin Yaseen and Sameerah Ahmad, whose work was briefly censored from the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibition Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery, which opened on Oct. 28, for its depictions of Muslim mourning traditions and the presence of Palestinian subjects. The works of Jewish artists were also removed from display. Following an 18-hour action of solidarity where the artists and 50 supporters rallied outside the museum to challenge its censorship, the pieces were reinstalled. However, the museum placed warnings and context panels next to the artists’ works. 

At the date of this article’s publication the group will host a Day of Film Screenings in collaboration with Raah lab, Raah, a research lab aiming to examine the intersection of migratory processes and media practices, entitled “Decolonizing Memory: Heritage, Displacement and Narratives of Resistance.” The films will screen in Raah Fab, FB. 630.17. Not sure which screening to attend, or missed one you were interested in? Here are details about each screening:

12:30-2pm: The Truth: Lost at Sea (dir. Rifat Audeh, 2017) is an award-winning film that discusses the Israeli attack on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, consisting of a convoy of six civilian boats from various nations, including Canada, carrying humanitarian aid. The Freedom Flotilla refused Israel’s demand to turn away as they neared Gaza on international waters, and were raided by Israeli Occupation Forces in an overnight attack. Numerous unarmed civilian human rights activists were killed, and the film details the story of this attack and its resulting media coverage from the perspective of one of the survivors. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director, moderated by Claire Begbie, a PhD candidate in film studies at Concordia. 

3-4:30pm: A series of short films by Forensic Architecture, a research agency, based in Goldsmiths, University of London, which investigates human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. The featured shorts focus on investigations of Palestine/Israel, including:  Conquer and Divide (2019),  Living Archeology in Gaza (2022), Executions and mass graves in Tantura, 23 May 1948 (2023), Destruction and Return in Al-Araqib (2017), Sheikh Jarrah: Ethnic Cleansing in Jerusalem (2021), and Herbicidal Warfair in Gaza (2019). These films employ cutting-edge techniques in spatial and architectural analysis, open source investigation, digital modelling, and immersive technologies, as well as documentary research, situated interviews, and academic collaboration to discuss the history and current situation in Palestine. The screening will be preceded by a presentation on Forensic Architecture by guest Dr. Tracy Valcourt.

5-6pm: Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (dir. Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, 2019) discusses the treatment of plundered objects in European museums and asylum seekers in the same European countries. Arguing these migrations are interrelated, the film juxtaposes the generous hospitality stolen objects receive by the same countries who deny entry and care to people to whom the objects truly belong. Un-Documented articulates the power of material culture as a bastion of human rights, illuminating the violence of plunder and the urgency of repatriation. This screening will be introduced by art history doctorate student, Alexandra Nordstrom.

6:30-8pm: La Piedra Ausente (The Absent Stone) (dir.  Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner, 2013), which details the 1964 theft of the Tlaloc stone, the largest carved stone of the Americas from the town of Coatlinchan to the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. The film explores the importance of so-called ruins of the past in the present day, to shore up the living injury of extraction, the technologies of violence, and the construction of nationalism. This screening will be introduced by art history masters candidate, Karina Roman Justo.

The remainder of the week of action include a Day of Action, including zine making and letter writing, on Jan. 31; a group gallery tour of Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot’s Russia at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to critically engage aesthetics of resistance on Feb. 1; and a vigil in collaboration with Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) Concordia on Feb. 2. 

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