Whess Harman, Mariana Muñoz Gomez, Florence Yee, Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot

Curated by Christina Hajjar

School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba

April 1 to May 14, 2021

To be living in a diaspora, away from the lands of our lineage creates a generative longing that is stubbornly, rightfully unquenchable. Instead of characterizing longing through the void, cause to become engages memory, imagination, and rumination as processes that generate alternative life paths, self-determined and with creative defiance. Through criticality and sentimentality, the aesthetic practices of queer diaspora “disorient and reorient us”—as scholar Gayatri Gopinath puts it—representing liminality and states of suspension as active, productive, disruptive sites.

To “cause to become” is to render. Being a queer, trans, or Two-Spirit Black, Indigenous, or person of colour in a hostile world necessitates art-making as a validating method of identity exploration, intimacy, and world-building. This group exhibition brings together works in various media ranging from Super 8 film and CMYK screen printing to typography, poetry, and embroidery. Artists Whess Harman, Mariana Muñoz Gomez, Florence Yee, and Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot demonstrate the value in remembering, imagining, or anticipating home or place, and constructing alternative modes of becoming.

Presented with the support of the Government of Canada through the Young Canada Works program, Building Careers in Heritage.

See more information and read the curatorial essay.

Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora: A Lecture by Dr. Gayatri Gopinath

April 15, 2021

Watch the saved lecture.

mapping elsewhere: A Reading by Mariana Muñoz Gomez 

May 6, 2021

Watched the saved reading.

Christina Hajjar

Christina Hajjar is a queer femme first-generation Lebanese-Canadian artist, writer, and cultural worker. Her artistic and curatorial interests deal with diaspora, defiance, body archives, cultural artifacts, labour, and place. She is a 2020 PLATFORM Photography Award winner, co-founder of Carnation Zine, and creator of a recently published solo zine, Diaspora Daughter, Diaspora Dyke. Learn more at @garbagebagprincess and https://christinahajjar.com/. 

Whess Harman

Whess Harman is Carrier Wit’at, and currently lives and works on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh as an artist as well as a Curator for grunt gallery. Their multidisciplinary practice includes beading, illustration, text, and poetry. As a mixed-race, trans/non-binary artist they work to find their way through anxiety and queer melancholy with humour and a carefully mediated cynicism that the galleries go hog wild for.

Mariana Muñoz Gomez

Mariana Muñoz Gomez is a Latinx artist, writer, curator, and settler of colour based on Treaty 1 Territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their work is concerned with language, place, identity, diaspora, and displacement within post- and settler colonial contexts. Her lens-based practice involves a variety of media including text works, screenprints, and photography. Mariana works collaboratively with a number of collectives including Carnation Zine and window winnipeg.

Florence Yee

Florence Yee is a Cantonese-struggling visual artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal whose practice focuses on the intimacy of doubt through text-based art, sculpture, and textile installation. They are currently the Co-Director of Tea Base, a grassroots collective in Tkaronto’s Chinatown. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U. 

Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot

Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot is an artist and administrator who currently works and resides between Treaty 1 and Treaty 4 territories. They have received funding from municipal, provincial and national arts councils as well as awards from local and transnational arts organizations. Their practice engages with themes of place and it’s abstraction from a diasporic, queer and feminist perspective. Currently, they are the Executive Director at the Saskatchewan Filmpool, Co-Director of WNDX Festival of Moving Image and guest editor of the forthcoming Art&Wonder publication.