Exhibitions on Campus

We invite you to attend the following exciting exhibitions during the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, each located at the University of Toronto.

Archiving Public Sex
April 29 – June 28,  2014
University of Toronto Art Centre, University College Building (15 King’s College Circle)

A Featured Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 

Archiving Public Sex highlights materials from the Sexual Representation Collection of the Marc S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

Photography, video, event posters, press releases, pulp novels and more will provide audiences the opportunity to consider when, why, and how sex has become public, and under what terms. The exhibition will focus chiefly on the large public events staged in Toronto, specifically the Feminist Porn Awards and Morpheous Bondage Extravaganza. It also features the documentation of many artistic and activist interventions, as well as materials related to the Canadian Committee Against Censorship – an organization which fought to perserve access to sexual materials in Canada. Archiving Public Sex will introduce participants to the wide variety of issues relating to sexual representations; what sex is publically encouraged, celebrated, restricted or permitted within the context of a prevailing social climate. In turn, Archiving Public Sex demonstrates the importance of preserving key records and archival ephemera.

Warning: This exhibition contains nudity and explicit sexuality.

Curated by Nicholas Matte, Curator of the Sexual Representation Collection, with Lisa Kadey and by Master of Museum Studies Students: Jessica Martin and Ana Martins.

Archiving Public Sex Opening Event: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
University of Toronto Art Centre, University College Building (15 King’s College Circle)

“Inspired by Pecha-Kucha: A Series of Mini-Talks by Artists and Activists featured in Archiving Public Sex”

6-7pm: Mini-Talks on Exhibit Items by Artists and Activists
7-9pm: Discussion and reception

RSVP to: utac.rsvp@utoronto.ca
Please note that this is a licensed (19+) event and featured nudity and explicit sexuality.

Incident Light: gendered artifacts and traces illuminated in the archives
May 25 – July 27, 2014
Opening Sunday May 25th, 3 – 6 PM
Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road, Missassauga ON

Participating Artists: Tara Najd Ahmadi & Hannah Darabi*, Ala Dehghan*, Maryam Jafri, Jumana Manna, Nahed Mansour, The Otolith Group, Tejal Shah

*works commissioned by Azar Mahmoudian

In photography, the term incident light refers to both the source emitting the direct light which illuminates a subject, as well as secondary sources which redirect light onto it to reveal unseen details. This exhibition features artists based in South Asia, Middle East, North America and Europe whose works, in various registers, address the presence and absence of women and gender narratives from collective national memories. The exhibition questions the authority that nationalist historiographies hold in relation to their subjects through a repositioning of the cultural artifacts from various historical depositories, and a redirected focus on gender and sexuality. The participating artists will present works that re-imagine regional and inter-regional pasts and elaborate on the ways in which gender-marked bodies actively conceal and reveal themselves to the archives. Building new stories from fragmented knowledge, the exhibition harnesses generative forces that anticipate, foresee and fantasize about what could have been.

Curated by Leila Pourtavaf

KWE!  Rebecca Belmore Solo Exhibition
May 15 – August 16, 2014
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, 7 Hart House Circle

KWE delves into the complicated and fertile relationship between Indigeneity, art and feminism. Kwe (woman in Anishinaabe) is a term of respect and marks out a territory of cultural resurgence. KWE asks: What does the cultural specificity of Anishinaabe add to or change when we consider the meanings of being and becoming woman? Belmore’s artistic practice has always engaged the question of what it is to be an Anishinaabe-kwe artist and the contradictions that arise between the different identities: Woman, Anishinaabe, Artist, and Indigenous person. Belmore’s photography, sculptures and performances assert what it is to be an Anishinaabe-kwe artist. Violence against Indigenous women as well as their power and perseverance has been the subject of much of her work. Belmore engages her family stories on the role of women while keeping Indigenous self-determination central. Belmore’s insightful and aesthetically beautiful critiques play with the patriarchal present underscoring the need for an understanding of colonialism within feminisms today.

Rebecca Belmore is a Winnipeg-based multi-disciplinary artist from Upsala, Ontario.  In 2013 she won the Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts. She gained internationally acclaim at the Venice Biennale’s Canadian Pavilion where she was the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada. Belmore has exhibited and performed internationally and nationally since 1987.

Curated by Wanda Nanibush

“Not Behaving Like Ladies”: An Anecdotal History of Women’s Participation at Hart House
March 5, 2014 – on
The Great Hall,
Hart House (7 Hart House Circle)

This exhibition project explores the history of women’s involvement at Hart House through interviews with a group of twenty-five women who lived through and led its transitions. Hart House did not admit women until 1972, and the project chronicles the movement of women on the margins through their introduction as full members who now participate in every aspect of Hart House life.  The exhibition displays portraits and interviews from a variety of Hart House alumni, including Wardens Louise Cowin and Margaret Hancock, journalist Linda McQuaig and Anne of Green Gables costume designer Martha Mann. The project does not seek to provide an objective history of women at Hart House, but rather an anecdotal narrative highlighting diverse subjectivities and intersecting stories.

Curated by Mari Pack and Day Milman

Through the Body: Lens-based works by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists
April 29 – June 28
University of Toronto Art Centre, University College Building (15 King’s College Circle)

Participating Artists: Chen Zhe, Fang Lu, Ma Qiusha, Ye Funa, Fan Xi, Jin Hua, Li Xinmo, Lei Benben, Chun Hua Dong, and Ladybug Theatre

A Primary Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Focusing on lens-based practices, the exhibition is structured by the Chinese concept Ti Shi, which can be defined as the act of learning through bodily experience. This exhibition foregrounds contemporary Chinese women’s situations and articulates new gender identities informed by the rapid changes in China’s traditional values and social and economic structures.  Each artist creates works that make visible an emerging range of Chinese femininities and offers new models for the contemporary experience of Chinese women.

Curated by Fu Xiaodong, Matthew Brower and Yan Zhou

The State in the Bedroom: The Evolution of Reproductive Rights in Canada
March 31 – June 10, 2014
Robarts Library (130 St. George Street), 2nd floor, south portico

From the banning of contraception and abortion in 1892, to the decriminalization of birth control in 1969, to the Supreme Court’s decision in 1988 that deemed a woman’s right to choose a human right, to the involuntary sterilization programs of the 1950’s and 60’s, the struggle for reproductive rights in Canada has been one of the main struggles for human rights in the 20th century. This exhibit highlights documents from key moments in the legislative history of reproductive rights in Canada, primarily selected from the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library’s significant collection of government information. Items featured include reports, parliamentary debates, hearings, bills and statutes, zines and pamphlets, spanning from 1892 to the end of the 20th century. Robarts Library is the main humanities and social sciences library of the University of Toronto.

Curated by Patricia Bellamy, Jesse Carliner, Tina Sabourin, Nicholas Worby

werk: new gender histories
May 22-25, 2014
Robarts Library (130 St. George Street), Main Floor

This exhibit’s title, werk, references Queer slang for excellence and innovation as well as the fruit of new historians’ labour. Staged in honour of the arrival of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, this installation profiles emerging scholars who have expanded frontiers in gender history research at the University of Toronto. Each exhibit case profiles new scholars working with rare and distinctive texts, like Leila Pourtavaf’s analysis of Persian/ Iranian photograph collections from women in Nasser al-Din Shah’s harem and Camille Begin’s exploration of photographs of early 20th century Mexican-American food workers. Other cases feature historians who explore ways of showing and engaging the past, including Sarah Amato’s study of gendered iconography in Victorian taxidermy and Ponni Arasu’s use of video and performance to bring Tamil-speaking women’s transnational labour histories to audiences across the world. The gallery space is located on the main floor of Robarts Library (130 St. George Street). Admission is free.

Curated by Laurie K. Bertram

Translation coming soon.

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