(Dis)Placed: A Virtual Artist Spotlight and Talk Series

January 15 - February 11 2021


The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is home to many diasporic communities. Approximately half of the region’s current population was born outside of Canada—making the region a natural place for meaningful discussions on the complexities of movement, language, and community belonging. What does it mean to be Canadian, when Canada has become a crossroad for such a rich diversity of peoples? Are traditional definitions of “home” meant to be challenged, reconciled, stretched, or embraced in our current geopolitical context? In 2021, Greenwood engages with contemporary discourses in Ontario’s diasporic experience. (Dis)placed: A Virtual Artist Spotlight and Talk Series considers the fallout of westernization and the effects of displacement, cultural belonging, and visibility on our local communities. 

Greenwood’s forthcoming programming series takes the form of two artist talks hosted in tandem with a collection of four virtual artist spotlights. (Dis)Placed showcases the diverse and intergenerational interpretation of diaspora by artists and arts activists in the Greater Toronto Area. In response to a year of unprecedented events, Greenwood— an initiative led by Blackwood Gallery Work-Study students— considers the importance of providing a space for emerging voices to grapple with cultural movement and belonging complexities. (Dis)Placed invites emerging and mid-career artists to unpack these present-day experiences, activating various perspectives on space, belonging, and place in our communities. 


We at Greenwod recognize (Dis)Placed as an opportunity to examine, learn, and unlearn traditional definitions of diaspora in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. For this reason, we have complied a list of resources that influenced our direction – a collection of works that process themes of cultural belonging, identity, assimilation, and intergenerational doubt in North America. It is our hope that this small sampling proves insightful, tying together traditional and contemporary discourses on the subject:

  • Dionne Brand, What We All Long For (Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2005). 
  • Jana Evans Braziel and Anita Mannur, Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003).
  • Judith M. Brown, Global South Asians: Introducing the Modern Diaspora (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). 
  • Roger Brubaker, “Revisiting ‘The ‘Diaspora’ Diaspora,’” Ethnic and Racial Studies 40, no. 9 (2017), 1556–1561.
  • James Clifford, “Diasporas,” Cultural Anthropology 9, no. 3 (Aug. 1994), 302-338.
  • Robin Cohen and Caroline Fischer, Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018). 
  • Sneja Gunew, “Serial Accommodations,” Canadian Literature no. 196 (2008), 6-16.
  • Media Farzin, “The Imaginary Elsewhere: How Not to Think about Diasporic Art,” Bidoun, originally published in Summe 2012.
  • Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, [Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, (1925) 1992].
  • Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora,” in Jonathan Rutherford (ed.) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1990), 222-237.
  • Smaro Kamboureli, Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2009).
  • Jacques Khalip, Anonymous Life: Romanticism and Dispossession (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).
  • Saloni Mathur, The Migrant’s Time: Rethinking Art History and Diaspora (Williamstown: The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2011).
  • Linda Nochlin, “Art and the Conditions of Exile: Men/Women, Emigration/Expatriation,” Poetics Today 17, no. 3 (Autumn 1996), 317-337.
  • Kobena Mercer, Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (Boston: MIT Press, 2008).
  • Edward W. Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002). 
  • Tahseen Shams, Here, There, and Elsewhere: The Making of Immigrant Identities in a Globalized World (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020).
  • University of Toronto’s Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies, Between, Across, and Through, Podcast, October 1, 2019 – ongoing.

Acknowledgements


The members of Greenwood UTM would like to thank all of our contributors for generously sharing their work and trust with us throughout the production of (Dis)Placed. With full hearts, we thank Shaheer Zazai, Idil Djafer, Florence Yee, and Abedar Kamgari for their continued cooperation, patience, and enthusiasm. We are honoured to reach and represent artists with such a rich diversity of backgrounds. We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Blackwood Gallery staff for their generous guidance throughout this series' production. Our final thanks are to Greenwood's growing digital audience. It is through your viewership that we are able to continue elevating emerging student and mid-career voices from our local community. We cannot thank you enough for your generous support.

With gratitude, 
–Greenwood UTM, the Fall 2020 - Winter 2021 Blackwood Gallery Work Study Team

Muskoka Dittmar-Mccallum, New Media Assistant
Nancy Hamdy, Outreach Assistant
Megan Kammerer, Collections Assistant  
Nicholas Markowski, Outreach Assistant
Jessica Velasco, Collections Assistant
Anila Wahid, New Media Assistant