ACWR is happy to announce the beginning of our new program: New Voices.
New Voices is ACWR new 6 x 6-foot billboard located on the external wall of ArtSpeak gallery, right on the alleyway. The billboard, which features interchangeable letters, offers the possibility to showcase text-based exhibitions and experimental poetry installations. The focus of this program is to provide an outlet for underrepresented and marginalized voices in our community, including new generation artists, newcomer artists, artists of colour, indigenous artists, artists with disabilities, francophone artists, and 2SLGBTQ+ communities. The pilot program started in July 15th 2021 and showcased the work of five local artists from diverse backgrounds: Alexei Ungurenaşu, Jude Abu Zaineh, Luke Maddaford, Ostoro Petahtegoose and Anna Daliza.
In October of 2021 an open call to select four artists for the first semester of 2022 was made. Proposals from all over Canada were received and the jury* selected the works of Chidera Ikewibe, Tenzin Dorjé, Jade Wallace, and Mahlet Cuff. Their work will be installed in the billboard between January 15th and May 15th.
* The jury was composed by ACWR staff members Kaitlyn Karns and Alejandro Tamayo, and three artists from the pilot program: Jude Abu Zaineh, Alexei Ungurenaşu, and Ostoro Petahtegoose.
Jan. 15th, 2022- Feb. 15th, 2022
What is the significance of a name? Is it a placeholder? How important are they? In Igbo culture names hold meaning and are often portmanteaus of larger words to convey a new meaning and often embody characteristics parents see or want in their children. My name for example Chidera means: What God has written cannot be changed. While my last name Ikewibe means: We are stronger together. However, as with any translation, meaning is lost along the way and the nuances are lost in English.
In A(N) P(ART) OF ME! I aim to explore the meaning of a name and how it can both be a part of oneself and an artistic representation of oneself. Even the sign-off — which is my artist name — is a part of my full name composed of the English translation of two Nsibidi characters. “Chi” means soul and “Ike” means strength which I currently sign all my work under. Names are important even if they do not translate well from one language to another.
Bio:Chidera Ikewibe or CHI.IKE is an Igbo Nigerian Canadian artist and poet whose work often combines her experiences and cultural identity. Her works often incorporate NSIBIDI — an ideographic/pictographic writing system from the south-eastern region of Nigeria. Chidera was the OECTA winner for the senior playwriting competition for 2018 for a play she wrote about the Nigerian Civil War. When she is not making art she can be found listening to Kendrick Lamar, Kojey Radical, Fela and FKA Twigs who she sights as poetic inspirations.
Feb. 15th, 2022 – March 15th, 2022
THE WORLD IS YOURS, serves as a playful attempt to strike at the notion of a human-centric and individualistic worldview and instead directs the viewer’s attention to the shared responsibility of all life on earth. The work addresses issues of inequity and environmental degradation that have borne from an emphasis on the individual to possible resolutions that might arise by embracing the commonality and interconnectedness of all life. By displaying the letters on a billboard, the work also challenges the nature of our public spaces which are increasingly dominated by commercial advertisements, influencing the motivations and behaviour of people that inhabit these spaces.
Tenzin Dorjé (b.1989, Kathmandu, Nepal) is an artist of Tibetan descent currently based in Toronto. His works explore the relationship between people and their built environments, as well as notions of faith, place and memory.
Dorjé completed an MFA in Documentary Media at Ryerson University in 2021.
March 15th, 2022- April 15th, 2022
Jade Wallace (they/them) is a writer of poetry, fiction, and essays, which have been published or are forthcoming in literary journals across Canada, the USA, England, Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand, and India, including in This Magazine, Canadian Literature, and The Stockholm Review. Wallace is the author of several solo and collaborative chapbooks and their debut full-length poetry collection, Love Is A Place But You Cannot Live There, is forthcoming from Guernica Editions in 2023. Wallace’s work has received support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Windsor, has won the Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize, Coastal Shelf‘s Funny & Poignant Poetry Contest, and the Anita and Alistair MacLeod Prize, has been a finalist for the Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Contest and the Writers of the Future Contest, and has been nominated for The Journey Prize. Wallace is currently the reviews editor for CAROUSEL, an organizing member of Draft Reading Series, and a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada and The League of Canadian Poets. Wallace is also the co-founder of the collaborative writing entity MA|DE, whose most recent work, A Trip to the ZZOO (Collusion Books 2020), was shortlisted for the 2021 bpNichol Chapbook Award
Hello, Traveller provides a radical counterpoint to the typical function of a billboard. Ordinarily,
a billboard treats its viewer as a consumer —of products, of information, etc. The creator of
the billboard wants to persuade the viewer to engage in way that the billboard’s creator can
benefit from. By contrast, the message of Hello, Traveller is an offering to the viewer without
any expectation of return. It brings tenderness and intimacy into a typically professionalized
and formulaic public space.
Like most billboards, the text of Hello, Traveller is dynamic, changing according to a weekly
schedule. Normally, billboards use this variability to advertise limited-time offers and other
ephemera. Hello, Traveller, instead, builds a narrative week by week. It offers dynamic
continuity, creating an ongoing relationship between the viewer and the text.
April 15th, 2022 – May 15th, 2022
Mahlet Cuff is an emerging interdisciplinary artist and curator producing work through audiovisual storytelling. Using analog and digital photography, found and generated recordings, they explore subjects of healing, memory and collective care to question relationships between kin and the relationship they have with themselves. Cuff draws inspiration from the idea of creating their own worlds, building and rebuilding what it means to generate bonds with one another. Her collaborations as a curator include showcasing work for the Patterns Collective, Vtape, Take Home BIPOC Arts House as well as for the Window Winnipeg exhibition “Joy is more than just a feeling.” Their work has been shown locally and nationally.
The act of being remembered is one that is taken for granted. I have had the opportunity to be able to be in community with other Black queer people, Black queer from the diaspora, etc. I have this understanding as a Black queer person, it is a privilege to have access to people that share space with others that have intersecting identities parallel to one another. In the years I have been able to be in conversation with others and learn from folks it has come to my knowledge that is not the case for everyone. As well as, even though that some people do have the chance to connect with another there is an erasure of Black queer people in the prairies.
In “When we are forgotten, who will remember us?” is encouraging the activation of remembering and when those communities are erased what impact does that have on future generations but also the ones living in the present. Although this text has a specific intention about who is being erased, I want the viewer to think of the significance of erasure and how that applies to other communities as well.
May 15th, 2022- June 15th, 2022
Teajai Travis, the current Executive Director of Artcite Inc., is an Afro/Indigenous descendant of over/underground railroad travellers, and like his ancestors, he is a child of the stars. Charged with an ancestral calling to conjure spells from coded words patterned in heirloom stories, Travis uses rhythmic words patterns in his poetry to carry wor(L)ds from one generation to the next. His practice as a keeper of story is to translate the multi-dimensional axes of energetic language into expressions of rhythmic tapestries that extract periodic elements from constellational landscapes. Travis’ interest in language construction as an ancestral mapping system and the vibrational matter of the spoken word inspire his cosmic investigation into the theory of “As above, also below” and “As within, also without”. His previous works The Madness in My Mind 2007, 7th Realm/Abstract Element 2010, Born Enslaved: A Freedom Story 2016, Growing Up Mixed 2019 and currently 13 Poems reveal a theme of esotericism and a continued interest in the ancestral science of creation. The art of storytelling provides a generational wealth of truth and knowledge but most important – imagination and mystery. Teajai utilizes the utility of his craft to channel the fragmented imprints of his ancestors, lending his voice to their teachings. He considers his work to act as a channel (when chosen) to communicate on behalf of his relations.
“trees remember the sins of a city”
Is a reminder/acknowledgement/warning of nature’s collective memory, and how we are ancestrally connected to both the creation and destruction of our shared environment. The ideals of progress negate the consequences of eco imbalance, and following centuries of environmental disrespect, eco genocide has become normalized in the collective consciousness of humxn habitants, occupying over developed landscapes. “Trees Remember the Sins of a City” performs as a mantra of accountability and cautionary tale concerning disappearing green spaces and what that means for the future of our relations. Trees are connected to a Wood Wide Web (www.) That existed in a world before us and will likely be around long after us.
Fruit for Thought 😉
12 Words from 12 Songs
Dec. 15th, 2021 – Jan. 15th, 202
12 Words from 12 Songs was created by the staff of ACWR, Alejandro Tamayo and Kaitlyn Karns. While a holiday-themed message is the perceived go-to around this time, the ACWR staff wanted to find a way to support local artists and specifically, local musicians. At ACWR, all artists from all disciplines are supported and this is just one small way to bring the Windsor- Essex music community into the New Voices project. As an audience member, we encourage you to engage with this word search and with the associated musicians and songs selected. The list of songs is linked below for easy listening and engagement.
If you are passing by ACWR, we encourage you to take a photo of the installation and complete the word search. The list of words is made of one word from the title of each song found in our New Voices playlist! All of the songs selected are by artists from Windsor-Essex and were released in 2021.
Words to find are:
BRIEF, WATER, CAUGHT, SLEEP, WHY, BAY, REALIZE, SUNSHINE, RESPECS, COSMIC, VIRAL, TIME
New Voices Playlist
*Click the track name to listen*!
Brief Ends– The Bishop Boys
Muddy Water– Madeline Doornaert
Caught in a Cigarette Drag– Humble John
Losing Sleep– Allesandro
Why– Crissi Cochrane
Georgian Bay– Huttch
Hope You Realize– Mellodraw
Sunshine– Dane Roberts featuring Lisha Racquelle
Free Respecs – switchCase
Cosmic Rhythm – Joy de Bruyn
Viral Load – Justin James
And Time Began To Flow– Quiet i
November 15th – December 15th, 2021
Please accept Artist Bio as a self-criticism as much as it is a criticism of the identity politics of contemporary arts culture.
When I apply for arts funding or write a proposal for an exhibition, in the small space I’m given to bare my soul—usually a text box with a character limit—I am faced with a choice: How much space do I apportion to my art and how much do I devote to my identity?
Now with funding bodies and exhibition spaces creating unique opportunities for underrepresented and marginalized voices, artists like myself are given priority. But it’s also artists like myself who give in return social cachet to those same financiers. The institutions know, as well as we, that their support of marginalized artists protects them from the scrutiny to which they are typically susceptible. That scrutiny being, they are usually white, capitalist institutions funding the work of white, rich artists.
The more an artist’s work can distract from the institutions’ support history, the more they are spotlighted. As a result, marginalized artists have begun, though perhaps somewhat unconsciously or as means of survival, to focus the subject of their work on their identity. For example, as a writer who is also Lebanese and Transgender, in the last two years I have not once considered the possibility of writing a story completely separate from either of those identities.
I admit that I have exploited my own identities for the financial support of capitalist institutions.
While identity is certainly relevant to some artists’ work, and is often central to my own writing, it does not tell the full story. In most cases, to lead with my identity is the most hollow introduction I could give myself. So, furthermore I would like to reintroduce myself as a writer who is trying to find the words to describe myself and my work.
Anna Daliza, writer, educator and multidisciplinary artist, was born in Southwestern Ontario to an Anglo-Canadian father and Lebanese mother.
In Anna’s latest work, Where Grape Leaves Grow, she combines historical non-fiction and her maternal family’s origin story, tracing her religious minority, Maronite Catholics, from their ancestry in Mount Lebanon to their eventual exodus from the Middle-East, finally connecting to her own life and upbringing in Canada.
Anna is a transgender woman who also works as a model and editorial creative director. Though embracing her identity has at times meant defying her cultural upbringing, her work celebrates the beauty and joy of their unconventional marriage
October 15th-November 15th, 2021
Indigenous identity is joy and humour, not just pain and suffering. For myself, I am reaching for that joy and humour even in learning the language I should have always known my whole life. In Ga-waabmigoo – We’ll see you, I play on a list of of interjections and colloquial expressions found in a Lexicon for Students of Nishnaabemwin by Mary Ann Corbiere to create a light- hearted, one-sided dialogue intended to play on the function of a sign. Learning language and going back to our cultural ways means prioritizing and seeking communal connections with others, and as a beginning learner of Nishnaabemwin, the hopes to connect with others is always there, always waiting, always something to look forward to – and in reference to Luke Maddaford’s “You Can Always Find a Good Time in Windsor,” can be a good time. The journey of reclaiming our languages and identities is a journey of healing, hopefully one that we all will be ready for at some point during our stay here. Giin go – it’s up to you.
Shtaa haa! Maajaan Nishke!
Mii go mno-pii Gegeti nnaagaas Giin go
Holy smokes! Come over here Look!
That’s a good time I can hardly wait It’s up to you
You can order a limited edition tote bag of “Ga-waabmigoo – We’ll see you” HERE
Ostoro Petahtegoose is a biracial, Nishinaabe of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek with European descent, born and raised in the traditional territories of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, comprised of the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawatomie, also known in Anishinaabe as Waawiiye’adinong (the place where the river bends – Windsor, Ontario) as just one of its place names. Ostoro is an Indigiqueer, transgender, nonbinary writer, Goldsmith and multi-media artist who goes by “they/them” pronouns. Ostoro is attending the University of Windsor to finish their English and Creative Writing and Visual Arts BA and was the BIPOC Artist in Residence at Artcite in August of 2020. In June 2021 Ostoro was given a grant through the Arts Culture and Heritage Fund to work on a research project on the Indigenous history of Windsor/Essex county to use in an anthology of short ghost stories. In Ostoro’s personal and professional life they continue to work at finding meaningful ways to connect back to their Indigenous identity through the work of building relations and learning their cultural language Nishnaabemwin, all while being obsessed with themes of hauntings, ghosts and land.
September 15th-October 15th, 2021
Aren’t we all just looking for a good time? Playing into the form and function of the sign, the installation You Can Always Find A Good Time In Windsor rewards the viewer with an interactive experience that encourages new forms of engagement and reminds them that you can always find a good time in Windsor.
You can order a limited edition tote bag of “You Can Always Find A Good Time In Windsor” HERE
Luke Maddaford is a Canadian artist and curator interested in exploring identity, placemaking, and Queer histories and futures. Much of his current research revolves around regionality and the Queer use of space. He has exhibited throughout Canada and holds a Diploma in Visual Art and Design from Keyano College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art + Design, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Art from the University of Windsor. He currently lives in Windsor, ON, where he founded LEFT Contemporary and co-edits off centre.
Jude Abu Zaineh
August 15th-September 15th, 2021Artist Statement:Where do we go from here? أين نذهب من هنا؟ is a call to action to mobilize collective and community efforts in search for better futures and ways to move forward; to look introspectively on personal measures one can take to improve; and to pause and reflect on the state of current affairs.I often ask myself this question when considering the ways my existing and new communities can mutually affect and instill meaningful change in each other.
Jude Abu Zaineh is a Palestinian-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker. Her practice relies on the use of art, food, and technology to investigate meanings of culture, displacement, diaspora, and belonging. She examines ideals of home and community while working to develop aesthetics rooted in her childhood and upbringing in the Middle East.
Abu Zaineh is the recipient of the 2020 William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emering Artists, and was one of the first selected artists to participate in a collaborative residency with the Ontario Schience Centre and MOCA Toronto (Canada). She has presented her work nationally and internationally including Cultivamos Cultura, São Luis, Portugal; Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon, Portugal; Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City, Mexico; SVA, NYC, USA; Forest City Gallery, London, Canada; Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada; with forthcoming exhibitions at Centre Culturel Canadian, Paris, France; and the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Canada.
Abu Zaineh received an MFA from the University of Windsor (Canada) and is currently pursuing her PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselar Polytechnic Institute (NY, USA) as a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. She maintains an active studio practice between upstate NY, USA and Windsor-Essex, Canada.
July 15th-August 15th, 2021
With my installation Hold, Twist, Release, I embrace the billboard’s spatial constraints. These are the actions and images that matter the most to me right now; since I can only fit two or three words per line, I carefully picked these words as one would pick flowers for a bouquet. I used the space that was “left” to suggest a story in this poem as well as to mark my temporary presence in this space.
You can order a limited edition tote bag of “Hold, Twist, Release” HERE
Alex-Andrei “Alexei” Ungurenaşu writes from the perspective of an outsider-become-insider. As a Romanian-Canadian artist living in Windsor, ON, they craft poems, zines, paintings, and collages summoning the various places where they lived and visited. Writing started as a hobby for Alexei, and it eventually led to them becoming Windsor’s youth poet laureate for 2021-23. Alexei draws much inspiration from their studies in literature and philosophy, with existentialism and romanticism serving as direct influences. In their poems, Alexei uses words to bridge the distance – be it physical, emotional, or temporal – between themselves and the places, people, and moments that they miss. When they aren’t reading or writing, Alexei seeks ways of staying involved in the local arts community. They are a member of the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective, and they often run events with the Art Gallery of Windsor and the University of Windsor’s Humanities Research Group.
June 15th – July 15th, 2021
With this message the ACWR staff wanted to welcome the beginning of the New Voices program. During the time of the exhibition, letters from the message disappeared gradually, until the billboard became empty and ready for the first artist who was commissioned to develop work for the billboard, Alexei Ungurenaşu.