ACWR is happy to announce the beginning of our new program: New Voices.
New Voices is our new 6 x 6-foot billboard located on the external wall of ArtSpeak gallery, right on the alleyway. The billboard, which features interchangeable letters, will be a place for language-based exhibitions and for concrete and experimental poetry installations. The initial 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.
Jan. 15th, 2022- Feb. 15th, 2022
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.
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.
Feb. 15th, 2022 – March 15th, 2022
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
April 15th, 2022 – June 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.
12 Words from 12 Songs
Dec. 15th, 2021 – Jan. 15th, 2022
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
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
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.
October 15th-November 15th, 2021
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.
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
September 15th-October 15th, 2021
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.
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
Jude Abu Zaineh
August 15th-September 15th, 2021
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.Artist 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.
July 15th-August 15th, 2021
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.
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
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.