This past spring the Latcham Gallery offered an open call to artist across Ontario, looking for artwork that engages with the themes of activism and advocacy. We wanted to offer a space for artists whose work challenges the status quo, speaking to issues that impact their own lives and the lives of those around them. The resulting exhibition entitled, Performing Action: Portraits of Protest, connects the works of Joyce Crago, Christina Margaretha, Cheryl Pagurek and Lorraine Parow who each offer their own perspective on what it looks like to take action and make oneself visible. The works are primarily lens-based, still and moving images that play with the constructs of their chosen medium. The exhibition title responds to the performative aspect that runs through these respective works, where the act of protest is paramount.
Joyce Crago’s abstract assemblages of objects left behind from sites of protest are arranged and presented to ask questions and tell stories about an experience and the people involved. Christina Margaretha’s self-portraiture in the context of the nature, explore womanhood and the reclamation of the Devine feminine. Cheryl Pagurek’s video work carefully stitches together contemporary global news footage, projected into a porcelain tea cup, looking at the expressions of protest around the world through an intimate, delicate vessel. We can see the shared body language of protest, the power of gathered bodies, but the fine china also reminds us of the fragile, breakable human element. Lorraine Parow's mosaic of 23 small documentary photos presented in the shape of the Venus symbol captures the result of a participatory event at a women’s festival that seeks to use positive messaging to empower and inspire. The sculptural element of the assembled photos plays with signs and symbols, inviting the viewer in, to work through the messages and ideas of hope and change.
The performance involved with making oneself visible is an element that connects these unique and compelling works and the notion of taking action and challenging existing systems of power couldn’t be more timely.
The exhibition will run from July 5 – August 18, 2018
Image: Installation view