View Loser, a collaborative exhibition by Tkaronto/Toronto-based artists Amanda Boulos and Shannon Garden-Smith, is an intersectional conversation between the forms of displacement at the heart of their practices: respectively, the politics of land and politics of housing. This conversation came together over several years of collaborative practice built on the artists’ shared interest in architecture’s ability to sustain lack and loss. Together, Boulos and Garden-Smith explore how architectures can be deployed in the disappearance of certain people and their histories.

Boulos’s paintings depict family memories of Palestinian life, and of her family’s journey fleeing from Palestine to Lebanon in the late 1940s, and its subsequent flight from Lebanon due to the Lebanese Civil War. From Boulos’s millennial perspective, a defining characteristic of the Israeli occupation is the existential logic of the wall. In her paintings, walls often appear in shallow relief of the picture plane—space is punctuated, views are lost. The interruptive function of these walls reverses their solidness, rendering them in the paintings as something akin to voids: ambivalent holes in the viewer’s line of sight.

Garden-Smith extends this project of refusal, reversal, and voiding to the hidden politics of our living spaces, and, by extension, the background conditions of everyday life and its economic underpinnings. Taking décor as her point of entry, Garden-Smith exerts stress on interstitial bits of architecture—its thresholds and margins—and places accents on our habitual experiences of these interstices. Staged as an architectural intervention, Garden-Smith’s arched, threaded rock façade and eccentric window blind sculptures mirror, double, reflect, and reverse the walls, arches, and edifices in Boulos’s paintings. In their precarious dramatization of controlled spaces, they also amplify the paintings’ sense of fugitivity.

May 27, 2022, noon to 1:30 PM (MDT)

Panel: The Shape of Displacement and Counter-Resistance: Housing Crisis Across Palestine and Canada

featuring Martine August, Alice Lam, Dania Majid, and Yara Shoufani, organized by Amanda Boulos and Shannon Garden-Smith

In conjunction with Amanda Boulos and Shannon Garden-Smith’s two-person exhibition View Loser, this panel engages questions of settlement, gentrification, and housing crisis across Palestine and Canada.  

Broadly reflecting on how built structure can hide or dislocate unwanted communities for new developments deemed “safer,” “cleaner,” or more “efficient,” this discussion brings together housing justice scholars, activists, and organizers to explore the specific, local dynamics and transnational continuities of displacement and counter-resistance.

Speaking to patterns of separation and the hyper-financialization of housing across sites the exhibition is connected to—namely Mohkínstsis/Calgary and Tkaranto/Toronto, Canada, and Palestine—the panel considers interventions into imperial, capitalist expansion, asking how we can share and sustain the lands we inhabit.

Full Curatorial Essay Here

Photos: Katy Whitt

A big thank you to Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council for making this project possible! 

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