Between Here and There
Featuring the work of our Art as a Tool for Change project artists Ethel Brown, Violet Drake, and Nasim Makaremi Nia, and curated by Bushra Junaid. Documentation by Marcel Brown and Ethel Brown of M + E photography can be found on this page below the exhibition text.
The gallery is open for walk-ins Friday and Saturday 12-5 PM, or by appointment on Wednesday and Thursday 12-5 PM. To book a viewing, email email@example.com one day in advance.
Limited to your steady bubble of up to 10 people. Please have your proof of vaccination ready before entering the gallery.
In this exhibition of works-in-progress, three women from diverse backgrounds, cultures, traditions, and geographies explore identity, belonging and liminality through painting, photography, mixed media, video, and text.
Their multi-faceted work and associated programming invites dialogue about outsider/insider perspectives and the ways in which we come to terms with ourselves: who we are, and where we find ourselves, and our sense of home.
Ethel Brown’s (Newfoundland and Labrador – Philippines) photographs reflect on the experience of displacement and moving from the Philippines to St. John’s in her adolescent years and the unique visual sensibility and awareness this has given her. She juxtaposes photographs of the sea and the enduring Newfoundland landscape with screen-printed texts she has written about experiences of being ‘othered’. The screen printing process gestures toward the back-and-forth pull between here and there. What and where is home and belonging? And who gets to decide?
Violet Drake’s (Newfoundland and Labrador) mixed media digital painting and text series emerges from her interest in queer bodies, the environment and trans readings of science fiction and horror cinema genres. She includes themes of primordial life contained in human blood on the land, and within the vast oceans and the celestial realm, to “explore the maps of meaning we make upon and beyond our bodies, and the dialectic between our environments and ourselves”.
Nasim Makaremi Nia (Newfoundland and Labrador – Iran) draws inspiration from the famous and storied carpet weaving traditions of her native Iran which date back to the sixteenth century, and the role of women in crafting them; the significance of the dome in Persian architecture as a representation of perfection and the heavens; and the taboo subject of menstruation in Middle Eastern society. She elevates and highlights feminine hygiene products (sanitary pads and tampons), hand stitching them with colourful embroidery threads, referencing traditional carpet designs and commenting on the relative freedoms of women in the West.
Nasim Makaremi Nia graduated with an MSc in solid-state Physics, but she is an artist who lives in St. John’s NL. She has been painting and making artwork for 15 years. Her Physics background helps in the development of her art as well. She has shown works in several group exhibitions. Her art is focused on subjects such as humanity, and the lives and emotions of women. She uses animals as symbols to deal with sexuality with the intent to magnify gender discrimination and censorship.
Violet Drake is a white settler disabled queer+trans writer, visual artist, actor, & activist born and raised in the coastal community of Lawn on the Burin Peninsula. Now based in St. John’s, her multidisciplinary experimental practice has been self-taught since youth, writing hybrid poetry and designing mixed media digital illustration since the age of 13. Blending life narrative, land-based photography, self-portraiture, performance, and autoethnography, her work emerges from her conceptual framework of trans+corporeal cartographies and existential ecologies. Her work has been exhibited and performed at artist-run centres, galleries, stages, festivals, and classrooms throughout Ktaqamkuk (colonially Newfoundland) including Eastern Edge, St. Michael’s Print Shop, Unscripted Twillingate, LSPU Hall, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, and Memorial University. Co-author of transVersing, she has recent and forthcoming publications locally and nationally in Riddle Fence, Understorey, HELD, Verses, and Home Out of It.
Ethel Brown is a visual artist living in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Ethel immigrated from Capiz, Philippines with her family, to Newfoundland, Canada in 1987. She has also lived in Calgary, AB and Washington, USA. Upon returning to St. John’s 7 years ago, Ethel has worked primarily in the medium of photography; documenting art exhibitions for the prestigious Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Eastern Edge Gallery, and The Christina Parker Gallery. Ethel is a portraiture and landscape photographer. Her photographs are documentary and storytelling in nature and convey her love for community, culture, family, and friends. Ethel is known for her patience in finding the perfect composition and for capturing the ephemeral beauty of natural light. Ethel has had artwork exhibited at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in the 2019 Arts and Letters Competition.
Bushra Junaid is a multidisciplinary artist and curator based in Toronto. Her work probes themes of history, memory, cultural identity and placemaking in the diasporas of African-descended peoples through mixed media collage, drawing, painting, illustration and installation. Most recently Bushra curated What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery (2020). Pivoting on Paul Gilroy’s concept of the “Black Atlantic,” the exhibition was also inspired by and reflected on, John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea (2015). What Carries Us included video, mixed media, mural and photo-based works by Canadian and international artists as well as rare archival items. In 2016, Junaid co-curated (with Pamela Edmonds) New-Found-Lands: An Art Project Exploring Historical and Contemporary Connections between Newfoundland and the Caribbean Diaspora at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s, Newfoundland.