Leaning Toward Collapse
Samina Mansuri, Renay Egami
A Space Main Gallery
June 24 – July 30, 2011
Essay by: Jon Short
Samina Mansuri’s installation references the memorial constructed at Ground Zero, the former site of the twin towers in New York, while Renay Egami’s The River is a meditation on the nuclear destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. For many of us, depictions of environmental destruction as an effect of conflict have become commonplace, as images of the devastation of nature are often made to serve as allegories for the trauma and loss experienced by human beings in war. Usually, however, these images become naturalized in the creation of memorials that are used to suggest closure by assigning to the past fixed and obvious meanings. Mansuri and Egami each refuses closure by producing evocative images which multiply the complexities of memory, reminding us of the creative potential contained in commemoration.
Samina Mansuri is multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, she received her BFA from Pratt Institute, New York and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh USA. Mansuri has exhibited her work internationally for over eighteen years. Recent exhibitions include Empire of Dreams: Phenomenology of the built environment, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2010), Double Consciousness Mattress Factory, USA (2007), Post-Object, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Scarborough, Canada (2007), Beyond Borders, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, India (2005), Darr: 37 Conversations, Centre A Gallery, Vancouver (2004), Pakistan: Another Vision, Brunei Gallery (UK 2000). Her works are represented in public and private collections internationally and her works have been featured and reviewed in catalogs, books, newspapers and journals.
Renay Egami is a visual artist whose practice is based in sculpture and installation. She was born in Vancouver BC. She is a graduate from the Emily Carr University of Art & Design, and earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. She currently lives and works in Kelowna, BC where she is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus. Egami has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, USA and Japan. In her art practice she seeks to make contemporary expressions of remembrance that explore recurring themes such as cultural identity, wounded landscapes, displacement of communities, and memorials that consider how the past persists in producing the present.
Jon Short is an academic, activist, and free-lance writer living in Toronto. He received his doctorate from the Social and Political Thought Programme at York University in 2008, where he currently teaches in the Department of Social Science. His interests include the intersection of aesthetics and politics and issues of language, history, and memory. He has published essays on the work of Adorno and Agamben and is currently working on a book on the political theory of Agamben and Benjamin.