Florence Yee, 'PROOF—Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden' (detail), 2020, hand-embroidered thread on cotton voile print.
Photo by Florence Yee, 'PROOF—Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden' (detail), 2020, hand-embroidered thread on cotton voile print.

About the exhibition

To be living in a diaspora, away from the lands of our lineage creates a generative longing that is stubbornly, rightfully unquenchable. Instead of characterizing longing through the void, cause to become engages memory, imagination, and rumination as processes that generate alternative life paths, self-determined and with creative defiance. Through criticality and sentimentality, the aesthetic practices of queer diaspora “disorient and reorient us”—as scholar Gayatri Gopinath puts it—representing liminality and states of suspension as active, productive, disruptive sites. 

To “cause to become'' is to render. Being a queer, trans, or Two-Spirit Black, Indigenous, or person of colour in a hostile world necessitates art-making as a validating method of identity exploration, intimacy, and world-building. This group exhibition brings together works in various media ranging from Super 8 film and CMYK screen printing to typography, poetry, and embroidery. Artists Whess Harman, Mariana Muñoz Gomez, Florence Yee, and Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot demonstrate the value in remembering, imagining, or anticipating home or place, and constructing alternative modes of becoming.

Presented with the support of the Government of Canada through the Young Canada Works program, Building Careers in Heritage

Christina Hajjar

Christina Hajjar is a queer femme first-generation Lebanese-Canadian artist, writer, and cultural worker. Her artistic and curatorial interests deal with diaspora, defiance, body archives, cultural artifacts, labour, and place. She is a 2020 PLATFORM Photography Award winner, co-founder of Carnation Zine, and creator of a recently published solo zine, Diaspora Daughter, Diaspora Dyke. Learn more at @garbagebagprincess and https://christinahajjar.com/.

Whess Harman

Whess Harman is Carrier Wit’at, and currently lives and works on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh as an artist as well as a Curator for grunt gallery. Their multidisciplinary practice includes beading, illustration, text, and poetry. As a mixed-race, trans/non-binary artist they work to find their way through anxiety and queer melancholy with humour and a carefully mediated cynicism that the galleries go hog wild for.

Mariana Muñoz Gomez

Mariana Muñoz Gomez is a Latinx artist, writer, curator, and settler of colour based on Treaty 1 Territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their work is concerned with language, place, identity, diaspora, and displacement within post- and settler colonial contexts. Her lens-based practice involves a variety of media including text works, screenprints, and photography. Mariana works collaboratively with a number of collectives including Carnation Zine and window winnipeg.

Florence Yee

Florence Yee is a Cantonese-struggling visual artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal whose practice focuses on the intimacy of doubt through text-based art, sculpture, and textile installation. They are currently the Co-Director of Tea Base, a grassroots collective in Tkaronto’s Chinatown. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U.

Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot

Hagere Selam (shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot is an artist and administrator who currently works and resides between Treaty 1 and Treaty 4 territories. They have received funding from municipal, provincial and national arts councils as well as awards from local and transnational arts organizations. Their practice engages with themes of place and it’s abstraction from a diasporic, queer and feminist perspective. Currently, they are the Executive Director at the Saskatchewan Filmpool, Co-Director of WNDX Festival of Moving Image and guest editor of the forthcoming Art&Wonder publication.

Adjunct Programming

Dr. Gayatri Gopinath

Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora: A Lecture by Dr. Gayatri Gopinath

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Presented in partnership with the gracious support of the University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities.

This talk traces the connections between Gopinath’s first book, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (2005), and her second book Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (2018). Impossible Desires laid the groundwork for what we now call queer diaspora studies, and focused predominantly on alternative sexualities and the South Asian diaspora. Unruly Visions continues and expands upon this framing of queer diaspora as it brings queer diaspora studies to bear on studies of visual culture. In so doing, Gopinath suggests new ways of theorizing, seeing, and sensing queerness and diaspora across different geographies and temporalities.

Gayatri Gopinath is a Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. She works at the intersection of transnational feminist and queer studies, postcolonial studies, and diaspora studies, and is the author of two monographs: Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke UP, 2005), and Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (Duke UP, 2018). She has published numerous essays on gender, sexuality, and queer diasporic cultural production in anthologies and journals such as Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, GLQ, and Social Text.

Dr. Gopinath’s lecture will be followed by a Q&A facilitated by cause to become curator Christina Hajjar.

Facilitated on Zoom and live-streamed on the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba YouTube channel.


Mariana Muñoz Gomez

mapping elsewhere: A Reading by Mariana Muñoz Gomez

Thursday, May 6, 2021

cause to become artist Mariana Muñoz Gomez will launch her new artist book, mapping elsewhere and provide a live reading of the book in full.

In mapping elsewhere, Mariana Muñoz Gomez thinks through topics of memory, relation, movement, land, and place. mapping elsewhere is a book of drawings and text rooted in the experiences and visuals stemming from the artist's interactions with the world and people around them—from the photographs she has as traces of being someplace, and from the emotional and psychological planes within her stirred up by such interactions. mapping elsewhere was created through the 2019-20 Also As Well Too Artist Book Mentorship and Creation Program.

Facilitated on Zoom and live-streamed on the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba YouTube channel.

Visit the gallery

School of Art Gallery
255 ARTlab
180 Dafoe Road
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
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