SHELLEY VANDERBYL / NISRINE BOUKHARI / ALFREDO DE STEFANO / ANNE STEVES
ABIR BOUKHARI / DENISE LAWSON / ANGELA SOMERSET
supported through CVAG Productions + installation:
THOMAS ELLIOTT / DAVID LAWSON
The exhibition Under One Sky is a cumulative story of separation and connection told from multiple places, perspectives and voices. “We are all under one sky” – words spoken during an early development conversation – express the core theme of this exhibition that has evolved out of the year-long residency program as part of the OFFSITE_ONSITE convergent program . During this time of heightened awareness to the challenges of being held apart, new opportunities erupted for connecting, considering, and navigating the terrain of separation.
Virtual and in-person artist/curator/collaborating partner gatherings and creative research + production residencies extended over time. This allowed for relationship building, deep inquiry, collaborative production, sustained community engagement and the evolution of the presentations for exhibition. The resulting media and material installations, situated onsite at CVAG and offsite within the community and further afield, offer access points to the states of mind-wandering, loneliness, interception of the unexpected, and the possibilities for relationships with people and places both near and far.
Offsite Onsite Installation Projects
ONSITE_ at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, Courtenay BC Canada, sound + video installations can been experienced on the lower level 6th Street gallery window and the access space (Nisrene Boukhari, Shelley Vanderbyl) and in the Comox Valley Art Gallery Foyer Community Gallery (Alfredo de Stefano).
OFFSITE_ can be seen in the Village of Cumberland at Dunsmuir Street and 1st Street / in various locations across western Newfoundland Canada (Anne Steves with Tangiene Martin O’Hara) and at the Courtenay and District Museum & Palaeontology Centre (Alfredo De Stefano).
Thinking Through a New World
curatorial reflection by Abir Boukhari
In the wake of the pandemic, the world experienced three big fears: fear of death, getting sick and being isolated. Daily life slowed down, work was interrupted, human beings were locked down while animals and birds felt free to take the city, the fish came back to the canal in Venice, and we faced the feeling of being captives in our places.
When COVID-19 started, we thought we might be in this upside-down world for a few days or few weeks, but later, we discovered that this would be for months and maybe years.
We learned the meaning of “social distance” instead of “gathering together” and how to isolate ourselves from our beloveds to protect them; soon after, we started to miss them and long for our social life. We stopped our work and cancelled or postponed plans to avoid spreading the virus. Thus, we began to confront anxiety, stress, depression and uncertainties. The urgency of continuing our lives during the pandemic accelerated and emphasized the existence of the cyber age as a new world to communicate in, work at, and explore further.
We questioned the various meanings, aesthetics and functions of the public sphere regarding real and virtual: Are we going to consider cyberspace as the new public space that takes on a prominent role in our daily lives at home? How does the Internet inhabit the public sphere?
Digital and physical experiences in the art sector intersect during contingent times. Referring to my background, being originally from Syria, the digital world is almost the only way to communicate with the outside world because of war and isolation; but this time, the whole world faces the reality of becoming isolated and the need to rely upon the digital world. Hence it is a war, but of a different kind.
In this program, we lived the experience of being between the digital and the physical world: In the art residency at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, we had two artists who had their studios, and they were physically there. The other two artists joined the art residency virtually, got involved by their thoughts, inspired through the process, communicated with their fellow artists, and tried to imagine an alternative way of feeling as if they were physically in the space. The art residency was a challenge for us as curators about thinking, working and collaborating in a new world—the cyber world.
Would it be feasible for the three of us to co-curate one project together? What are the criteria for building the best collaboration? How can we share the space when we are unequal in our existence, as some of us are fully involved in the space, while the others are working to share their thoughts and inputs virtually in the space through relying upon the others who have their existence there? How could the artists be inspired from the moment to describe challenges and create a vision about the future?
The program was running during the year 2021 in Comox Valley Art Gallery and in cyberspace, where we had several meetings and shared our thoughts from our residence countries: Canada, Austria, Mexico and Sweden.
The art residency was completed by creating an exhibition at Comox Valley Art gallery. This exhibition was installed, co-curated in collaboration between two groups; the first is on-site and has full access to space and other resources. The second group was involved virtually; as an attempt of a new method to be examined on what it means to be in virtual residency, share the space and think together of a new world in the state of becoming.
As If I Was There / As If You Were Here
curatorial reflection by Denise Lawson+Angela Somerset
Offsite_Onsite celebrates the resilience of artists, curators and producers who have contributed generously to a research and presentation program during a time of unprecedented world-wide uncertainty.
Collectively our awareness was heightened to the challenges of being held apart as the artists, curators and collaborators came together. Our relational practice was sustained through virtual and socially distanced in-person meetings. This interstitial way of connecting allowed for new research and creation opportunities to erupt as we took time for deep inquiry, collaborative production, and engagement of the wider community.
As we connected, considered, and navigated the terrain of separation, gallery spaces were adapted, windows became portals, media screens and internet platforms were enlivened, and installation projects situated offsite and onsite. These portals became access points to lived experiences, truth telling, realms of time, notions of shared space, and to places both near and far.
The resulting presentation of media and material installations through the exhibition Under One Sky situated onsite at CVAG and the Offsite_Onsite installation projects that are both presented in the gallery’s peripheral spaces, at sites in the Comox Valley community and further afield – as far away as Newfoundland, offer access points to the states of mind-wandering, loneliness, interception of the unexpected, and the possibilities for relationships with people and places both near and far.
When we look back in time we see that the tender rooting of this offsite and onsite convergent program began with a conversation during a studio visit in 2019 that we had with artist Shelley Vanderbyl. During this visit ideas evolved for an multi-faceted project centring on the dynamics of ‘help’. Further intersections and resonances were nuturered stemming from art exchanges that had begun in Winnipeg and Sweden between Abir Boukhari, Shelley Vanderbyl and Nisrine Boukhari. As a result, Shelley provided the conduit between us as collaborative curators.
The collaborating curatorial work for the overarching program OFFSITE_ONSITE began in 2020. There was a recognition that we would need to conceptualize a hybrid way of supporting artists in research, creation and presentation during a time of COVID-19 restrictions. This instigated another layer of conversation centred on strategies for collaboration and responsive exchange during a time of isolation – the priority was to enable us to work around and work through the challenges we were faced with to connect and work together in order to continue producing art and art exhibitions both here and in places far away. We entered virtual spaces and where possible physical spaces in person, so that the work of the participating artists, co-curators and the gallery might continue. During the year preceding this exhibition artists and curators came together in relational practice that supported research, development and production of work for presentation. Over spans of distance and time we became known to one another through written exchanges and recurring virtual and in-person conversations. The artists engaged in residencies that supported their explorations, dialogue, and experimentation. The public was engaged in virtual workshops that contributed to research. Onsite project development and installation through collaborations, both in person and over long distances, was undertaken. Invitations were extended and accepted for community partner participation of the offsite installation presentations.
Under One Sky exhibition
The gallery exhibition is open to the public / and it is between these four walls / under one sky, that we situate ourselves. We orientate ourselves to the room, inhabited by the artists through their work. Primarily occupying the walls, the work faces inward leaving ample space for the viewer to encounter the artists’ projects and the conversations instigated between works, all the while socially distance themselves. Masked and sanitized we enter, map in hand, wireless headphones cued. CVAG’s convergent programming is a way of working from ideation through to dissemination.
Wayfinding, in a counterclockwise direction, the exhibition is an accumulation of material elements, video and sound components components including:
Shelly Vanderbyl ‘s 2021 installed work is comprised of Stacked Painting Installation which includes Fire Break, Giving the Grease to the Wheel that Never Squeaks, Accidental Signal Fire, and Help; as well as Prescribed Fire – a single-channel video projection loop, made in collaboration with CVAG Productions during her residency. For this work, a wireless headset is utilized to listen to the synchronized soundscape.
Next is Nisrine Boukhari’s 2021 video installation The Blue Was More Distant than the Sky. In this “theatre for one”, as described by the artist, a single viewer is invited to sit in a blue chair oriented frontally to a large video screen mounted on a wall painted deep blue. Sitting in a matching blue armchair, the synchronized audio track can be heard using the wireless headset. This work was made in collaboration with Havremagasinet LansKonsthall.
Continuing through the gallery we encounter a 2021 video diptych by artist Anne Steves. On the left side of the diptych is Contact, a 26 min. single-channel video compiling extensive documentation of a community incubator collaboration entitled a sense of abandon / but not a lack of discipline. This video project formed the outward facing skin of Anne’s residency at CVAG – running as a loop 24/7 in the large window over the past few months, while she inhabited the main floor Gather Place. On the right side, the other single-channel work Tracing reveals the creation mapping and preparatory work for this new work. Both of these video works were created in collaboration with CVAG Productions.
Finally we arrive at the fourth wall of the gallery that holds the single-channel video loop Constellation, by artist Alfredo De Stefano. The large-scale projection of this work fills the wall and the audio sound scape is played live in the gallery as a means of encompassing the viewer in an expansive experience – much like looking at the night sky as the “stars look at us from the black night”.
This program undertaking has been conducted virtually, physically, onsite, and offsite, as a means of creating a container for consideration of individual projects and the connections between artistic practices. Several satellite installation projects are visible onsite and offsite. These satellite installation projects include:
Alfredo De Stefano’s single-channel video loops
Meteoritos – running in CVAG’s Foyer Community Gallery /
Visit My Studio / Visita Mi Estudio – available online via QR code, and
Dinosaur co-presented at the Courtenay and District Museum & Palaeontology Centre
Fire Safety / Prescribed Fire are video works documenting Shelley Vanderbyl’s residency and performative paintings, and can be seen 24/7 in the lower level 6th Street window spaces @ the Comox Valley Art Gallery. These works were made as a collaboration between Shelley and CVAG Productions
The Light that Gets Lost is a site-responsive installation by Nisrine Boukhari also visible 24/7 in the lower level 6th Street window spaces @ the Comox Valley Art Gallery. The production of the installation space was realized as an undertaking between Nisrine and CVAG Productions.
Spread – Anne Steves has produced site installations at CVAG as part of her residency, in Cumberland BC and in various locations across western Newfoundland Canada, in collaboration with artist Tangiene Martin O’Hara
Shelley Vanderbyl shelleyvanderbyl.com/
Stacked Painting Installation (Fire break (fresco and fire on wooden panel, 8″ x 10″, 2021), Giving the grease to the wheel that never squeaks (fresco on wooden panel, 24″ x 36″, 2021), Accidental signal fire (fresco diptych on panels 8″x8″, 8″x8″, 2021), Help (fire on plastered panel, 24″ d., 2021), Prescribed Fire (video in collaboration with CVAG Productions, 10:42021))
In my work I am looking at visual ways to converse about mental health, exploring care and hope. I look for inspiration in many places. I have often drawn connections in my work between the lengths Search and Rescue Teams will go to in search for someone who is physically lost, and the attention that we put into seeking out those who feel mentally distanced. Signal fires have been a recurring theme in my work for many years, representing the desire to be found, or to “let oneself be seen”, as well as a way to improve one’s own morale when lost. Recent conversations about societal systems of “handling” mental health, as well as the recent fire at the gallery, led me down a path of considering signal fires in a more controlled way, including fire safety, lighting contained fires using wicks, little lamps and candles existing in domestic space – working with intentionality, raising morale, and lighting one’s way. The residency was partially derailed by the fire. The way it intercepted my work that was already about fires, with only a garage door between my studio and the blaze, caused me to stop and consider where I was going. For one thing, I was going out of doors. I hadn’t yet cleared an interior space to work in when I felt the need to continue the project – the outdoors brought new possibilities. As a former construction worker, I am familiar with using plaster and drywall to contain potential fires. It offers protection to the wooden substrates I use. In the open air, I explored fire as a medium on the plastered panels, reclaiming something destructive to build an image. On the same panels that were cleared of ash from the gallery blaze, I allowed fire to make something new exist.
The video work Prescribed Fire, presented for the exhibition Under One Sky, demonstrates the acts that were undertaken in claiming fire as an art medium following the alley fire that intersected with my residency in the CVAG project room. There I had been melding my ideas with the physical space, having virtual conversations, researching, mind-mapping, writing new ideas on papers and plastering them to the walls. As I moved from the room so that the space could be cared for, I began to use fire as a means to build rather than to destroy, painting with the fire and performing hope as I watched new things being ignited within my practice. The video produced by CVAG Productions documents and describes a performance that took place outside my home studio.
Shelley Vanderbyl is a visual artist currently living and working in Courtenay, BC. Part of the military search and rescue community, her relational art practice uses an innovative approach to materials to perform metaphors that demonstrate inner healing. Hospitals, including the prominent New Karolinska Solna in Sweden, have purchased her medicine tins to benefit staff and patients. Her work is in many public and private collections across many countries, as well as in corporate collections such as The Grove Health and Wellness in Courtenay, where she was privileged to be an artist-in-residence prior to the pandemic. Vanderbyl combines conceptual and visual elements from art therapy, expressionism, plaster fragments of antique walls, search and rescue, repairs made to frescoes in the Louvre, and relational aesthetics. Particularly interested in aiding people who are experiencing mental hardships, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she asks with her work, “If what someone has seen can leave them broken, can an image be a part of their healing?”
Nisrine Boukhari nisrineboukhari.com/
The Blue Was More Distant Than The Sky (video installation, 9:07 min., 2021)
Produced in collaboration with Havremagasinet LansKonsthall
Mind-Wandering is a complex and dynamic state of mind where the mind wanders across several thoughts, feelings and imaginations.
In my art-based research projects, I use language to invoke a distinctive mind’s energy on discovering a new terrain of the imagination implicating the body and the mind in an immersive poetic and conceptual experience by using conceptual writing, fragmentation and deconstructed narrative.
My artistic practice emerged from studying the art walking through the body’s mental-driven movement into different aspects. In recent years, I use the drifting mind as part of long-term research on the state of Mind-Wandering.
I create sensorial and participatory installations focusing on body and space, responding poetically through the choreographed audience to blur the boundaries between the artist and the viewer. Like the body, language is both personal and the actual prevalence of public relations. I am researching how language through words, sound and visual interaction occupy a physical space and confirm expanded bodily existence despite movement difficulties, such as in the case of exiled people.
My art’s genesis extends outwards from the conventional use of language to the complexity of a traumatised memory and the instantaneity of self-generated thoughts. Since 2012, I have been researching on the State of Mind-Wandering, where I investigate the effects of trauma on the human psyche through the case of Mind-Wandering State and the use of the artistic practice in a therapeutic trajectory and how as an artist can create visual/textual environments where viewers experience their own perceptual processing through the art experience. Thus, I have coined Wanderism and announced it as a State of Mind; Wanderism is presented as a form of mental diversity and aims to explore potentials on de-stigmatising mental health issues based on my interest in studying philosophy of mind and the intersection between neuroscience and social matters.
The Light that Gets Lost
“Blue is the colour of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.” –-Rebecca Solnit
It happened because of how the sunlight reached Earth. According to NASA; sunlight reaches Earth’s atmosphere and is scattered in all directions by all the air’s gases and particles. Blue light is scattered more than the other colours because it travels as shorter, smaller waves. This is why we see a blue sky most of the time.
During my residency, I continued my research on the idea of exile within exile I have lived since the pandemic started where the notion of Home dissipates amidst the layers of a traumatic life experience, the thing which makes it also relevant to the residency theme since I could not take part of it but virtually.
Staring at the sky became part of daily rituals during the lockdown; studying the blue colour to understand the space between us, between Earth and the sky, real and fiction, the tangible and perceptible. The light that gets lost before reaching the final place to reside in, scattering to give us the beauty, purity and calmness of the Blue who doesn’t bare a long journey but comes in small waves, scattered in every direction to reach our eyes.
To become present in my studio, I thought of two elements relevant to the senses we mostly use right now –sound and sight while the others are missing because of being distant. So the studio space will become blue space lit by a particular blue colour from Philips Hue system. In this way it is like displacing the sky -metaphorically- and inviting it temporarily into the tiny space in the gallery, it is also about the magical presence of the artist who is there and not, only as a blue spirit with a voice. It is how today’s technology replaced our physical presence with waves and frequencies.
Nisrine Boukhari is a conceptual artist who lives in Vienna & Stockholm. She studied Sculpture in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University, finished her M. A. in Social Design at Angewandte Kunst Wien (University of Applied Arts Vienna). She is pursuing her art-based research internationally. She had an artist/research residency at Iaspis / Sweden, Serlachius Museum / Finland, Trapholt Museum / Denmark, MAWA art residency Winnipeg / Canada, NKDALE art centre Norway, Art Omi in NYC, and many other residencies.
She exhibited her work internationally at MMSU Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art at Rijeka / Croatia, Buildmuseet Umea / Sweden, Trapholt Museum Kolding / Denmark, The World Culture Museum Gothenburg / Sweden, The National Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu do Chiado) Lisbon / Portugal, Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde / Denmark, Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam / Netherlands, Casoria International Contemporary Art Museum Casoria / Italy, and other places. Boukhari was selected as “Artist of the Year” by the Swedish Art Association in 2019. Some of her works are acquired by international museums and art institutions.
Besides her artistic career, Boukhari is a co-founder for AllArtNow, the first independent contemporary art organisation in Damascus since 2005, the co-founder of Living Spaces International Festival for Contemporary Art in Damascus, and the co-founder of Studio1: The Informal School for Contemporary Art in Damascus 2011-2012.
Nisrine Boukhari would like to acknowledge the collaboration of Havremagasinet LansKonsthall in the production of The Blue Was More Distant Than The Sky.
Alfredo De Stefano https://adestefano.com/
Constellation (video, 2:36 min., 2019) / Meteoritos (video, :57 min., 2020) / VISIT MY STUDIO / VISITA MI ESTUDIO (video, 4:00 min., 2020)
My photographic work of the last twenty years is characterized by that relationship with nature and space, focused especially on the recording of a particularly captivating landscape: the desert. This personal interest has led me to travel the most diverse deserts of many countries on the five continents of the world.
This unique environment – which is at the same time the origin of where I was born: the north of Mexico – generates different visions and reflections. The desert is marked by a sense of the immeasurable; a vast space, with imprecise limits, whether geographical or existential, which recall the profound loneliness of man in front of himself and the universe, but which can also transmit sublime moments of profound intimacy and contemplation.
Since 2019 I have been working on a new body of work with the use of drones:
Constellation Man’s desire is for heaven, to understand it in order to understand himself. Every surface indicates the direction of it. Our gaze, our fingers, are directed towards him. We look for answers in his stars. We observe it other times dark; others, in a blue dawn or in a red that burns. The stars look at us from the black night, and we draw them in imaginary strokes, to orient ourselves, to continue on the path of uncertainty of not having understood anything.
Meteoritos In the bright hours of the day, over the scarred surfaces of this planet, I run like a meteorite that refuses to disintegrate. Humans seem to run for the destruction of the planet, but now we are the destroyers, like the meteorite that exterminated the dinosaurs millions of years ago.
Dinosaur Works from the ongoing Dinosaur series, a work that re-interprets my photographic archive on fossils, new discoveries of dinosaurs and paleontological investigations that I have done with scientists from the Desert Museum, the most important natural history museum in Mexico.
In the desert museum, in parallel to my work as an artist, I worked for 10 years as the director of marketing and communication (I have a University Bachelor degree in communication and marketing).
During those years at the museum, I worked on various scientific projects and scientific dissemination on Mexican fossils such as books and exhibitions. I have an extensive photographic archive on fossils and I continue to photograph paleontological pieces from the museum’s collection.
In my Dinosaur project I am reinterpreting this photographic archive giving it new readings, also with interventions in the desert using real fossils, or other materials from popular culture about dinosaurs. The region where I live is one of the 10 richest paleontological areas in the world with discoveries of new species of dinosaurs as well as other reptiles. In some of those discoveries I was involved. Paleontologists from various countries of the world including Canada have come to study and work with the museum.
In the Offsite_Onsite artistic residency program, it was enriching to be able to dialogue with the other participating artists and find with some of them certain points of agreement on our artistic concerns as well as learn about their projects and ways of working.
Alfredo De Stefano Farías is considered one of the most important contemporary conceptual photographers in Mexico. His passion is the landscape and specifically the desert, a panorama that he has traveled countless times photographing and intervening in it. Among his photographic series are: Of places without a future (1992), Vestiges of Paradise (1996), Replenishing Emptiness (2002) and Brief Chronicle of Light (2006). From 2008 to 2018 he worked on his longest-running project, Storm of Light, which takes place in different deserts of the world.
Recently he is working on three new series in parallel: Black Forest, a visual document about fires and their consequences in the nearby forests where he lives. Dinosaur, a review, and re-interpretation of his photographic archives on paleontological discoveries in which he worked for years, and Constellation, a project of videos of interventions and performance in the desert filmed with a drone.
There are more than ninety exhibitions to his credit, between individual and collective, and his work has been exhibited on five continents, as well as in different capitals of the world: México, Paris, Sao Paulo, New York, Washington, Madrid, Bogotá, Lima, Buenos Aires, London, among other cities. His photographs have appeared in numerous books and magazines and his work is in public and private collections in Mexico and abroad. Since 2008, he has been a member of the National System of Creators (Mexico). He is the cultural manager and director of the Contemporary Photography Contest in Mexico and Latin America, as well as the Luz del Norte International Photography Festival in Monterrey, N.L.
Jury in international competitions such as Vogue Italia, Verzasca-Foto Festival in Switzerland, Burn- Emerging Photographer Fund, Holland and AI-AP Latin American, New York. Portfolio reviewer at PHOTON Festival, Valencia, IMAGO Festival, Lisbon, Cali Foto Fest, Colombia. Nominator for the 6×6 Global Talent Program / World Press Photo.
He directs and founded the non-profit organization Luz del Norte Photography, A.C. dedicated to promoting and disseminating the diversity of Mexican and Latin American photography through various platforms.
Anne Steves https://annesteves.com/
Contact (video, 26 min., 2021) / Tracing (video, 6 min. 30 sec., 2021)
I have been making community-based works that explore distance and belonging through craft and making practices. These works have relied heavily on artist residencies as site and subject matter. In 2016, my husband and I moved to the Village of Cumberland on Vancouver Island, and my art community became primarily a digital one. Distance became both a financial and social challenge within my practice. In response I reached out and asked over a hundred artists and writers to provide me with an image of the places in which they make their work. As the images slowly piled up in my inbox, COVID-19 flooded into our lives and the work of reaching out to people gained heightened importance. Artist residencies were put on pause, as were exhibitions.
The overarching title of my recent project, a sense of abandon / but not a lack of discipline, is a quote from pioneer photo-montage artist Hannah Hoch. At multiple times during this project, I thought about the ways in which collage might offer the freedom to imagine a future re-framed. The use of existing imagery implies not a new start but a metamorphosis. For Hoch, this was of particular importance as a woman venturing outside of traditional social roles. As we were all asked to stay at home, a little piece of me felt the walls closing in. How easy would it be for us to revert rather than transform during these dangerous times?
I turned to the studio images and began a daily practice of working into the images through collage, using existing imagery to fill the studios with improbable collaborations, emotional landscapes and imagined futures. Paper fragments describe the possibilities for relationships between here and there, me and you.
These collage works have been converted into mail-out posters with letters embedded in them to the participating artists and writers. Each letter responds to a message that I had received during the making process. I asked for a copy to be posted somewhere in their neighbourhood or environment and photographed. Through this act, each participant becomes a curator, choosing how this work is or is not seen in their locale. I am at their whim beyond the digital realm. a sense of abandon / but not a lack of discipline became a mode of social and creative survival during a pandemic.
The project Spread, done in collaboration with artist Tangiene Martin O’Hara in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, consists of seventy-five of these collage and poster works installed in both Cumberland, BC as well as various locations in western Newfoundland. The works will be changed weekly from June 16 to September 4.
Anne Steves is a first-generation Welsh/Canadian interdisciplinary artist working in the Village of Cumberland on Vancouver Island, BC. She received a BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and an MFA in Studio Practices from the University of Victoria. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and the UK. Steves has recently participated in the Canadian Craft Biennial residency, the NOVA Young Welsh Artist exhibition and the MAWA Winnipeg artist residency. She has received numerous grants to support her work from both the BC Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.
Anne Steves would like to acknowledge the funding support of the BC ArtsCouncil and the Yosef Wosk Foundation. She would also like to acknowledge the collaboration of Tangiene Martin O’Hara and Galliott Studios, Newfoundland.
Tangiene Martin O’Hara grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and obsessively drew and painted folksy people and animals from her imagination. Discovering in University that it is too difficult to focus on painting just anything from the imagination, she began only working from photographs. She graduated from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, in 2007 with a BFA. Post graduation work includes abstract and portrait drawing, social media experimentation, curating, photo documentation and soft crafts. Currently, Tangiene uses ink and coloured pencil to draw portraits from photographs typically posted by friends on social media. Documenting the moment, she memorializes everyday occasions and celebrates inclusivity. This past year she participated in a residency with Eastern Edge Gallery, received a new/emerging grant from ArtsNL and was a winner in The Rooms “Arts and Letters” competition. Her next ambition is to make collages and paintings of wild and unusual monsters in sublime Newfoundland landscapes reflective of the Romantic era in painting.
OFFSITE_ONSITE collaborative curator Abir Boukari is the director, curator and co-founder of AllArtNow (www.allartnow.com) that is considered to be the first independent collective space for contemporary art in Syria. Founded in Damascus in 2005, AllArtNow has turned into a nomadic space, working from different places since the war broke out in 2012. Since 2019, AllArtNow opened a Lab in Stockholm.
Abir’s work can be described as trans-disciplinary curatorial research. Her projects and exhibitions reflect the interest in socio political issues and tackling concepts of memory as a metamorphic entity, identity and the questions of waiting and belonging whilst being in transfer. Throughout her career, Abir has been specifically interested in literature and its relation to art, developing a curatorial practice that has been distinguished by its openness to new media and transdisciplinary practice.
She has worked as an independent curator since 2005, creating exhibitions for institutions and galleries as varied as Taksim Gallery (Istanbul), Videoformes festival (Clermont Ferrand), the Arab Short Festival (Cairo), Les Instants Festival (Marseille) and others.
In Damascus (2005-2012), she run the artistic programme for AllArtNow, and was the artistic director for Living Spaces Festival for Contemporary Arts, the artistic director of Studio (an informal school for contemporary arts in Syria) and the co-founder of Boukhari House for Artist Residencies and the culture center Maktab Creative Zone.
In 2016, she did a curatorial course for professionals, CuratorLab, at Konstfack in
Stockholm. She was then awarded a stipend from the Ulla Froberg-Cramers Foundation. She has previously had internships at Tate Modern in London (2006) and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2012). She also has a degree in French Literature from the University of Damascus (1998), as well as special studies in business administration from the American business center and Damascus Chamber of Commerce / Damascus (2003).
Since her move to Stockholm in 2015, she has been doing curatorial work, exploring the effects of displacement, culturally and individually and notions on global “nomadism” in collaboration with a number of arts organisations and institutions in the Nordic region and the MENA region, among them: Botkyrka Konsthall /Residence Botkyrka (Sweden), Pori Art Museum (Finland), The World Culture Museum in Göteborg (Sweden), KRÆ syndikatet (Denmark), Sörmland Museum in Nykoping (Sweden), Jönkoping Läns Museum (Sweden), Kultivera in Tranås (Sweden), among many others.
She is currently mentor of the Jiser Residency, an international residence program running in between Spain, Algeria and Tunisia.