Shimmering Horizons

January 15 2021, 2021

Curated by Laurie White

Curated by Laurie White
An Online Exhibition Co-produced with Canada House, London UK
Visit the Online Exhibition (Launches January 15, 2021)

Shimmering Horizons brings together works by five Canadian artists that offer visions of future life-ways on Earth. Unbound by the inhibiting narratives of apocalypse and dystopia, and wary of the false promise of technological salvation, these artists instead draw on the rich traditions of creative science fiction explored in the fields of Indigenous Futurisms and settler-feminist posthumanism. Together they ask: “Can sci-fi do more for us than simply confirm our worst fears, or offer escapist fantasies? Can new stories address the violence of the past, recognize the urgency of the present, and still offer compelling images of the future?”

Shimmering Horizons puts the idea of shimmer―a concept described by writer and anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose as the aesthetic experience of ecological complexity and ancestral power―into productive alignment with the image of the horizon, a potent metaphor for the future. In this exhibition, horizons shimmer both literally and figuratively: the glimmer of stars and the aurora borealis make palpable the potency of ancestral and ecological inheritance—the future enfolded by the past. These speculative projects have the potential to meaningfully alter the disastrous trajectory set out by colonization on Turtle Island by validating ways of being that prioritize relationships, accountability, and traditional ecological knowledge. Through a range of media, including basketry, video, painting, and digital collage, the artists in Shimmering Horizons offer alternative visions of the future that prioritize continuity, adaptation, and resilience.

Image: Tania Willard, Gut Instincts, 2018, Digital Mural. Courtesy of the Artist.

Artist Biographies

Asinnajaq is the daughter of Carol Rowan and Jobie Weetaluktuk. She is from Inukjuak, Nunavik and lives in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal). Asinnajaq’s work includes filmmaking, writing and curating. She co-curated Tillitarniit It is said to happen from time to time, a three day festival at FOFA Gallery, Montreal celebrating Inuit art and artists. Asinnajaq’s work has been exhibited at art galleries and film festivals around the world. She wrote and directed Three Thousand (2017) a short sci-fi documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Three Thousand won an award for Best Experimental Work at the 2017 ImagineNATIVE film festival, and the Best Global Indigenous Short Film Award at Skábmagovat Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival Finland in 2018. Asinnajaq is a member of the curatorial team for the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and co-curated Isuma’s exhibition at the ‘Canadian’ pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale.

Meagan Musseau is a Mi’kmaw (L’nu) artist from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay of Islands, NL). She nourishes an interdisciplinary practice by working with customary art forms and new media, such as basketry, beadwork, land-based performance, video and installation. Musseau’s solo exhibitions include Pi’tawkewaq | our people up river at grunt gallery, Vancouver, and Pejipuk at AKA artist-run centre, Saskatoon and Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s. Her work has featured in notable group exhibitions such as Woven Together at Kelowna Art Gallery, this land is lonely for us at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, and The Life of Things at MOMENTA | biennale de l’image, Montreal. Musseau’s active residency practice include those at Neighbourhood Dance Works (2019), Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2018 & 2017), Connexion ARC (2018), Indigenous Emerging Artist Program (2015-16), Columbia College Chicago, USA (2014), and University of Brighton, UK (2013).

Marina Roy is a Canadian artist and writer, and is Associate Professor of Visual Art in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia. She works across a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, book works, video, and animation. Her artwork investigates the grotesque, at the intersection of language and materiality. Her research interests include ecology, posthumanism, psychoanalysis, and biopolitics. In 2001 she published her first book, sign after the x (Arsenal Pulp Press/Artspeak). Her newest book, Queuejumping (Information Office) will be published in late 2020.

Tania Willard, Secwépemc Nation and settler heritage, is an artist, curator and writer. She works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. BUSH gallery, Willard’s ongoing collaborative project, is a conceptual land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges. Willard is an Assistant Professor at UBC Okanagan in Syilx territories. Her curatorial work includes the touring exhibition, Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-2014), co-curated with Kathleen Ritter. In 2016, she received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hanatyshyn Foundation, and a City of Vancouver Book Award for the exhibition catalogue Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (Figure 1 Publishing).

Elizabeth Zvonar is a Canadian artist living in Vancouver. She makes objects and pictures that think through metaphor and the metaphysical, often using humour and referencing art history, while noticing the discrepancies between the sexes and regressive hierarchical structures. Zvonar graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in 2001. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and internationally, participated in residencies, and received significant recognition for her work. In 2016, she was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and shortlisted for the Aimia Photography Prize at the AGO in Toronto. In 2020, Zvonar presented two new commissions for The Polygon Gallery and was included in the exhibition Afterimages at Musée d’art de Joliette, Quebec. She is represented by Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto.

Whess Harman is Carrier Wit’at, a nation amalgamated by the federal government under the Lake Babine Nation. Their multidisciplinary practice includes beading, illustration, text, poetry, and curation. They use their practice as a way to interpret questions of identity and relation, and prioritize internal community dialogue over colonial frameworks. 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. Harman graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design BFA program in 2014 and are currently living and working on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations as a Project Curator at grunt gallery, Vancouver.

Laurie White is a curator and writer from Sheffield, England, currently living in Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Her research interests consider modes of ecological practice in contemporary art, including salvage, bricolage, materiality, and futurism. She has curated exhibitions at the grunt gallery (Vancouver), the Or Gallery (Vancouver), the fifty fifty arts collective (Victoria), AHVA Gallery (UBC), and Western Gallery (Bellingham). Her writing appears in the catalogue Beginning with the Seventies (Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery) and she co-edited the catalogue Beau Dick: Devoured by Consumerism (Figure 1 Publishing) for Fazakas Gallery. White holds an MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia. She is Program Coordinator at the Or Gallery in Vancouver.

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