Emerging Artist Residency
Mashal Khan & Ron Siu
July 1st, 2020 - August 31st, 2020
learning to breathe again
MASHAL KHAN – Learning To Breathe Again
“all that you touch, you change. all that you change, changes you. the only lasting truth is change. god is change.” – Octavia E. Butler
it is only recently in my life that i have thought about and practiced intentional breathing. breathing doesn’t come easy to me and i’m trying to understand why.
my art practice allows me to resist the multitude of oppressions i, along with other racialized and marginalized folks face on a daily basis. i hope to curate a space full of care, joy, stillness and nuanced understandings. within my art practice, i often explore themes of home, belonging, the process of reclaiming, identity formation and healing experienced by and with other racialized and systematically marginalized womxn. i often use memory and nostalgia within my work, dreaming up moments that i vaguely remember. i interpret memory and nostalgia in order to create a feeling of loss and reclamation of time, self, land, space, identity and culture.
my name is mashal khan I come from the pukhtun nation in what is now considered to be northern pakistan on a map of today. in 1893, white british colonizers divided up the land my ancestors lived on. the durand line divided land based on geography instead of official boundaries created by the pukhtun nations. i am not too certain of my lineage. my people are oral storytellers and because i spent my formative year away from them, i have been disconnected from my ancestors and my past. my father’s parents were born in amankot, a village near peshawer. my mother’s parents were born in swat. before my family and i immigrated to “canada” when i was around seven, i often spent a lot of time in the homes my parents grew up in.
my family immigrated to turtle island for a supposedly ‘better’ life. what a better life meant at that time probably included upward mobility, safety, wealth, access to education and jobs like becoming a doctor, engineer or lawyer. as a family we know better now. together we are unlearning the lies and systematic violence against Indigenous people and other racialized folks that ‘canada’ was and continues to be built on. when my family and i came to ‘canada,’ we were made to believe this was the land of white people because as you know, the violence of colonialism, white supremacy and imperialism are global. you are manipulated into believing that whiteness is the centre and everyone else serves whiteness and upholding global white supremacy. if you uphold whiteness and play your part, you too can supposedly make your capitalists dreams come true. there is no room to imagine alternative ways of existing alongside other beings.
as an able bodied, cis gender, lower to middle class settler on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg nations and a womxn of colour, i have many intersecting identities. i experience intersecting oppressions, as well as privileges that i did not earn. my resistance to colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, racialized capitalism and other oppressions takes on many forms. my focus for this multimedia project and residency at centre3 looks to understand the little acts of resistance that i practice, such as remembering to breathe with intention, staying present during whimsical moments, radically loving all of myself, learning from thinkers who inspire me to keep growing such as Arundhati Roy and adrienne maree brown. my initial idea was to interview BIPOC womxn who worked in and experienced overt and covert racism in non-profit positions within hamilton. i soon realized that i did not want to create more work that centres our oppressions. instead i wanted to make something for myself and other marginalized folks. i didn’t want to document more experiences of pain that centers the white gaze and reproduce our traumas. instead, i wanted to create a space in which marginalized folks can experience moments of care, joy, peace and stillness.
Mashal khan is a multi media artist who was born in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and along with her family, immigrated to Turtle Island in 2002. khan graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours bachelor’s of arts in equity studies, sociology and art. she values freedom, justice and equity. within her work she hopes to subvert the white and/or male gaze that has often spoken on behalf of marginalized women of colour. whenever she creates work, mashal keep this quote by Arundhati Roy in mind: “there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ there are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
When You’re In The Throes
RON SIU – When You’re In The Throes
When You’re In The Throes is new print-based work by Ron Siu that takes Japanese graphic Romance novels – as its point of departure. Siu explores the softly sensual and sentimental depictions of young men typical to the genre. In his figures, emphasis is placed on a sense of intimacy in awakening desires, rather than overt sexuality. The young men appear in the throes of a deep internal drama, as if on the verge of being overwhelmed by their emotional energy. Siu places these romanticized, archetypal youths in dialogue, connecting them to contemporary perceptions around desire and identity.
Ron Siu is an artist currently based in Toronto. He graduated with his BFA in Drawing & Painting at OCAD University in 2019. His practice involves painting, print and mixed media, drawing from a wide range of art historical influences as a means to examine a contemporary sense of Romanticism and Queer desire. Siu’s work has been exhibited across Canada and in Glasgow, Scotland.
Exhibition is generously supported by: