Members gallery

Billie Said, 'Strange Fruit'

Farihah Aliyah Shah

January 7 – February 20, 2021

Curated by Sally Frater


Billie Said, ‘Strange Fruit’

Using self-portraiture and simple installations, Billie Said ‘Strange Fruit’ aims to respond to the current Black Lives Matter movement and past civil rights movements advocating for justice and equality whilst commenting on the lack of representation of Black bodies in the history of photography. The series reflects on the significant history of still-life photography and botanical objects and challenges the viewer to elevate fragmented or disenfranchised bodies to the same respect as the popularly photographed succulent. The series lends its name from the 1930s poem “Strange Fruit” which was popularized by Billie Holiday. The poem speaks about the common practice of lynching in the American South. Despite the literal disappearance of this act, the figurative and systemic lynching of Black bodies from the contemporary socio-political discourse remains.

Artist BIO

Farihah Aliyah Shah is a contemporary lens-based artist originally from Edmonton, Alberta now based in Bradford, Ontario. She holds a BHRM from York University and a BFA in Photography with a minor in Integrated Media from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario.

Shah utilizes photography, video and sound installation, exploring identity formation through the colonial gaze, race, land and collective memory. She seeks to challenge the lack of representation of disenfranchised bodies in the photographic cannon and representational art, encouraging others to take agency of their image. She is a member of Mast Year Collective, Gallery 44 and Women Photograph and has exhibited internationally in North America, Asia and Europe.

Exhibition is generously supported by: