Catch Zinnia Naqvi and Rah Eleh in Opening Night, this year's Art POP group exhibition, which explores the space and history of the Rialto Theatre to weave together instances of Drama. Opening Night roots Drama in its theatrical underpinnings and brings to the gallery heightened and performative emotions, staged installation, dissonant confessions and conflicting points of view. It will be taking place at the Studio Rialto from September 23 to 27, no reservations required, maximum 20 people in the space at a time. High T will also be livestreaming from Studio Rialto on September 24 at 7pm, so make sure to tune in!
Zinnia Naqvi began delving into her family archive very early on in her arts practice and says that since it has become “a springboard for exploring larger themes.” Her archival video work discusses ideas of “outsider culture” and finding places to fit in. She explains that her earlier work expressed clear themes of migration which she was encouraged to explore in her undergrad, but felt too binary, too “East, West; here, there,” for her liking and was often reduced to a immigrant story, even though it usually speaks on many other themes. Her newer work that will be showcased as part of Art POP combines that archival footage with late 20th century memorabilia which helps her to “interact with the physical space” and “eliminate or complicate that border.”
Rah Eleh describes her practice as a performative visual practice featuring various characters, including her three protagonists, Fatema, Oreo, and Coco which speak to different aspects of her experience of growing up as a woman of colour in Quebec. Each of these caricatures explores something significant and comments on pertinent topics of personified image of old world orientalism, gendered performances of whiteness, and a futurism that isn’t tied to a national identity. Her self-referential work uses flamboyancy and humour as a subversive tool to engage people with art as activism. Originating from an activist and journalist practice, Rah chose to move to video work because she felt she needed “more than one frame” to tell her story. Her Art POP Supernova piece brings her characters together in a time-bending work that creates a clash between the past, the present, and the future.
Madelyne Beckles and Leah Schulli co-host a podcast called High T that utilizes common modalities in art criticism to discuss and problematize the Millennial zeitgeist, pop-culture news and internet gleanings. They will be debuting the podcast in video form for the first time at Art POP 2020, joined by special guest Sara Sutterlin: founder and editor in chief of Leste Magazine and its sister magazine, Doof. Listeners and viewers are invited to tune in while they dissect the concept of “drama” and how it pertains to their lifestyles, as well as what is in the cultural news that week. With a deep lexicon of reality television knowledge, a history of hijinks as participants in the Montreal and Toronto art scenes throughout their 20s, and the right amount of applied theory, the hosts of High T aim to celebrate low-brow gems while also using their platform as an outlet to freely express any frustrations of any kind.