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Mnemonic silences, disappearing acts

Documentation by Toni Hafkenschied


The Art Museum at the University of Toronto and The Jackman Humanities Institute

September 13, 2023 - June 21, 2024

Featuring Kasra Jalilipour, Jordan King, Kama La Mackerel, Hazel Meyer and Cait McKinney, and Lan "Florence" Yee


The archive has long been theorized as a structuring force that informs public memory, state narratives, and the making of official history. When trans and queer histories enter the archive, the conditions upon which they are absorbed are often those of surveillance, criminalization, coloniality, and degradation. More commonly, however, these histories do not make their way into official archives at all, which leads to a fragmented remembering of queer and trans pasts.

Mnemonic silences, disappearing acts grapples with the absences, erasures, and censorships that colour the queer and trans archive, seeking forms of documentation, storytelling, and memory-keeping that serve marginalized communities. Responding to the Jackman Humanities Institute’s 2023–24 research theme Absence, this exhibition interrogates the gaps that puncture the queer and trans archive, making visible their political nature and proposing strategies for a future of queer and trans history-making that refuses the lens of the oppressor. Through fiction-making, critical imagining, and revisionism, the artists in Mnemonic silences, disappearing acts gesture at and supplement histories of queer and trans people that are insufficient, compromised, colonial, or simply absent.

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gendertrash from hell:
to heaven

Film still from ALLO PERFORMANCE! Mirha-Soleil Ross and Mark Karbusicky, 2002

Co-curator, with Karina Iskandarsjah (as Crocus Collective)


September 9, 2021

gendertrash from hell: to heaven presents three performance and video works by transsexual videographer, performance artist, sex worker, and activist Mirha-Soleil Ross: Tremblement de Chair (2001), Madame Lauraine’s Transsexual Touch (2001), and ALLO PERFORMANCE! (2002). This mini-retrospective looks back at Ross’s activism as it relates to pleasure, desire, and futurity. Each video work puts forward artistic strategies invested in a safer and more inclusive future, projecting fragments of a potential utopia into our contemporary lives. These works speak to Ross’s legacy of actualizing a potential heaven for trans people and sex workers through her videos, performance art, and activism in the 1990s and 2000s.

This program featured a live conversation with Monica Forrester, sex work activist and Program and Outreach co-ordinator for Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project. Since 1999, Monica has worked in various agencies to educate and make services accessible for trans folks, advocating for trans women to be allowed into women’s shelters and in creating policies to prevent shelters from discriminating against trans women.

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the body as a fever dream

Documentation by Roya DelSol


Xpace Cultural Centre

October 9 - November 7, 2020

Featuring Séamus Gallagher, Eija Loponen-Stephenson, Sheri Osden Nault, Camille Rojas, Lauren Runions, and B Wijshijer

With accompanying movement workshop led by Danielle Smith

the body as a fever dream addresses the moments in which our understanding of and presence in our own bodies is fluctuating, moments in which we feel we do not wholly exist, moments where our physicality may encounter a limbo state between presence and absence. A digital dance performance acts as companion to the artworks in this exhibition, posing questions around how the body takes form in gallery settings and how meaning is made in the absence of performing bodies.

exhibition essay

digital performance

Documentation by Karina Iskandarsjah

this house,
made and mended by unbelonging hands

Co-curator, with Karina Iskandarsjah (as Riverdale Curatorial Projects / Crocus Collective)

Riverdale Hub Gallery

April 1 - June 30, 2021

Featuring Dayna Danger, Akash Inbakumar, Kaythi, Vincy Lim, Yahn Nemirovsky, and Cleopatria Peterson

this house, made and mended by unbelonging hands is a group exhibition of contemporary craft and zine works by emerging queer artists. Throughout history, queer people, and especially queer people of colour, have had to make their own spaces, their own communities, and their own systems of documenting their stories. this house, made and mended by unbelonging hands showcases artists whose work takes on expansive approaches to craft practices and speaks to this legacy of queer-spacemaking, kinship, and continual resistance across time. Dayna Danger, Akash Inbakumar, Kaythi, Vincy Lim, Yahn Nemirovsky, and Cleopatria Peterson present works that engage the longstanding tradition of queer craft as something that connects us to past and future queer ancestors.

Proof 27

Documentation by Darren Rigo


Gallery 44 

October 29 - December 11, 2021

Featuring Shirin Fathi, Shohreh GolAzad, Karishma Pranjivan, and Xan Shian.

Proof is Gallery 44’s annual group exhibition of work by emerging Canadian artists, reflecting a range of current concerns and practices in contemporary photography and lens-based media.

The artists in Proof 27 hold and reshape the demarcation of space in their explorations of distance and closeness, separation and intimacy. They implement lens-based practices to perform an undoing of demarcation, destabilizing the boundaries through which we define proximity and intimacy and instead reframe understandings of space as multiple and interstitial. The works in Proof 27 plumb the depth of distance, forging an eclectic document of proximity, space and intimacy.

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in the hole

Documentation by Karina Iskandarsjah

Co-curator with Silverfish

Trinity Square Video

December 9 - 22, 2023

Featuring Hannah Bullock, Melly Davidson, Saint Haarley (Shaza Tarig Elnour), Mobólúwajídìde D. Joseph, abisola oni, and Sid Sharp

in the hole brings together physical manifestations of the works developed for Silverfish's third print publication. The featured artists put forward a divergent collection of holes: ranging from the erotic, to the erased, to the subterranean. 

You're Always Coming
When I'm Going

Documentation by Philip Leonard Ocampo

Co-curator with Silverfish and the Art History Graduate Student Association at York University

Gales Gallery, York University 

June 18 - June 22, 2022

Featuring Anna Daliza, Irum, Lina Wu, and Saysah Yoroonatii

You’re Always Coming When I’m Going considers transitions, both personal and historical, through representations of grief, relationality, consumption, and desire. To transition is to cross or go beyond, to enter a state of liminal looming uncertainty. This exhibition marks the launch of the second issue of Silverfish, showcasing works created during an eight-week residency program and working group. 

now that the artifice is dissolved,

Documentation by Philip Leonard Ocampo

Co-curator with mg hamilton and Sameen Mahboubi


November 14 - November 30, 2020

Featuring Jessica Kasiama, Alex Lepianka, Miao Liu, and B Wijshijer

now that the artifice is dissolved, examines manifestations of the cyborg through material and conceptual frameworks. This exhibition corresponds with the launch of the first issue of Silverfish, and showcases the works developed throughout the Silverfish workshop program by the inaugural cohort.

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