Gallery 101 is pleased to present Le dernier des touristes by Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman and Laurena Finéus.
Vernissage: Saturday June 11, 2:00 – 5:00 PM in person at Gallery 101.
Artist talks : Wednesday June 22, 7:00 PM ET on Zoom.
Workshop : Saturday July 16, 2:00 - 4:00 PM in person at Gallery 101.
Extended: The exhibition has been extended until July 16!
Le dernier des touristes is titled after a poem by Haitian author, Kettly Mars. In her poem, Mars describes the tourist gaze and its constant search for an ‘’authentic’’ exotic experience, as she observes foreigners trying to wander into the darkest of slums looking to validate the prejudices of their conception of the ‘’third world’’.
In this exhibition, Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman and Laurena Finéus counter preconceived touristic notions of exoticism and danger attached to their Haitian and Somali-Indian cultural and ethnic identities. By taking the standpoint of an ‘oppositional gaze’, as coined by bell hooks, the Black figures shown in their compositions are neither othered nor marginalized, but in power. The unapologetic use of Black figurative imaginings commands space, gaze, and narratives.
To the artists, a ‘tourist’ is an outsider who has yet to understand the essence of the communities in which they arrive. Each work explores their communities’ essences as diverse points of ‘contact’ between north and south, western and other, seen throughout the combined communal histories of Somalia, India and Haiti. Compositionally, the essences meet with third-spaces in the foreground, layering the artists’ third-culture lived experiences as children of immigrants in the Black-Canadian diaspora.
Le Dernier des touristes demonstrates rich, multifaceted perspectives through visual storytelling, re-working of historical events, and personal familial archives, deepening understandings of what it means to be honestly rooted in Haitian and Somali-Indian identity and history in so-called Canada.
Laurena Finéus is a Haitian visual artist, educator and art administrator specialized in painting. She was born and raised in Gatineau, Québec, and is currently based between Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario. In her practice, Finéus has been concerned with representations of Haiti, relationality within its dyaspora, and its growing archives across the globe through an array of figurative and painterly imagined landscapes. These elements are juxtaposed with personal memories of her life in so-called Canada. The teachings of Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot in ‘Silencing the past’ informs her understanding of visual narration in her practice. Finéus’ strategies include the collapsing of history in order to question its production and its mechanisms.
Finéus is a graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in Communication. Her work has been exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2021), Karsh-Masson Gallery (2021), the Ottawa school of Art (2021), Art mûr (2019) and Galerie 115 (2019-2020) among others and is part of a range of private collections internationally. She is the recipient of the Ottawa Arts Council IBPOC Emerging Artist Award (2022), the Edmund and Isobel Ryan Visual art scholarship (2020), and the Ineke Harmina Standish Memorial (2019).
Facebook & Instagram: @lvurena
Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman is an emerging Somali-Indian multidisciplinary artist based in Ottawa and Montreal. Her art practice involves both mixed media painting and video art. Through the re-working of family photo albums, Abdourahman’s work addresses her cultural history, using her art practice as a means to connect with her heritage. Through this process, she explores concepts of migration, familial history, and discrimination. In 2020, Abdourahman received a BFA from Concordia University in Studio Arts. She has designed murals for the Vanier Community Service Centre in Ottawa as well as Lansdowne & the Glebe Park. In addition, her video work has been featured in the CBC Arts Documentary Series: Exhibitionists. In 2021, her collaborative mural work was displayed in a group exhibition titled “Filtered” at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Her work has also been exhibited at Wallack Galleries, Institut National Art contemporain, La Maison d’Haïti. And her work is a part of the Ottawa Art Collections.
Twitter/ Instagram: @thesmecca