Towards is pleased to present «Vacancies» an exhibition featuring the work of Abbas Akhavan, Sameer Farooq, and Joshua Vettivelu.
Through their respective practices, these artists explore histories and spaces that have often been neglected or overlooked by dominant culture.
Mining both personal and public narratives, the works in Vacancies share a sense of intimacy – exploring identity, collective memory, the body, and loss. In doing so, they raise important questions regarding representation, and who gets to decide what is included and what is omitted when we speak of «history.»
Please join us for the opening Thursday, December 7, between 6 and 9pm.
Abbas Akhavan’s practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in his practice. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home—the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes. Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), the Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014), the Sobey Art Award (2015), and the Fellbach Triennial Award (2016).
Sameer Farooq (b. 1978) completed an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2014) and a BFA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (2005). His interdisciplinary practice investigates tactics of representation and enlists the tools of installation, photography, documentary filmmaking, writing and the methods of anthropology to explore various forms of collecting, interpreting, and display.
Recent projects include an ambitious public installation at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto and an upcoming exhibition inaugurating the University of Reno’s new arts centre. He has exhibited internationally and nationally at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), the Art Gallery of York University, Open Studio (Toronto), Maquis Projects (Izmir, Turkey), Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga), Trankat (Tétouan, Morocco), Sol Koffler Gallery (Providence, USA), Artellewa (Cairo, Egypt), and Sanat Limani (Istanbul, Turkey). Farooq has been awarded several grants from the Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and the Europe Media Fund, as well the President’s Scholarship at the Rhode Island School of Design. He also appeared on the 2017 Sobey Art Award long list.
Joshua Vettivelu is an artist working within sculpture, video, performance and installation. Their work seeks to explore how larger frameworks of power impact and manifest within intimate personal relationships. Recently, their practice has been looking at the relationships of labour and consumption that occurs when personal experiences are mined for the production of art. Vettivelu currently teaches at OCAD University within the faculty of Continuing Education and is the Director of Programming at Whippersnapper Gallery.