September 19-23, 2019
Beaver Hall Gallery
29 McCaul Street (between Queen and Dundas West)

exhibition summary

Shapeshifters centres the work of two-spirit artists in conversation with queerness and explores how identity can mould and shape itself in fluid, atemporal ways. Artists will examine the relationship to body, self and others as queer, bisexual, pansexual, fluid, variant, non-binary, trans and two-spirit people. Selected artists work in a variety of mediums including material arts, textiles, traditional craft, ceremonial objects, paintings, photographs, sculpture, mixed media, video, installation, sound and performance, including experiential or time-based explorations.

Art is a way to travel between states of existence through acts of storytelling. It can be somatic, deeply sensed in the body. We tap into collective emotions or messages. We are a conductor of energy, a tuning fork that channels resonances from the spirit world and our higher selves. It doesn’t need to be explained, merely felt. Art escapes reason, transgresses the physical realm and simultaneously embodies the material. Queer and Two Spirit identity sits in liminal space– we belong to neither world, yet exist in both.

This exhibit considers outsiderness as a gift, as healers of the collective. We are the trickster liaison between the underdog and the powerful. We do this with our ability to connect, appeal and attract others, to offer truths that are necessary and sometimes uncomfortable. We offer humour, compassion, and challenge what it means to exist and take physical form. We will reject societal and personal narratives that do not situate identity by us, or for us. Shapeshifters is a hub for queer, trans, bisexual, pansexual, fluid and 2spirit people that acts as a coding/homing device for us to find each other.

The goal of Shapeshifters is to enhance representation of two spirit, bisexual, fluid and queer voices in art. Peer-to-peer relationships are sorely needed. Two-spirit identities are often not represented in media or entertainment and we need to create spaces that nurture identity-based acts of creation. Our communities face exclusion in traditional and non-traditional settings. Shapeshifters is a response to voices that have gone ‘underground’ as a result of colonization, homophobia or transphobia.

We experience disproportionate amounts of violence within our traditional communities, families and societally. Where we are told there is no space for us, is where we must take and create our own spaces.

Using Format