Curated by Darryn Doull
The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Ugandan-Canadian artist Jessica Karuhanga. Blue as the insides is a survey of Karuhanga’s performance, video and sound installations over the last decade. Through poetic invocations of cultural symbols, artifacts and rituals, Karuhanga creates immersive sensorial environments. These settings collapse linear embodiments of time and uncover aspects of histories and relations that are otherwise hidden or unknown.
Karuhanga’s practice explores self-articulation, beauty, illness, isolation and grief through intuitive approaches to drawing and performative movement. Her projects materialize as solitary encounters that preserve an inherent magic or mystery of the sanctified objects and actions that she employs. Resisting expectations for total transparency, Karuhanga’s polyphonic work speaks more immediately to some communities than others and questions the limits of how cultural artifacts perform, and for whom.
Blue as the insides centers aspects of Black subjectivity and embodiment that is otherwise lost in translation between experience and encounter. Body, place and technology come together to hold traces of Karuhanga’s presence. Image and sound cohere a spiritual resilience that guides visitors as they peer into the private reveries of Black life.
Opening reception: 14 April 2023
Members Preview: 6 pm - 7 pm
General Public: 7 pm - 10 pm
About the Artist
Jessica Karuhanga is a first-generation Canadian artist of British-Ugandan heritage whose work addresses issues of cultural politics of identity and Black diasporic concerns through lens-based technologies, writing, drawing and performances. Through her practice she explores individual and collective concerns of Black subjectivity and embodiment.
She was the 2020 - 2021 recipient of Concordia University's SpokenWeb Artist/Curator-in-Residence Fellowship. Karuhanga has exhibited her work at Mitchell Art Gallery (Edmonton, 2022), the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, 2021), Varley Art Gallery (Markham, 2020), The Bentway (Toronto, 2019), Nuit Blanche (Toronto, 2018) and Onsite Gallery (Toronto, 2018). She has performed at Remai Modern (Saskatoon, 2023), Pallas Art Projects (Dublin, IE, 2022), WNDX Festival of Moving Image (Winnipeg, 2020), Long Winter (Toronto, 2019), Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, 2018), Cooper Cole Gallery (Toronto, 2017), Goldsmiths University (London, UK, 2017) and DoubleDouble Land (Toronto, 2016).
Karuhanga's writing has been published by C Magazine, BlackFlash, Susan Hobbs Gallery, Blackwood Gallery and Fonderie Darling. She has been featured in AGO's Artist Spotlight, i-D, DAZED, Visual Aids, Border Crossings, Exclaim!, Toronto Star, CBC Arts, esse, filthy dreams, Globe and Mail and Canadian Art. She earned her BFA from Western University and MFA from University of Victoria. She is an Assistant Professor at Western University (London, ON).
This exhibition is presented with the support of Women of Influence for Women’s Art (WIWA).
Looking for accessible labels? You can find those here.
KWAG has prepared an Exhibition Resource Guide to supplement your Blue as the insides experience. In this guide, you will find an interview with Jessica Karuhanga by Dr. Nehal El-Hadi. We commissioned this interview, making it unique to KWAG. You will also find a reading and listening list, both curated by Jessica Karuhanga.
1) Jessica Karuhanga, being who you are there is no other (still), 2018. Two-channel video with sound, 15:00 mins. © Jessica Karuhanga.
2) Jessica Karuhanga. Image provided by the Artist. Photo by Gillian Mapp.