In Search of a Loss of Self

28 April 2023 to 10 September 2023

Pardiss Amerian, Hédi Bouraoui, Gabriel Cohen, Elizabeth Eastman, Judy Garfin, Colwyn Griffith, Adad Hannah, Jamelie Hassan, Robert Hedrick, John Howlin, Norman Laliberté, Wadie El Mahdy, Keiko Minami, George Douglas Pepper, Kathleen Daly Pepper, Mary Hiester Reid, Pierre-Léon Tétreault, Jacques de Tonnancour

Curated by Soheila Esfahani and Mélika Hashemi.

The fourteenth instalment of the Community Curator Program approaches the Permanent Collection through an Islamic postcolonial lens. In Search of a Loss of Self explores suppressed and appropriated histories through artists from the Middle East and North Africa and relevant themes such as modernism, orientalism and the infinite. This collaborative research project seeks to unveil and mend the gaps in our collective understanding of these works. In this way, the exhibition becomes a constellation point for the continued (re-)learning of European art history in the West through embodied knowledge and relationality.

Join us for a closing reception on Sunday, 10 September from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

About the Community Curator Program

This program is a unique opportunity for local artists, arts enthusiasts and Gallery Volunteers to propose research projects that focus on the KWAG Permanent Collection. Working closely with KWAG staff, these projects often develop into exhibitions that reflect the personal interests and curiosities of the guest Curator. Through this exchange, new insights invigorate our Collection as a vital archive that is shaped by the community that it serves. For more information about the program, please visit this page.

About the Curators

Soheila Esfahani grew up in Tehran, Iran, and moved to Canada in 1992. She is a visual artist and Assistant Professor at Western University. Her research and art practice navigates the terrains of cultural translation in order to explore the processes involved in cultural transfer and transformation and questions displacement, dissemination, and reinsertion of culture. She is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Canadian Cultural Centre Paris, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Cambridge Art Galleries and collected by various public and private institutions, including the Canada Council’s Art Bank.  


Mélika Hashemi is an artist-researcher and courseware developer based in Kitchener, Ontario. Using art and emerging technologies, she finds ways to creatively renew intersectionality and empowerment beyond screens and institutional walls. Mélika is the course author of Digital Spirituality and co-author of the book O Lone Traveller: Rehearsing Self-Advocacy at the Border. Her research engages with critical arts pedagogies and visual discourse analyses, particularly within New Media art and newer-isms put forth by South Asian, Southwest Asia and North African (SASWANA) diaspora with proximity to Islam.


Image: Colwyn Griffith, Parochial Views No. 8: Arabesque Café, Victoria Street. N., Kitchener, ON, 2010. Lambda print, 99 x 66 cm. Kitchener-Waterloo Art gallery Purchase, with the support of the Gamble Family, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, 2011. Photo courtesy of the Artist. © KWAG. 

Biographical images provided by the Curators.