SOS: A Story of Survival, Part I - The Image

8 October 2022 to 22 January 2023

Pardiss Amerian, James Gardner, Paula McLean, Caroline Monnet, Thao Nguyen Phan, Cecilia Vicuña

Curated by Darryn Doull

What does it mean to survive?

Within a nation founded by colonialism, we find ourselves surrounded by survivals. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, with increasing violence and war around the world, rampant global warming and staggering levels of inequality, survival is not only a philosophical question but a reality of daily life. 

SOS: A Story of Survival is a three-part exhibition exploring what survival is, what it looks like and what it means to survive. Working from a place of cultural history in the art museum, this series begins with Part I – The Image. Like Achille Mbembe’s archive, where he locates the “the struggle against the fragments of life being dispersed,” [1] the artists in this exhibition bring images and histories together to survive in new forms and contexts. As the past mingles with the present, meaningful views toward the future come into focus. This process reveals connections between humans, non-humans and the matter of the world. Traditions, narratives and intergenerational lineages of knowledge survive with a vibrant vitality.

Part II – The Body will occur in 2023 and Part III – The Planet will conclude the project in 2024. 

Logo for Waterloo Region Community Foundation - The Musagetes Fund




This exhibition is supported by The Musagetes Fund, held at Waterloo Region Community Foundation, and the Allan MacKay Curatorial Fund.

Premier Exhibition Sponsor:

CIBC Private Wealth - Allan Bush Investment Team logo



Artist Pardiss Amerian collaborated with Mel Mikhail to produce a short text in relation to Amerian’s painting Promise of Promise of Hope. Access this story here on our website or by scanning the QR code on the exhibition label.


[1] Mbembe Achille (2002) ‘The Power of the Archive and Its Limits’, in Carolyn Hamilton et al. eds., Refiguring the Archive. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press. 19-26.

Image: Thao Nguyen Phan, Becoming Alluvium (still), 2019. Single-channel colour video. 16:50 mins. © Thao Nguyen Phan. 


Related Events & Programs

14 October 2022
to 14 October 2022
Event Type: Special Events
Celebrate the opening of our fall exhibitions
15 October 2022
to 15 October 2022
Event Type: Talks & Tours
Join us for a talk and exhibition visit with Pardiss Amerian to learn about her work in SOS: A Story of Survival