Centre3, Hamilton, Canada 07 Jan 2021 - 20 Feb 2021
(left) Alexis Rivierre, On Being (Self Portrait), 2018; (right) Farihah Aliyah Shah, Untitled (Roots), 2017. Courtesy the artists.
Centre for Artistic and Social Practice in Hamilton Ontario, Canada presents two exhibitions by Farihah Aliyah Shah: Billie Said ‘Strange Fruit’ and Alexis Rivierre: This, That & the Third running from 7 January until 20 February.
Farihah Aliyah Shah: Billie Said ‘Strange Fruit’
Using self-portraiture and simple installations, Billie Said ‘Strange Fruit’ aims to respond to the current Black Lives Matter movement and past civil rights movements advocating for justice and equality whilst commenting on the lack of representation of Black bodies in the history of photography.
The series reflects on the significant history of still-life photography and botanical objects and challenges the viewer to elevate fragmented or disenfranchised bodies to the same respect as the popularly photographed succulent. The series lends its name from the 1930s poem “Strange Fruit” which was popularized by Billie Holiday. The poem speaks about the common practice of lynching in the American South. Despite the literal disappearance of this act, the figurative and systemic lynching of Black bodies from the contemporary socio-political discourse remains.
Farihah Aliyah Shah is a contemporary lens-based artist originally from Edmonton, Alberta now based in Bradford, Ontario. She holds a BHRM from York University and a BFA in Photography with a minor in Integrated Media from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario.
Shah utilizes photography, video and sound installation, exploring identity formation through the colonial gaze, race, land and collective memory. She seeks to challenge the lack of representation of disenfranchised bodies in the photographic cannon and representational art, encouraging others to take agency of their image. She is a member of Mast Year Collective, Gallery 44 and Women Photograph and has exhibited internationally in North America, Asia and Europe.
Alexis Rivierre: This, That & the Third
Through a body of work that includes photography, video, sculpture, and public intervention, Alexis Rivierre’s This, That & the Third investigates the ways in which citizens of the United States receive social conditioning that informs their perceptions of self and “other”. Focusing on the stereotypical tropes of Black women that are perpetuated by language, film and other forms of media the artist draws on her personal experience to create counter-narratives that challenge limiting forms of representation. Utilizing her clothing and personal objects to create masks that are employed in scenarios that explore themes of isolation, anxiety, and adornment the artist asserts that self-care and protection are vital components in the cultivation of power and agency.
Alexis Rivierre’s interdisciplinary practice incorporates elements of soft-sculpture, performance, and self-portraiture to activate strategies of storytelling. She holds a BFA in Art with a minor in Art History from Missouri State University and an MFA in Studio Art from Wichita State University. A past participant of the Paul Artspace residency she has shown her work in group and solo exhibitions including Wayfarers Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, The Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, KS and The Kansas Museum in Wichita, KS. Rivierre has received grants from the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and in 2021 she will participate in the ACRE residency. Born in St. Louis, MO the artist is currently based in New York City.