Explore questions of place and place-making through a focus on water as a migratory body and living relation, in Campbell River Art Gallery’s latest exhibition Interrelations: a third perspective by Abdi Osman, curated by Ellyn Walker.

Water brings with it complex histories of global Indigeneity and diaspora, enslavement and indentureship, (im)migration and freedom-seeking. With every tide these histories come to the fore, reminding us of water’s ongoing-ness as a force that has brought and continues to bring diverse peoples to these territories. 

For this project, Osman, a Somali-Canadian artist, responds to this complex region and its many histories in a new multi-media work made in situ, as well as through a series of collaborations with artists, writers and facilitators.

Opening June 9 with a reception, curator and artist talk from 5-7pm, the exhibition will run at the gallery until August 19, with additional pieces on display amongst public outdoor settings in Campbell River. 

Osman and curator Ellyn Walker have collaborated on a number of projects. This project extends their collaborative practice around complicating representations of belonging in the settler colonial context of Canada, bringing their attention to questions of diaspora in relation to the complex site of Campbell River, British Columbia, in particular, as visitors/guests to unceded Indigenous territories.

Osman is a Somali-Canadian multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on questions of black masculinity as it intersects with Muslim and queer identities. 

Osman’s artistic practice is concerned with representations of belonging in local, national and diasporic contexts. He has dedicated 15 + years to documenting Black, queer, trans and Muslim individuals and communities, exploring questions of identity, gender, sexuality, and faith. 

As a queer artist, he is implicated in the communities he documents, and as such, is inspired by his own friends, family and communities, of whom he often collaborates with. 

Osman’s work has been widely shown in Canada and internationally. 

He is currently a research fellow at the Mark Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies where his research focuses on representations of pleasure. 

Walker is a curator and scholar based in what is presently known as Toronto. Her work explores questions of representation, place-making, and inclusion in the arts as they pertain to distinct positional, cultural, and institutional contexts. 

Walker’s research considers intersections between whiteness, diaspora, heteropatriachy, settler-colonialism, and capitalism, within contemporary museum practice, critical art history, and Canadian visual culture. 

Her work is inspired by Black feminism, Indigenous methodologies, queer phenomenology, and critical settler studies, and is driven by an ongoing commitment to social justice in all its forms. 

Walker recently completed a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University where her research focused on decolonial curatorial methodologies used in contemporary exhibition-making in Canada and beyond. 

She is currently working on a co-edited anthology with Michelle Jacques called Curatorial Contestations: Critical Exhibition-Making Practices in Canada that explores diverse curatorial pedagogies and critical exhibition projects from across the country. 

The Campbell River Art Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm. See ‘Interrelations’ from June 9 to August 19.

To register for the opening reception on June 9 go to https://crartgallery.ca/events/#!event/2023/6/9/interrelations-opening-reception-artist-talk-with-abdi-osman