What: Rooted Sentiments
Who: Exhibition featuring Maura Tamez, Cassandra Adjetey, Shimshon Obadia and Moozhan Ahmadzadegan.
When: Friday, February 11 to Wednesday, February 23
Where: FINA Gallery, Creative and Critical Studies Building, 1148 Research Road, UBC Okanagan campus
An art exhibition featuring the work of four Okanagan-based BIPOC artists—Maura Tamez, Cassandra Adjetey, Shimshon Obadia and Moozhan Ahmadzadegan—opens at UBC Okanagan’s campus next week.
With support from UBC’s Equity Enhancement Fund and the Black Liquorice Studio, the artist collective presents its inaugural show Rooted Sentiments. The collective is founded by UBCO Master of Fine Arts student Michaela Bridgemohan as part of her ongoing work to create space for BIPOC artists.
Rooted Sentiments invites viewers to consider the ways we make a home for ourselves, and the ways we invite or exclude others from doing the same, she explains.
“I want to bring attention to the BIPOC artists living in the Okanagan who are students or alumni from UBCO,” she says. “While diverse in subject and medium, this work investigates the way an exploration of roots and intersections of identity can inform and create our sense of home—as a material reality, a network of relations and a place in the imagination.”
While Bridgemohan did not plan the exhibition specifically around Black History Month, the timing of the show makes for a perfect connection in highlighting the work of all artists of colour in Kelowna.
Bridgemohan understands too well the systemic barriers for BIPOC artists in Canada. In 2020, Canadian Art magazine reported on a research paper and audit, titled “Black Representation in Calgary’s Contemporary Art Scene,” which was co-authored by her along with Levin Ifko, Alicia Buates McKenzie and Uli Savage. Their research illuminated the systemic barriers to BIPOC artists in Calgary, and Canada more widely.
While the submissions Bridgemohan received for Rooted Sentiments reflected a diversity of voices and experiences, she saw common threads too, noting some artists withdrew their submissions, thinking they were not good enough for public display.
“This lack of confidence is symptomatic of a lack of representation, with many artists believing they are not worthy, not good enough. And this is upsetting,” she says. “All the work I saw was legitimate and gallery-ready. And it reflected a longing to be seen, not just as individuals, but also the conversations they were having.”
The exhibition will be open in the Creative and Critical Studies Building’s FINA Gallery at UBC Okanagan from February 11 to 23, and open for viewing daily from 9 am to 4 pm, excluding weekends.
To learn more about Rooted Sentiments, or Black Liquorice Studio’s next event at the Lake Country Gallery this September, contact Michaela Bridgemohan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the artists, their work and the upcoming FINA exhibit visit: gallery.ok.ubc.ca/2022/02/02/rooted-sentiments