A group of eight Katarokwi-Kingston artists have collaborated to create a new residency exhibition called Side-Ways.
The exhibition is co-presented by Union Gallery and Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. Pieces will be displayed in Union Gallery from Oct. 12 to 30, with additional artwork on display at Modern Fuel from Oct. 12 to Dec. 4.
Coordinated by GHY Cheung and naphtali, Side-Ways features art by Michelle Bunton, William Carroll, Francisco Corbett, Grace Katie Dixon, Brian Hoad, Deena Jacobs, Jean Jamieson-Hanes, and Rafael MacDonald.
The residency began in November of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic challenging the artists to collaborate and form bonds with each other virtually.
The Journal spoke with GHY Cheung, Project Coordinator, and artists William Carroll and Rafael MacDonald about their experience creating Side-Ways during tumultuous times.
“[People should recognize] the resilience of trying to make art during a very weird time,” MacDonald said.
“Even though things in Ontario were very chaotic and shut down, things still happened and got made. I think that alone is worth acknowledging.”
The unstructured nature of Side-Ways Artist Residency has formed connections between artists who likely wouldn’t have met otherwise without constant pressure to communicate.
“It was kind of up to you to reach out and contact other members of the residency,” Carroll said. “It was intimidating [to make those connections] in a lot of ways. [However, MacDonald and I] were able to meet in person, and that’s a connection that I’m very happy I was able to make.”
Carroll didn’t expect to have this opportunity in Kingston, given its overall lack of residencies.
The residency fosters an informal creative environment that welcomes constructive conversation, mentorship, and peer-to-peer support.
“There wasn’t a thematic concern for what people should make art about,” Cheung said. “[We wanted] some sort of infrastructure for sustained conversations between artists in Kingston.”
Cheung said the residency was a way to encourage a form of mentorship among artists where the learning goes both ways. As a result, Side-Ways allows artists of varying experience and skill levels to learn from each other.
“When we were building this residency, one thing that was really important to us was to think about the importance of collaboration and working together.”
Cheung noted that collaboration doesn’t always require both artists to contribute to the piece physically. Instead, artistic kinship can be built through conversation.
“You’re always already collaborating with other people because you’re talking to your friends and other artists,” Cheung said. “It’s recognizing that a lot of your ideas don’t necessarily come only from you—it’s the result of all these other voices and influences.”
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