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Unoccupied NY by Vessna Perunovich

Its theme of artists living in the context of the diaspora, segues with one of the sections in Moving Image, the RMG’s new permanent collection exhibition. Millions of people are on the move and displaced from their home countries, and that displacement leaves voids and longing for what once was.

A key work in Moving Image is a video by Vessna Perunovich entitled Unoccupied NY. It follows the artist through different parts of New York City as she carries a single mattress on her back. Her work addresses concepts of migration, longing and boundaries, as well as the diversity of New York’s populations along ethnic, social and economic lines. Perunovich, like four of the five artists in Beyond Measure, is an immigrant to Canada who relates to a sense of the dis-rootedness and yearning that comes with leaving one’s home country. This work challenges the viewer to look more deeply into the individual experience and the singular work and see its universal themes.

– Senior Curator, Linda Jansma