The Images in Our Heads

September 10th, 2016 – January 8th, 2017

sculpture by Alana MacDougall

Alana MacDougall, Untitled (Pin Piece) 2016 – alternate installation view, Ceramic, Steel Wire, Cable, Hardware
Variable dimensions

Opening: RMG Fridays, September 9, 7-10pm
Guest Speakers Forum: October 22, 1-4pm

Feminist writer, poet, and social justice activist, Gloria Anzaldúa describes fantasy and the world of images as being that of “the underworld”, a world where desire and dreams are unattached to our external reality and free from any expectation for reason or convention. Imagining alternative spaces fuels us with the agency to be different, to try on new identities and embodiments, to express individual experience and longing, to disrupt the status quo and to form pathways to change. Through our bodies, our words, our communities and our art, these imaginings find their portals out to the public and find meaning in those who witness, who watch and who carefully listen.

Sometimes our imaginings are hijacked by messages in the media, and by stereotypes and cultural perceptions of the ‘real’. Fantasy and reality, the internal world and the external world interweave when we tell, and are told to believe, stories about our bodies, our minds, our histories, our ancestors, our gods, our identities, our purposes or roles in society. Living with and taking pride in the experience of disability and difference lends itself to dismantling these messages that isolate, exclude, segregate and tell us that we shouldn’t be here.

The Images in Our Heads takes its title from a passage in “Borderlands/ La Frontera” by Gloria Anzaldúa. Writing from the geographical position of the American Southwest, Anzaldúa identifies the cultural, territorial, spiritual and sexual borders in her life, and describes the psychological and emotional states that occur when inhabiting these borders. She talks about a back and forth negotiation between the internal and external forces and understanding of difference. “The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”

Alana McDougall, Syrus Marcus Ware, Alexis Bulman, Jennifer Martin and Andrew McPhail explore the tension between their external reality and what Anzaldúa describes as “the world of the soul and its images.” Breaking apart the visible and invisible, the artists negotiate the ‘real’ and deliver their imaginings of difference as a point of invention, magic, survival, resistance, celebration and unexplored territory.

Visit the exhibition website at theimagesinourheads.ca for the digital catalogue, more information about the artists, curators, programming, and exhibition as well as details about accessibility.

Funding for this project has been provided by a Deaf and Disability Project grant through the Ontario Arts Council.