Media City Film Festival and Museum London are thrilled to announce three new digital media commissions from BIPOC artists, created as part of the joint project Southwest Seen.

Southwest Seen features newly created works by Calla Moya, Racquel Rowe, and Jude Abu Zaineh, artists with meaningful connections to Southwestern Ontario. Outdoor-facing projections from Museum London’s large Centre at the Forks windows, overlooking the Deshkan Ziibi (Thames River) will occur during hours of darkness. Each projection will be exhibited successively from December 2022 through August 2023.

Southwest Seen is an initiative to reflect this region’s diverse culture and history. It is developed by Museum London in partnership with Windsor-Detroit’s Media City Film Festival (MCFF), who will also host the works virtually from July 10 – August 10, 2023. The project aslo involves artistic and curatorial partners  Christine Negus (London Ontario Media Arts Association, LOMAA) and London artists Evond Blake (aka MEDIAH), Anahí González Terán and Amanda Myers/Kitaay Bizhikikwe.

Exhibition dates and information about each Southwest Seen artist and commission are outlined below. 

Calla Moya: past(or)already

December 16, 2022 – March 2, 2023 • Centre at the Forks Outdoor Screens

In past(or)already, Moya uses childhood photographs as a resource to explore process, materials and personal meaning. These images, including the young artist on a swingset in her grandmother’s backyard, or this area’s ubiquitous cornfields, were scanned, cut and spliced into an almost quilt-like assemblage. It exists as an art object, with elements converted into 16 mm film and then digitized. These meticulous steps allow for a creative contemplation of both artistry and identity.

Calla Moya’s media works have been exhibited at Artspace, Peterborough; the8fest Small-Gauge Film Festival and Vtape in Toronto; International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany; and Festival Phénomena, Montreal. Moya has participated in LOMAA’s Broad Topics series, and in residencies at Saw Video and Studio 303.

Racquel Rowe: Bodies of Water: Waves of Migration

March 3 – May 18, 2023 • Centre at the Forks Outdoor Screens

Rowe’s video begins with imagery of the Atlantic shore of Barbados. While it looks like a postcard, this view was long the first sight of land for enslaved peoples. The water grows rougher, the turbulence eventually coalescing into a view, now of Lake Huron. The waves become interchangeable, existing neither as an ocean or lake, but as a hybrid. To Rowe, this parallels the experience of the Caribbean Diaspora in Southern Ontario, which she describes as “no longer culturally belonging in the places they grew up, and still not intertwined into the ‘Canadian’ landscape either.” Rowe notes: “I want to call out to the many of us living in Southern Ontario who might stumble upon the work and feel an instant sense of home, relief, or nostalgia. Those who might feel a sense of belonging that isn’t always afforded to Black, immigrant populations.”

Racquel Rowe’s exhibitions include programs at Queens Park Gallery, Bridgetown, Barbados; Gallery TPW and Trinity Square, Toronto; Ed Video Media Arts Centre, Guelph; Optica centre d’art contemporain and La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Montreal; Cambridge Art Galleries; and the Zavitz Gallery, University of Guelph.

Jude Abu Zaineh: FORMations

May 19 – August 10, 2023 • Centre at the Forks Outdoor Screens

FORMations reflects the natural ecology of this region’s food and flora. Sampling the earth, indigenous and collected plant species, and leftover foods, it examines constant evolution within an ever-shifting cultural and geographical landscape. The Petri dish environment makes visible the invisible by encouraging microbial and bacterial communities that naturally exist within food and our overall surroundings. This enclosed environment makes metaphorical connections to often ignored or erased narratives, and the layered complexities of hybrid existences that many newcomer (human and nonhuman species) experience in their respective, evolving habitats. 

FORMations is a visual nod to the artist’s cultural heritage, referencing geometric forms found in Southwest Asia and North African architecture and Islamic art, while acknowledging the larger landscapes, foods, resources and diverse ecosystems in Southwestern Ontario. It also references Museum London’s artist garden by Ron Benner, As The Crow Flies

Jude Abu Zaineh has presented her work at the Ontario Science Centre and MOCA Toronto; the Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia in Portugal; Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City; Centre Culturel Canadien, Paris; School of Visual Arts, New York City; the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco; Forest City Gallery, London; and Art Windsor-Essex.