LONG WINTER: Decussation: Experiences Through Video

Trinity Square is excited to present a program of videos curated by Zviko Mhakayakora, which will be presented at Long Winter season closer at the Gladstone Hotel.

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24 March 2017
7 PM–2 AM
Danièle Dennis, Maisha Marshall-Ende, naakita feldman-kiss and Renée Mathews
curated by Zviko Mhakayakora

Tickets available here

Presented as part of the season closer of this year’s Long Winter series, Decussation: Experiences Through Video features video works by four artists and designers that explore identity, colonization, intersectionality, processes of reclamation, the retelling of histories, experiences of belonging, racalization and having one’s awareness changed. Collectively, these videos explore the construction of self and the many influences that shape us into being. This exhibition opens a dialogue about self-reclamation and the many forms that it can take. Telling stories is important for growth—of oneself and others—through learning. How can one use contemporary art and design to further explore identity and what it means to be?

Long Winter is an all­-ages inter-­arts festival that takes place throughout the winter months. Taking place in iconic buildings around Toronto—this time at the Gladstone Hotel—these spaces are transformed for a single night of notable artistic collaboration. Featuring the works and installations of over 250 artists/collectives in a range of mediums, Long Winter’s programming aims to provide a platform for the experimental work of local artists, to challenge the expectations and foster creative interactions between audiences and spaces. As an inter-­arts festival, Long Winter includes work that crosses mediums from performance art, theatre and dance, large-­scale sculptural installations, projections (single and dual screen videos, still images), visual installations (print, painting, photography collage) and interactive work such as the presentation of original video games by different local programmers.

Decussation: Experiences Through Video features the following works:

Danièle Dennis
Color Me Bad, (2015)

What is Black? What does it mean to be Black? Using everyday items, varying coats of blackness are applied to the skin, leaving residual markings. Each physical layer carries its own underlying metaphor —ranging from racial makeup and markers, to colourism within the Black community (an ode to Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry [1929]), to bell hooks’s comments on ethnicity as spice, and finally, dirt as an element holding no value. In 2015, at a time where the value of black lives remains in question as evidenced by the Black Lives Matter movement, where being Black persists as synonymous to being “bad,” how do we as a society move beyond assumptions associated with blackness?

naakita feldman-kiss
Grandma’s Crystal Flowers, 2016

Grandma’s Crystal Flowersoffers a glimpse into an intimate conversation between three generations of a maternal line. As an evening progresses, three women speak about home and belonging, race and identity, history, their shared lineage and the intersections of their personal experiences. The work examines what it is to be a grandmother, mother, daughter and granddaughter, both respectively and collectively. The conversation highlights the differing and converging experiences of being an immigrant, first-generation or second-generation person in Canada. Throughout the evening, character traits and family dynamics emerge through the recollection and negotiation of family histories and mythologies. This project was commissioned by Trinity Square Video as part of their 2016 thematic residency program.

Maisha Marshall-Ende
Can I touch it: I am not my hair, 2016

This piece is intended as an outlet for my frustration—a frustration that many other women of colour feel too. Reworked from a very “general” commentary on society’s view of women and their hair, to a more specific focus on women of colour. This piece is intended to tackle a range of topics, such as issues of identity, day-to-day comments, competition and superiority, and hair type hierarchy. It is also about creating a community around a commonality, and giving a voice to a shared and under-represented struggle. Hair matters. Hair is important. But ultimately, I am not just my hair.

Renée Mathews
An Experiment, 2017

This video is the culmination of an experiment designed to explore the emotions of black artists. A series of emotionally provoking questions surrounding the topics of identity, safety, love and community are given as prompts for self-reflection. Throughout the question period, subjects are not allowed to talk and can only respond via the materials provided. The video documents the emotional labour of the subjects and their creative processes. Check out Mathews’s website to see image of the large-scale drawings whose production is documented in the video.


Danièle Dennis‘s experiences as a Jamaican-Canadian woman prompt her investigation of racial, cultural and identity issues primarily through performance, material exploration and installation. Dennis holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and is currently a Masters of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been presented at a number of outlets including The New Gallery, Idea Exchange and Xpace Cultural Centre. Dennis is also a co-founder of Y+ contemporary, an artist-run project space and studio.

naakita feldman-kiss is a Canadian artist and writer working between Montréal, Ottawa and Toronto. In 2016, she completed her BFA at Concordia University in Intermedia, and is trained in media art and performance. Her practice examines intergenerational memory, the importance of oral tradition and the impact of technologies on sharing cultures. Recent presentations of the artist’s works include New York MoMA PS1 (2012); Eastern Bloc, Montreal, QC (2015); Unnoticed Festival, Nijmegen, NL (2016); Trinity Square Video, Toronto, ON (2016). feldman-kiss’s writing and critical analyses have been published in KAPSULA magazine (2015) and Queer Codes (2016), among other online and print publications.

Maisha Marshall-Ende is an Ethiopian Canadian photographer/videographer, entering her fourth year at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. Her work explores black culture in contemporary society, with a focus on the black woman. She draws inspiration from her own life, noticing the daily challenges and experiences unique to woman of colour.

Renée Mathews is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto with a focus on photography, poetry, and film. Her current practices investigate vulnerability, sensuality and identity in a Black Canadian context.

Zviko Mhakayakora is an artist/designer, curator and event planner from Harare, Zimbabwe. She completed a BDES in Graphic Design at OCAD University in 2016. Her personal work is interdisciplinary, and often blurs the lines between art and design. Her interests lie in finding correlations between Indigenous Peoples who live in Canada and Indigenous Peoples from her homeland of Zimbabwe, as both countries are British colonized. Along with this, she enjoys researching and interrogating how contemporary art and design can be used as a tool to challenge contemporary issues linked to the effects of colonization. Graphic design serves as a platform through which Mhakayakora has learnt to see the world differently.