GALLERY exhibitions

Current and upcoming exhibitions at the Riverdale Hub Gallery


Tazeen Qayyum: A Facade of Beauty and Integrated Fear

May 1st – July 10th
Opening Reception: May 15th, 12pm – 5pm

Riverdale Hub Gallery, 3rd Floor
(By appointment only, please. Contact dana@riverdalehub.ca)

In 2002, Tazeen Qayyum began a series of work that fosters ideals of resilience and survival in unfavorable circumstances or unsympathetic environments. As a response to the American propaganda that fueled the ‘War on Terror’, this series presents the cockroach as a motif on how political warfare has reduced the value of a human life to that of a household pest.

For years, American political propaganda has been presented and packaged in a way to program fear of the ‘Other,’ just as society has been taught to fear the cockroach. In A Facade of Beauty and Integrated Fear, Qayyum disputes this programming by delicately presenting painted cockroaches in an archival manner. This preservation style remodels institutional education, allowing Qayyum’s own experience to inform her audiences on decades of war related upheavals.

Through intricate compositions in the style of traditional Indian miniature painting, the cockroach becomes a site of tension between attraction and repulsion. The adorned carcasses invite viewers in before they are confronted with the immense discomfort of these lived realities. A Facade of Beauty and Integrated Fear reminds us that we must continue to mobilize against war, racism, and Islamophobia. Many of the concerns Qayyum faced twenty years ago are still pressing today.

This exhibition is curated from a selection of works created between 2006-2009 and has been supported by The Ontario Arts Council.

Image: Tazeen Qayyum, Test on a Small Area before Use – 3 (detail), Opaque watercolor, entomology pins, paper labels and cotton thread on wasli (prepared archival paper) in wooden display case, 2007

Nicole Helena: Perpetually Me

May 1st – June 30th, 2022
Opening Reception: May 15th, 12–5pm

Riverdale Gallery, 3rd Floor

For years, I found myself lost in the abundance of potential in the photo industry, and in some ways, I still do. Initially started five years ago, my inclination to shoot analog photos heightened during the pandemic and although I couldn’t place why, it felt like the right direction. It removed me from the stress of my commercial practice and had me seeking boundless beauty in the everyday. It took much reflection to recognize the significance of this pull, but shifting my focus away from producing commercial content and moving into medium format film unveiled a necessary change in my approach to creating. Rather than rapidly capturing everything I could – filling archives with countless files, I was suddenly forced to focus on the intention behind every captured frame. It allowed an introspective revelation of an underlying theme often seen in these images – an all encompassing feeling of loneliness and longing. I’ve crafted a slow, careful approach to my work, finding appreciation in the subtle scenes where nothing happens. Perpetually Me is an ode to the fleeting, intimate, and lonesome moments that pass us by, often remarking of what once was, or what could be.

-Nicole Helena

This exhibit is part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Image: Nicole Helena, Laurentides Au Petit Matin, Giclée print, 2021

Alkarim Jadavji: Breakout

May 1st – June 30th
Opening Reception: May 15th, 12pm – 5pm

Riverdale Hub, Café Gallery

With the state of the world as it is today, getting lost in the mire is almost second nature. As a result, we feel defeated or powerless more often than not. To counter those feelings, Breakout takes everyday Torontonians and gives them a fictional space to momentarily play and exist. Using dynamic motion and cinematic camera angles, these candid images, which are minimally styled and shot in spaces around Toronto, now become a space for escapism. Breakout provides its POC subjects an adventure where they can feel transcendent, even if it’s just for a moment.

This exhibit is part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Image: Alkarim Jadavji, Kyla, Photograph, 2021



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