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Venice Biennale

Past Exhibitions

South-South: Interruptions & Encounters

Co-organized by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre)

April 2 - May 19, 2009
Opening Reception: Thursday April 2, 2009 (6:00 pm - 8:00 pm)
Exhibition Catalogue Launch Reception at the JMB Gallery: Monday, May 11, 2009 (7:30 pm - 9:00 pm)

Liliefeldt Image

Image Left: Louise Liliefeldt, Lekker III, performance, 2004. Courtesy of the artist
Image Right: Marlon Griffith, Runaway Reaction, 2008. Photography by Akiko Ota. Courtesy of the artist.

Curated by: Tejpal S. Ajji and Jon Soske

With work by Omar Badsha, Allan deSouza, Brendan Fernandes, Marlon Griffith, Jamelie Hassan, Apache Indian, Louise Liliefeldt, and Hew Locke.

South-South: Interruptions & Encounters stages an unprecedented intervention by bringing together eight artists whose work is situated at an intersection of African and South Asian history, politics, or culture. These encounters occur in a variety of forms and locations: Trinidad's Carnival, a South African ghetto, the music of Black Britain, a family's history of migration from East Africa, the colonial monuments of a historic slave port, and the actual speaking voice of an artist. Concerned with a common set of questions about identity and history, each artist also addresses these Southern intersections formally, either by transfiguring the parameters of a particular medium (photography, sculpture, video, installation, or performance) or through interrupting normative representations of "India" and "Africa."

The exhibition challenges us to imagine new geographies of cultural production that de-centre the continuing dominance of "Northern" artistic institutions and canons. The works also make visible a little-known history of interconnections between the peoples and cultures of Africa and South Asia, spanning pre-colonial and colonial trading networks throughout the Indian Ocean to 20th century struggles against imperialism, racism, and Apartheid. As a result, we are invited to confront the powerful and contemporaneous nature of a colonial "past," which never remains simply in the past.

This exhibition is part of South-South Encounters: Conversations Across Africa, Caribbean and South Asia, organised by New College (University of Toronto) and supported by the Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts. A year-long series of events including five public panels, two film screenings, a community outreach workshop, and a course, South-South Encounters brings scholars from Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia and their diasporas together in a unique public conversation.


Please join us for the following events:

Performing Foe: Workshop with Brendan Fernandes
Saturday March 28 & Sunday March 29, 1-5 pm
Debates Room, Hart House
Email to register:


Before and After Bandung: Conversations Between African and Indian Nationalisms
This panel discussion is part of the South-South Encounters series organized by New College (University of Toronto).
Thursday April 2, 4-6 pm
Croft Chapter House, Univeristy College
15 King's College Circle, University of Toronto

Panelists: Vijay Prashad, (Trinity College, Hartford), Michelle Stephens (Colgate University, Hamilton, NY), Paul Zeleza (University of Illinois, Chicago)


South-South: Interruptions and Encounters Panel Discussion
This panel discussion brings together artists and writers to further explore the notion of an "aesthetics of the encounter" as represented in the exhibition.
Monday April 6, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Music Room, Hart House, University of Toronto

Panelists: Omar Badsha (Artist), Christian Campbell (University of Toronto, Department of English), Elizabeth Harney (University of Toronto, Department of Art), Tejpal S. Ajji (Curator), Haema Sivanesan (Moderator, SAVAC Executive Director)


Exhibition Catalogue Launch
Monday May 11, 2009
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

South-South Image

With essays by: Tejpal S. Ajji and Jon Soske, Christopher Cozier, Sarah Nuttall, Annie Paul, Sukhdev Sandhu, Mark Sealy, and Leon Wainwright.
Editors: Tejpal S. Ajji and Jon Soske



Tejpal S. Ajji is an artist and currently the Adjunct Curator of Outreach at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House, University of Toronto). He curated Rightfully Yours, (JMB Gallery, 2007), Heritage Complex (co-curated with Atanas Bozdarov, Art Gallery of Peel, 2007), and Young and Restless (JMB Gallery, 2007, 2008, 2009).

Jon Soske is a PhD candidate in the Department of History, University of Toronto. He is currently completing his thesis entitled Wash Me Black Again: African Nationalism, the Indian Diaspora, and Kwa-Zulu Natal, 1945-79. Soske is an instructor in the African and Caribbean Studies Programs and a co-organiser of the South-South Encounters series at the University of Toronto, New College.

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is a centre for the research, presentation, and dissemination of contemporary art and its histories located in Hart House at the University of Toronto. The JMB Gallery seeks to increase access and awareness of contemporary art practice by presenting a dynamic program of exhibitions, publications and outreach directed at an expanding audience that includes the students, staff and academic community at the University of Toronto, the art community in Canada and beyond, as well as a broad and diverse general audience.

SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) is a non-profit artist-run centre dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual art by South Asian artists. SAVAC presents innovative programming, which critically explores issues and ideas shaping South Asian identities and experiences. SAVAC operates without a gallery space, but collaborates with various organizations locally, nationally and internationally, to produce exhibitions, screenings, online projects and artistic interventions.


For more information on the South-South Encounters series, refer to:

For more information on SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre), refer to: