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At The Gallery / Bodyscapes : Rebellion + Revolution by Khalil Alomar + Oliver Rinne + Wilson S. Wilson + Sean Alistair

February 28 @ 12:00 pm - April 11 @ 5:00 pm PST

Content note: The current exhibition is visceral, challenging, and can be upsetting for some. Our gallery has sensitive images regarding religious trauma, and gender dysphoria. The exhibit, featuring the work of multiple artists, includes content that is explicitly anti-religious, including criticism of Christianity and Islam from the artists’ queer experiences. For all those hosting events in the gallery, curtains are offered if guests do not wish to use the art as a backdrop.


February 28th – April 11th 2024, Massy Arts will host, Bodyscapes : Rebellion + Revolution, a new group show by queer artists Khalil Alomar, Oliver Rinne, Wilson S. Wilson, and Sean Alistair.

Bodyscapes: Rebellion + Revolution showcases an ensemble of artists in different stages of their careers, merging painting, embroidery, performance, and photography to elucidate the nuanced (and political) intersections of queer experiences. This group exhibition offers a contemplative exploration of the complex interplay between the corporeal, gender identity, societal oppression, and the processes of socialization.

The thematic core of the exhibition revolves around the intricate dialogues between rebellion and societal revolution within the context of queer narratives, elucidating the struggles and challenges inherent to the pursuit of authentic selfhood.

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Global Context:

As we enter March of 2024, the political global scenario presents challenges of discussing the intersections of gender and religion, especially given the pinkwashing we are witnessing by Israel as an excuse to commit genocide against Palestinian people. Islamophobia is rampant, with Western media (and Western-funded wars) spreading propaganda and creating monsters out of citizens. Having scheduled this group show in September of 2023, we were faced with the challenge of holding space for discussions around faith-based criticism, while protesting against the horrors that are happening right now, in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, everywhere. 

Recognizing that Massy Arts and Massy Books hold no space for prejudice against community members of religious groups (in the context of this exhibition, Muslims and Christians), we wish this exhibition to raise questions and awareness about gender-phobia and gender crimes committed by institutions throughout history. In this sense, the history of the queer body is also a history of violence upon the body.

By creating a space that is by and for over-excluded voices, we also recognize that many of the identities that are welcomed into our space may have diverging opinions about structures of gender, sexuality, race, class, and faith. By bringing these works to our gallery, we wish to raise questions that lead to a broader understanding of one’s right to their own bodies (and their own lives).

Political art is tough, it is challenging, and it invites audiences to sit within their own discomforts in order to empathize with political freedom. By curating Bodyscapes, we hope to raise awareness about ways society and institutions oppress and suppress gender-based identities, and to highlight and uplift the works of queer artists from our community.

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Series Presented in this Exhibition:

Upholding The Divine by Khalil Alomar

In his artist statement, Alomar says:  “Through a series of five thought-provoking artworks, this exhibition delves into the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit, unearthing stories of forced obedience, prejudice, and silenced expression. From “Bound Scriptures,” where the weight of forced religious adherence and the suppression of individuality are poignantly portrayed, to “Footsteps of Prejudice,” which challenges biases faced by the queer community, each photograph invites introspection on the transformative power of belief systems and societal influences. “Suffocating Devotion” and “Forced Prostration” delve into the overwhelming pressure of religious dogma and the inner conflict of adhering to beliefs without genuine conviction. 

Finally, “Silenced Identity” confronts the filtering effect of cultural expectations on self-expression, urging us to celebrate diverse voices unburdened by societal norms. “Upholding the Divine” inspires reflection, empathy, and a celebration of the strength found in embracing authenticity in our shared human experience.”


Mother’s Loaf  by Wilson S Wilson

120 cups of water
2 cups of lemon juice
45 cups of sugar
3 ¾ cups of salt
3 ¾ cups of ground cardamom
1 cup of cardamom seeds
5 cups of yeast
15 cups of oil
flour to feel

Mother’s Loaf is a performance work by non-binary artist Wilson S. Wilson, documented and translated into an exhibition that examines experiences of gender dysphoria. The vulnerable subject matter of this exhibition reveals a discordant relationship between the artist’s gendered body, gendered socialization, and agender self — conflict, discomfort and defeat.
Captured on video and isolated into a series of 8 stills, the performance defamiliarizes flesh and figure. Taking on bread dough as an extension of the artist’s body, the images depict a struggle to excise themself from a grotesque and consuming mass.
The work exposes Wilson’s queer, unguarded body while reclaiming notions of objectification — deflecting the perversion and entitlement queer and trans people are subjected to. There is sincerity and surreality in the work: the implied body horror obstructs the gaze that historically fetishises trans people.


Safety Within This Gore by Oliver Rinne

Safety Within This Gore is a painting + sculpture series that criticizes Christianity as a political system/monolith that has historically institutionalized queerphobia as a colonial value, disseminating hate/oppression as a language to understand queerness. Coming from a very personal perspective, Rinne presents figurative studies on body gore – top surgery, religious wounds, cuts, syringes, presenting images that are similar to Francis Bacon’s raw and unsettling aesthetics.


Over And Around The River Strau by Sean Alistair

This series tells queer artist Sean Alistair’s personal narrative of relocating to a foreign country during the pandemic to be with his husband in Germany. Here, he discusses universal struggles and challenges that one must face in order to find community and battle loneliness. Subverting military imagery by exposing queerness in themes and materials, this work exposes Alistair’s fear of the war while military planes flew above Germany to fortify the border when the Ukrainian war started. Part of the works are composed of authentic German military uniforms, 100 years old woven linen, and antique fabrics.

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This project is supported by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver + First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

The Massy Arts Gallery is located at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 5pm.
Entrance is free, and masks are mandatory.

To contact the gallery, send an email to: info@massyarts.com.

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Khalil Alomar / He is a queer Lebanese Canadian artist whose creative practice primarily revolves around collage, multimedia installation, and performance. The work they have focused on conceptually are within the realms of anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, anti-religion and anti-establishment theory and practice. Currently, they are pursuing a degree in New Media + Sound Art at Emily Carr University. They live in the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Selíl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, colonially known as Vancouver. Alomar’s recent practice is centered on sound, video/paper collage, and photography as mediums that provide a platform for critiquing systemic aggressions and religious abuse.

Oliver Rinne / He is a Queer visual artist and current student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design following his completion of an Associates Transfer Degree at Skagit Valley College. He currently lives and creates in Vancouver, BC on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. He has not received any formal training for his artwork but has taken multiple art classes and participated in numerous art competitions including the Congressional Art Competition and Celebrate the West. Rinne maintains the goal of creating a visceral engagement between his viewer and his artwork, especially in relation to oppression and abuse. He concentrates on the human body, ambiguous meat, and realism while also implementing Christian iconography in pieces critiquing the institution of colonial, organized religion. Oliver experiments with multiple mediums but is currently capturing a broader range of subject matter revolving around religion, queerness, and the body within interdisciplinary sculpture.

Wilson S. Wilson / They document and produce multimedia works confronting their objectified body and reconsidering their own conflict with gender performance. Their work provokes both the conventions of the art object and the functions of domestic practices by invoking emotional discomfort, absurdity and expressions of affection. As someone outside of the gender binary their art explores content, mediums, and themes that not only evade societal traditions but oppose them. This is seen in their use of ephemeral mediums like performance, interactive installation and video, their foregrounding of queer and marginal bodies as subjects, and in the questions their work raises about gender, expression, subjects/objects, normativity, and convention. These subjects also reflect their existence as an autistic person; both neurodivergence and transness involve friction with unseen social scripts, and their work inevitably reveals and questions them. In this way the two aspects of Wilson’s otherness reinforce each other. 

Sean Alistair / He is a queer self-taught Canadian born artist currently residing in Vancouver. His art is a visual journal where he discusses the intense impact of how seemingly mundane or innocuous experiences can be to someone who is not only queer but also bipolar. Each of Sean’s mixed media works are completely sewn and created by hand over hundreds of hours and focus on material exploration, found objects, recycling and reworking old paintings. Due to his mental illness Sean experiences prolonged periods of mania which he has learned to utilize as a way to keep his concentration in order to finish his works. What is most important to him is that his works live and change with the light, angle or distance they are viewed at.

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February 28 @ 12:00 pm PST
April 11 @ 5:00 pm PST