Opening: Work It.

5-28 June 2014

Alize Zorlutuna

Basil Alzeri

Umber Majeed

Work It. foregrounds issues of art and labour as the three featured artists playfully engage with the current state of art-affairs: funding cuts to the arts and discourses around race, gender and community, relating to labour. The exhibited works employ various modes of institutional critique, raising questions of appropriation and commodification, and the ways in which they reflect on one’s identity as an artist and cultural worker.

BASIL ALZERI’s work, "You Do What You Love Because You Do One, Two, and More Than Two" responds to an exhibition, titled "One, and Two, and More Than Two" which took place at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (Sept 2013 – Jan 2014). He invites 101 artists to present objects of their choice from their “non-art related” work places at gallerywest for the exhibition. In doing so, AlZeri challenges the mainstreaming of appropriation and commodification in the arts.

Crawling backwards up the steps of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), ALIZE ZORLUTUNA’s durational performance "Crawl" is part of a series of performances that take place at galleries and museums across the world. Choosing sites where historic artifacts from the non-Western world are housed--the Islamic world, specifically--Zorlutuna performs this arduous feat as a comment on the effects of cultural collection, and the complication she encounters as an artist, in her desire to be included in the very world she critiques.

UMBER MAJEED presents two moving image works that interrogate representations of the non-western body the art canon. Evoking amusement, she creates two animated self-portraits through an arduous process that is repetitive in nature. Her portraits struggle to literally embody the “still life.”

To complement the visual realm of Work It., SAVAC has invited acclaimed author PASHA MALLA to write a text to accompany the exhibition. Malla invokes the main character of Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s story "Something is Burning Outside"; an artist who toils away, digging to uncover a “life-sized horse sculpted from the earth”. The piece serves as a foil to the exhibited works, offering a slightly different take on the fraught relationship between art and labour.


Accessibility Info: gallerywest has an accessible entrance, but we regret that the washrooms are not accessible.

For further info, contact SAVAC at

Presented in partnership with gallerywest and community partners The Public and Mayworks.

Image Credit: Alize Zorlutuna, “Crawl”. Ongoing performance documentation (2013)

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Opening: Work It.

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