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Veiled: Andrew McPhail, Grace Ndiritu, Tazeen Qayyum

Date Oct 12, 2011 - Feb 12, 2012
Artists Andrew McPhail, Grace Ndiritu and Tazeen Qayyum
Curated by Sarah Quinton

Exhibition Overview

Veiled examines the act of veiling the body not only as a material and physical gesture, but also as an emotional and personal process. Artists Andrew McPhail, Grace Ndiritu and Tazeen Qayyum use the idea of a veil as a poetic device for the investigation of public vs. private space, protection and intimacy. This exhibition focuses on three contemporary artists whose work includes video, performance, sculpture and installation, building on the Textile Museum’s investigations of the flow of contemporary expression in a globalized context.

Additional Information

Grace Ndiritu makes 'hand-crafted videos' and 'video paintings' that articulate the power of a small piece of cloth as the artist wraps it around her body in movements that transform it into a turban, a burka, a scarf, a shawl, referencing a 1950s housewife or a 21st-century rap artist or Egyptian belly dancer. The veil can preserve modesty or it can claim erotic connotations, and Ndiritu directs the transformative capacity of cloth to both conceal the body and make it visible.

Andrew McPhail has spent over four years making a lace-like veil titled all my little failures out of thousands of systematically stuck-together Band-Aids. The artist’s obsessive assemblage of ordinary first aid supplies creates a heartrending yet humourous ‘second skin’ – a massive, flesh-like body covering that might be seen as a visualization of chronic disease such as HIV, which McPhail has been living with since 1993. all my little failures calls attention to the healing capacity of touch, protection and personal safety.

Tazeen Qayyum is a contemporary miniature painter. She paints on rubber hot water bottles and canvas ice bags – mass-produced objects that are designed to tend to the distressed body. Subtly altered and embellished with culturally symbolic hand-painted designs that respond to stories of migration, class and race shared with her by women from around the world, these objects are turned ‘inside-out’ to portray intimacies that were once veiled and protected.

Curated by Sarah Quinton with research assistance by Zach Pearl, MFA candidate at OCAD University in the Criticism & Curatorial Practice program. Presented by the Textile Museum of Canada with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

Related Programs and Events

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Conversations in the Gallery with Andrew McPhail and Tazeen Qayyum
Wednesday November 9, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Join artists Andrew McPhail and Tazeen Qayyum in the galleries for a conversation about their work. They will discuss the exhibition with each other and the audience.
Free with admission.

Textile Seminar: Veils of the World with Natalia Nekrassova
Wednesday November 23, 6:30 pm
Enjoy a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at veiling garments - shawls, head scarves, cloaks, coats and face covers from Asia, Africa and Europe - from the TMC’s collection with curator Natalia Nekrassova.
Members $20, Non-members $25, Full-time students Pay-What-You-Can. Advance registration is required, class size is limited. To register, call 416-599-5321 x 2228.

Curator’s Tour
Wednesday January 18, 6:30 pm
Join Sarah Quinton in the galleries for a tour of Veiled.
Free with admission.

Art of the Veil: Commoditization of a Cultural Practice?
Wednesday January 25, 6:30 pm
Join Zulfikar Hirji, Associate Professor at York University, as he examines the recent proliferation of ‘the veil’ as the subject of artistic production and art exhibitions throughout the world. Hirji will provoke questions about the re-orientalization of Muslims that artistic practices can signify – practices in which representations of the veil supersede its recognition. This lecture is offered in partnership with York University.
Free for TMC Members and Full-time students, Non-members $15. Advance tickets may be purchased in person at the TMC’s front desk. Please arrive early, seating is limited.

Workshop: Traditional Indian Miniature Painting with Tazeen Qayyum
Saturday February 11, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Join us for an introduction to miniature painting of the South Asian tradition with artist Tazeen Qayyum. The workshop will include demonstrations of the various traditional techniques and elements unique to Indian miniature painting, and drawing and painting exercises using wasli (archival paper).
Members $57, Non-members $74, Full-time students $45. Materials $15. Advance registration is required, class size is limited. To register, call 416-599-5321 x 2228.

Grace Ndiritu, <i>Still Life Series: White Textiles</i>, 2005-07, photograph from video. Image: Courtesy the artist and The Agency Gallery, London
Tazeen Qayyum, <i>Our Bodies Our Gardens</i> (detail), 2011, mixed media installation, various dimensions. Image: Courtesy the artist
Andrew McPhail, <i>all my little failures</i>, 2008-ongoing, mixed media and Band-Aids, variable dimensions. Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation view. Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation view. Photo: Jill Kitchener