Reading Group: Developing Historical Negatives

Hajra Waheed, PETRO SUBURB 3/3, 2019, Cut Photograph, Vellum, Acrylic, and Archival Tape, 20 x 24 in. Photo Credit: Paul Litherland. Courtesy the artist.

Reading Group: Developing Historical Negatives

May 18,
1:00PM to 3:00PM

While Developing Historical Negatives is up in Gallery 44's Main Space, two reading groups will be held in conjunction with An Archive, But Not An Atlas, curated by Liz Ikiriko at Critical Distance Centre for Curators on the following dates:  

Saturday, May 18th, 1-3 pm at Gallery 44.

Saturday, May 25th, 1-3 pm at Critical Distance.

The readings can be found here.


Curated by Gabrielle Moser, Developing Historical Negatives examines the strategies artists use to harness the affective dimensions of the colonial photographic archive. Probing histories of migration and assimilation, and stories of resistance, fugitivity, and escape, the works commissioned for this exhibition use photography’s imaginative potential to illuminate difficult histories, and to question how images can act as tools of knowledge transfer between generations.

Taking its title from the work of colonial anthropologist Ann Laura Stoler, the exhibition reorients attention away from the glossy, state-sanctioned photographs of “official” histories to the space of photographic production—the darkroom—where inverted, grainy impressions reveal the tenuous grounds of how histories are formed. In these new works incorporating collage, digital manipulation, reenactment, and translation, Canadian artists Deanna Bowen (Toronto), Morris Lum (Toronto), Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn (Stockholm), Krista Belle Stewart (Vancouver/Berlin), and Hajra Waheed (Montreal) interweave family narratives with state histories to picture transnational experiences of belonging and unbelonging, sovereignty and unfreedom. Importantly, these artists’ works do not seek to insert missing narratives into the historical record, but to expose the presence of racialized subjects who were always and already there, waiting to be “developed” into public sight.

Presented in partnership with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and in dialogue with "An Archive, But Not An Atlas" curated by Liz Ikiriko at Critical Distance Centre for Curators.