2023 Exhibitions

January 19 - March 18: Stories We Tell Ourselves

Stories We Tell Ourselves

Aseel AlYaqoub, Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Emii Alrai
January 19 – March 18, 2023

Curated by Matthew Kyba

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 19 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Emii Alrai, Passing of the Lilies (detail), Jerwood Solo Presentations, Jerwood Arts, London. 2021. Photography courtesy of Anna Arca.

This group exhibition conceptualized by guest curator Matthew Kyba questions how the museum’s history as a colonial tool for Western pedagogy influences the stories we tell. To elucidate the unseen politics within the display systems and political agendas of cultural institutions, the four featured artists/artist duos appropriate various museological practices—collection, didactics, video, sculpture, presentation techniques and artifacts—to self-referentially question how such institutions dictate politicized stories. Stories We Tell Ourselves undermines the museum’s colonial past and current pedagogy by probing how these settings shape public opinion and social understanding of different histories and contemporary conditions.

About the curator:
Matthew Kyba was born Toronto, Ontario (1991) and is the current Curator at The Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Columbus, Ohio. Recent exhibitions have been shown across Canada and the USA. He enjoys walks with his dog Rico.

About the artists

Aseel AlYaqoub's research-based and interdisciplinary practice ranges from drawing and printmaking to video, sculpture and installation. Various visual languages characterise her work, which is defined by her inquisitorial and academic approach that travels across the fields of history, architecture, and cultural sociology. Her explorations revolve around the inherited methodologies used for nation-building, the role of state apparatuses in defining nationhood, and the nation's processes for self-identification after imperial dissolution and reattachment.

She has participated in exhibitions worldwide, including Stories We Tell Ourselves, Foreman Gallery, Quebec (2021), Emotionally Confronted Through Distance, Art Claims Impulse, Berlin (2021), From Visionaries to Vloggers, The Media Majlis at Northwestern University, Doha (2020), 24th Biennial of Humor and Satire, The Museum of Humor and Satire, Gabrovo (2018), Signs of Life: in and out of time and space, Boiler Room/Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn (2015), Out of Kuwait, Edge of Arabia, London (2013). In Kuwait, she exhibits at The Sultan Gallery, Contemporary Art Platform, the Museum of Modern Art and Gallery BAWA.

AlYaqoub was a curator alongside Yousef Awaad, Saphiya Abu Al-Maati and Asaiel Al Saeed for the Kuwait Pavilion, 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia (Space Wars, 2021) and won the first Art Jameel Commission in collaboration with Alia Farid (Contrary Life, 2018). In addition, she was shortlisted with the design firm Studio Toggle for an architectural competition led by the Royal Commissioners of AlUla (Khat, 2019) and for the Blooom Award by Warsteiner (2016). AlYaqoub's work can be found in permanent collections, including the Barjeel Art Foundation and Jameel Art Collection..

The interdisciplinary practice of Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten aims to create community-based models of participation and knowledge production in order to re-imagine a material record of the present. They investigate tactics of representation and enlist the tools of installation, photography, documentary filmmaking, writing, and the methods of anthropology to explore various forms of collecting, interpreting, and display. The result is often a collaborative work which counterbalances how dominant institutions speak about our lives: a counter-archive, new additions to a museum collection, or a buried history made visible. Their work has been exhibited in various countries, including: Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Recent projects include Faux Guide (Trankat, Morocco), The Museum of Found Objects Toronto (Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada), The Museum of Found Objects Istanbul (Turkish Ministry of Culture, Turkey), Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (Artellewa, Egypt).

Sameer Farooq has been awarded several grants from the Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and the Europe Media Fund as well the President’s Scholarship at the Rhode Island School of Design. He grew up in Canada, studying at McGill University (CAN), the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (NL), and completed his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design (US).

Mirjam Linschooten was named a Fulbright Scholar and was a recipient of the Mondriaan Fund international grant, as well as the European Culture Fund grant. Mirjam grew up the Netherlands where she completed her Bachelor in Graphic Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (NL).

Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn
is a visual artist using archives and a broad range of media including, but not exclusively, photography, film, video, sound and printmaking to investigate issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics and multiculturalism via feminist theories. Currently based in Stockholm, she is a PhD candidate in the ‘Art, Technology and Design’ program at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Nguyễn previously completed the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York, in 2011, having obtained her MFA and a post-graduate diploma in Critical Studies from the Malmö Art Academy in 2005, and a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, in 2003. Her work has been shown internationally, including at the Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2021); Borås Art Biennial, Borås (2021); Trinity Square Video, Toronto (2019); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2018); Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Philadelphia (2018); MAMA, Rotterdam (2018); SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2017); EFA Project Space, New York City (2016); Mercer Union, Toronto (2015).

Emii Alrai
is an artist and sometimes writer whose work spans material investigation in relation to memory, critique of the western museological structure and the complexity of ruins. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, Alrai's work operates as large-scale realms built in relation to bodies of research which start with archaeology and the natural environments objects are excavated from. Weaving in social memory, oral histories, inherited nostalgia and the details of language, the practice questions the rigidity of Empire, the power of hierarchy and interpolates the static presence of history.

Related Programming

McIntosh Gallery & Art Now! Presents: Stories We Tell Ourselves Panel Discussion
Thursday, February 9 at 7PM EST

Join us for a virtual panel discussion featuring the artists of Stories We Tell Ourselves, presented in partnership with the Department of Visual Arts' Art Now! Speakers' Series. Moderated by exhibition curator Matthew Kyba, participating panelists will discuss their work in relation to the issues addressed in this exhibition as well as within the context of their broader studio practices.

Panel discussion recording: https://youtu.be/y5EBvNysdhg