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As I Live & Breathe curated by Christina Oyawale

Emkay Adjei-Manu, Bel Andrade, Atanas Bozdarov, Hannah Bullock, Breanne Jeethan and Tee Kundu

May 27, 2022 - July 3, 2022

As I Live & Breathe exists at the intersection of crip culture aesthetics and reenvisioning accessibility in the gallery space. The exhibition reckons with how care has allowed these artists whose identities fall within Mad, disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent communities, to share their experiences and questions on their own terms. The artists engage with themes that link to sociopolitical systems that create collective barriers for the disabled community; the health industrial complex, mental health support, physical accessibility and socialized ableist attitudes. The exhibition prioritizes the significance of interdependence and communal sharing/storytelling as radical occupation of space.

ARTIST BIOS

Emkay Adjei-Manu is a multidisciplinary artist and community arts worker. As a collage artist, they utilise analogue-collage techniques as a mode of image-making and storytelling. They source mass produced raw and archival material to illustrate personal and collective narratives that engage with the themes of embodiment, ritual, as well as the tensions and textures of Black diasporic identities.

Bel Andrade is a New Zealand-born, Toronto-raised interdisciplinary artist currently pursuing their Masters of Fine Art at Parsons School of Design in New York City. They previously studied film at the University of Toronto, and obtained their BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University in 2020. Bel’s current body of work examines the intersections of gender and disability, questioning and personifying notions of failure and collapse through bodily performance and object interventions. Through the recontextualization of materials, myths, and art history, Bel inserts a personal narrative into discussions of collapse that speaks to these larger contexts, which are then activated through installations and audience participation. These projects are informed by art historical motifs, magical realism, queer autofiction, crip theory, and Mel Y. Chen’s writings on animacies.

Atanas Bozdarov is an interdisciplinary artist and designer who focuses on deconstructing the ways in which we read and interpret systems and structures. From quoting fragments of architectural blueprints or game sequences, to generating musical motifs from non-musical sources, he constructs incomplete and surprising structures in order to question our understanding of the working systems around us.

Hannah Bullock is an artist and writer based in Tkaronto. Hannah graduated from the printmaking program at OCAD University in 2018, and completed her Master’s of Fine Arts at York University in 2021. Her work uses material exploration and representations of her body to grapple with her lived experience with undiagnosed chronic pain. In Hannah’s current work, she uses a performative drawing practice to consider the possibilities of her bed as a workspace.  Hannah’s work has recently been shown as part of PostScript: A Series on Accessibility, Disability and Digital Publishing, and Practicing the Social’s Gather Town: an online exhibition in partnership with ith Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice and Bodies in Translation. She is interested in rest as a form of resistance, the beauty in kinky pain when you have chronic pain, and, more recently, yawning.

Breanne Jeethan is multidisciplinary designer and artist based in Toronto. She holds a major in Graphic Design and a minor in photography from OCAD University. Her current work is an exploration of art and design. The connection between the work and the audience has allowed Breanne to share my personal stories in a visual manner. Drawing the relationship between major themes including, women, the body, individuality, cultural practices, and religion.

Tee Kundu is an interdisciplinary artist, illustrator & designer. They mostly draw things. In addition, they often work in social practice, performance, zines, facilitation, etc. They want to be a storyteller, and they want to be helpful. A DIY dabbler, you can find them on instagram @lukitstee or email them at [email protected]

IMAGE ID

A screen recording of Hannah’s computer desktop. The video shows the cursor toggling through different windows on the computer screen. The visuals show a video of Hannah (a white femme with dark brown hair) lying in bed with a harness around her torso. The harness holds a marker that reaches the wall next to her bed, transcribing her breathing onto a piece of paper mounted to the wall. Other windows are opened and closed periodically, showing support materials referenced in the text; including images of pain scales from visits to my specialists’ office, Wikipedia entries about Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth, diagrams of pneumographs and the Beaufort Scale.