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Hacia Arriba / Upwards

Anahí González

May 26, 2023 - July 8, 2023

Essay by Maya Wilson-Sánchez

A Core Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Fuelled by an interest in the relationship between Mexico and Canada, the London (Ontario)-based Mexican photographer Anahí González draws attention to systems of power that prioritize the movement of products while restricting the movement and agency of labourers. The exhibition comprises photographs and sculptural installations that intertwine ideas encompassing migration, labour movement, national identity, and photography as an event.

Within her artistic practice, González collects Mexican cardboard produce boxes from Latin Markets in Ontario, reworking and reinterpreting them as signs and ciphers of an absent subject of labour. The exhibition’s title refers to the phrases and symbols found in the cardboard boxes, highlighting external factors—economic and political—that perpetuate the phenomenon of labour movement. In pursuit of understanding such relationships, González uses satirical narratives within her work, depicting and repurposing objects she encounters in places that evince Mexican labour within Canada.

For González, photography is about asking questions. Her experience growing up and working in the North of Mexico has been a journey that motivates her confrontation of preconceptions and narratives related to Mexican labour. The artist experiments with strategies for interpreting various types of this labour, investigating its conditions and its value. González’s explorations focus on capturing Mexican labour in the automotive, agricultural, and manufacturing industries, arguing that this work plays a far greater role in everyday life than what media and nations themselves typically reveal.

Artist Bio:

Anahí González (she/her) is a Mexican photographer based in London, ON. Her practice explores visual narratives about Mexican labour for/within Canada to decenter the United States narrative concerning Mexican migration. She is a Research Associate of The Creative Food Research Collaboratory, contributor editor of The Embassy Cultural House, and an Art and Visual Culture Ph.D. candidate at Western University. Her work has been included in exhibitions and screenings in Mexico, Canada, Norway, Spain, and France.


Image ID:

A photograph of a red car piñata parked in a parking lot during the daytime.

Documentation by Em Moor