• Artist: Haneen Dalla-Ali
  • Medium: Digital Media
  • Project Type: Independent Projects
  • Neighbourhood: Downtown

An animation and augmented reality installation that brings a remote, Southern Ontario landscape to downtown Toronto, showcasing it through the eyes of the immigrant. Experience online using the link below.


TIFF Bell Lightbox

  • Address: 350 King St W
  • Physical Access: Wheelchair accessible

The Project

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a digital installation that evokes the immigrant’s struggle in the search for home and identity, post-migration. In this work, Dalla-Ali creates Arabic letter fragments inspired by the traditional Kufic font, a prominent Arabic script, established in Kufa, Iraq. As she digitally arranges the fragments, she maps out her experience of navigating the narrow limestone fissures at the Limehouse Conservation Area, a natural site near her current home in Ontario. The act of juxtaposing the Arabic script with a parcel of Southern Ontario’s landscape allows her to visualize home. Through this work, she seeks to create a virtual realm that most accurately expresses her hybrid domestic identity in the diaspora. Presented as a projected animation and an augmented reality installation, her notion of home becomes an event that takes place within a specific timeframe – a temporal experience, rather than a static, physical dwelling.

The Artist

Contemplating the paradox of home in the diaspora, Haneen Dalla-Ali’s work investigates the relationship between the recalling mind and the sensing body. After emigrating from the Middle East to Canada as a teen, the pieces she creates examine her identity as an Iraqi Canadian through the juxtaposition of memories and sensory encounters, with places and objects. As an artist and architectural designer, she explores the space that lies between the two disciplines, and between hand-making and digital fabrication methodologies.


The artist acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Special thanks to Salman Dalla-Ali for creating the animation soundtrack. The artist also acknowledges that the project site at Limehouse Conservation Area is a part of Halton Region, which is situated on the Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, as well as the Traditional Territory of the Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek. Thank you for sharing your beautiful lands and traditional territory with us.