- Artist: Joel Ong
- Medium: Exhibition
- Project Type: Independent Projects
- Neighbourhood: Etobicoke
“In Silence” is a meditative exhibition, where the voices and lived experience of marginalized communities are visualized as patterns on a reflecting pool.
- Address: 17 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive
- Physical Access: Wheelchair accessible
- Indoors/Outdoors: Indoors
“In Silence” reflects on the ongoing work of community archiving and storytelling. Over the past two years broadly across the GTA, rapid redevelopment has enacted a silencing of these forms of relationship-building and centring of the unique geo-cultural identities of its residents. The work is inspired by existing community-engaged practices in the Jane-Finch (JF) neighbourhood, one of the most economically challenged and racialized areas in Ontario. Like many areas, JF is currently experiencing vast and ongoing “revitalization.” In such flux, the intergenerational stories, shared from parent to child or from land to memory, are at risk of being eradicated if not archived and amplified. “In Silence” takes a selection of difficult stories from community advocates, and portrays them by actors’ non-verbal expressions, emoting unspoken hurts and joys. A reflecting pool nearby reveals patterns that alternate between emergence and disappearance simultaneously with the actors’ emotional expressions.
Joel Ong’s work concerns art-making at the “end of the world,” inspired by creative and academic practices that are attuned to human and more-than-human social justice by shaping cultural imaginaries through and despite the urgency of the Anthropocene. Joel is currently an Associate Professor in Computational Arts and the Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts. He was previously the Director of Sensorium: The Centre for Digital Arts and Technology at York University, in Toronto, Canada.
The work honours community leaders in the Firgrove Learning and Innovation Centre and broader Jane-Finch: Lorraine Anderson, hip hop pioneer J Rebel, and community activator Ayesha Khan. Many thanks to actors Jamie Robinson, Joella Crichton, and Ayesha Khan, video editor Michael Miroshnik, installation support Liz Tsui, Jo Yetter, Grace Grothaus and Jacob Turola.