The Power Plant

In/Tension with Anique Jordan

OCT 24 2023

“The impossible image is a type of fabulation, a ‘critical fabulation,’ as Saidiya Hartman might say, or as Toni Morrison might talk about as a ‘necessary fiction. All these things were so important for me to be able to claim a type of story—to position myself somewhere and to intervene into an archive where so much of my self and people around me were absent.”

In episode two of the In/Tension podcast, award-winning artist and curator Anique Jordan sits down with Price to unpack this method of image-making, discus the impacts of community, explore the concept of hauntology and reflect on the triumphs—and challenges—of organizing a massive and monumental performance like The Feast (2019).

Born in Scarborough, Jordan’s decade-long practice emerges from and returns to the very community from which it was moulded. Her artworks, ranging from photography to performance, play with the foundations of traditional Trinidadian carnival and the theory of hauntology. Through Black portraiture and exploration of the possibilities of hauntology, Jordan challenges historical narratives and creates what she calls “impossible images”: photographic pieces which combine the foundations of traditional Trinidadian carnival and hauntology. In virtually everything she creates, Jordan attempts to answer questions of potential and possibility for her communities. To wit, each artwork transcends accepted temporal boundaries, analyzing historical narratives through a contemporary lens. As a result, Jordan's practice interrogates and reinterprets canonical archives, and in their place, offers a speculative vision of the future. These multi-disciplinary works have been exhibited at Art Gallery of Windsor (2017); Nia Centre for the Arts (2020); and as part of in parallel (2023) at The Power Plant.

Anique Jordan at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Toronto, 2023. Photo by Hyerim Han.

Anique Jordan at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Toronto, 2023. Photo by Hyerim Han.

Much like her artwork, Jordan’s curatorial projects often transcend perceived or established boundaries, hoping, instead, to engage with untapped audiences. This collaborative practice is centered around interrogating power structures, evidenced in the group exhibition The Marvelous are Here at NIA Centre for the Arts that explored spaces of freedom and liberation for racialized communities.

As a curator, Jordan has organized many significant national and international exhibitions. For instance, she co-curated the landmark 2017 show Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood at the Art Gallery of Ontario and co-produced Songs for the Beloved with Dr. Honor Ford-Smith, presented at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, and at Liberty Hall in Kingston, Jamaica. Much like her artwork, these curatorial projects often transcend perceived or established boundaries, hoping to, instead, engage with untapped audiences. In addition to creating and exhibiting art, Jordan has lectured widely on her community-based practice at a myriad of institutions: Harvard University; University of the West Indies; MIT; the University of Toronto; and UCLA. Throughout her career, Jordan has received numerous accolades from the Hnatyshyn Foundation TD Bank Group, Toronto Arts Foundation, and Ontario Association of Art Galleries, among others, as well as participated in a host of global residencies. Her work is included in multiple private and institutional collections.

In/Tension, produced by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, is a limited podcast series of intimate, thought-provoking and accessible conversations with emerging, mid-career, and established contemporary visual artists across Canada. In/Tension aims to shed light on the breadth of the Canadian contemporary art scene and provide a platform for diverse artistic voices to dive deep into their creative intentions and facets of their practice.

This project is supported by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

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