Imaginary Homelands is both a thematic framework and a strategy for exhibition making. It is the culmination of a three-year experimental residency project that explored how the oscillation of people, ideas, and materials between two real places—in this case Bogotá and Toronto—could become a point of departure toward “locating” a fictionalized mid-way point. A product of this experiment, the exhibition is an imaginary place conceptually situated somewhere between the two locations, made tangible through a series of artworks created specifically for, and as, an “Imaginary Homeland” at AGYU.
Throughout the series of residencies, artists considered their projects from the position of being in and being from these two places simultaneously: allowing both to inform their experiences, inflect their understanding of “the local,” and provide differing social and cultural contexts, available materials, etc., for the development of their work. As hybrid creations that draw upon and from so many different sources, materials, stories, and experiences (from visiting paper mills and recycling plants, to flea markets and shipping docks; from going to the Arctic, Niagara Falls, Northern Ontario, to taking ravine walks and river rides), the resulting works in Imaginary Homelands are more than just translations.
Our “Imaginary Homeland” merges fiction (stories, legends) with description (mapping journeys, recounting events) and combines fantasy with real, lived experiences from both Toronto and Bogotá. The exhibition literally and figuratively crosses actual and perceived borders and boundaries, which its works annul by proposing new insights from the perspective of being in a place that is neither here nor there. Imaginary Homelands is a place you have to see to believe. It is a “third space” that is open to imaginative projections as part of an ongoing process of creation.
The exhibition is curated by Emelie Chhangur.
Special thanks to Astrid Bastin for her assistance with this exhibition project and to the Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño for the financial support of Mateo López, Mateo Rivano, and María Isabel Rueda’s residencies.