Art and Human Rights _Emergent Art Space_Canada

Online exhibition on Emergent Art Space from 16 May 2023. Live exhibition and competition at the University of Concordia, Montréal, Canada, 30 May 2023 – 8 June 2023

“{Emergent Art Space} is pleased to present ‘Art & Human Rights‘, an exhibition of 40 young artists‘ works from 18 countries around the globe, addressing human rights issues and concerns. The exhibition encompasses an array of visual media including a video performance, along with photographs, drawings, paintings, and mixed media pieces.

The idea for this exhibition grew out of an online international symposium focused on human rights, organized and developed by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Seventeen of the works shown here will be on view at the University of Concordia, Montreal, as part of the multimedia exposition Arts & Human Rights: Conversing Multiplicities, May 30 – June 8, 2023, made possible through the ongoing collaboration with HRREC conference leaders Oonagh E. Fitzgerald and 233 | Ramon Blanco-Barrera.

The response to our Call for works on the theme “Art and Human Rights” showed that recognizing what our rights are as human beings, and how they are often ignored, infringed upon and violated is an experience shared across cultures and geographic boundaries. Through embodied representations in symbolic, poetic, and abstract visual forms, the artists here engage a wide-ranging span of injustices, inequities, oppressive forces and concerns that include racism, censorship, violence, poverty, marginalized identities, and forced migration, along with environmental displacement and degradation.

While provoking questions, these works raise awareness and inspire action.”

– [The EAS Team]

Arts and Human Rights Exhibition at Concordia University in Canada. Images courtesy of Emergent Art Space, Oonagh Fitzgerald and Ramon Blanco-Barrera.

The exposition also featured art, writing, performances, and scholarly presentations by participants from the 2022 human rights-centered symposium, originating from the Human Rights Research & Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa. I’ll share the events list in my next post.

June 1st:
Video Performance Space EV-10-760

V-10-760, 1515 Saint-Catherine St West, the University of Concordia, Montréal, Canada.

Building Positive Relations Between the Arts & Human Rights: Conversing Multiplicities

Jabeur Fathally, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Andrea Fitzpatrick, Faculty of Visual Arts, University of Ottawa

Omid Milani, Director of CONTEKST

Moderated, hosted & co-curated by 

Oonagh Fitzgerald, Ann Wettrich & Ramon Blanco-Barrera

followed by light refreshments and Waste Whisperer, a sound installation by Eldad Tsabary, Department of Music,  Concordia University


June 1st:
Video Performance Space EV-10-760

June 3 – June 4:
Join us for embodied meditations on arts and human rights!
10 AM-6 PM
Video Performance Space EV-10-760

June 5:
Valentina Plata leads a workshop on world-building to stimulate imagination and creativity.
2;30 PM-3:30 PM
Video Performance Space EV-10-760

June 8:
Human Rights Issues in the Classical Opera Canon with Juanita\Jay Marchand, Philon Nguyen, Eldad Tsabary, and others…
Dance Party
– refreshments will be offered –
4 PM-7 PM
Video Performance Space EV-10-760

Artist Statement

All I Wanted for Christmas were Anthracite and a Hail of Bullets (2023) by Caitlin Mkhasibe
All I Wanted for Christmas were Anthracite and a Hail of Bullets (2023) by Caitlin Mkhasibe

Animal friendly ink, animal friendly acrylic paint, pencil, soy wax, wax paper, and charcoal on 300gsm Hahnemühle paper,

59.4cm x 42cm,


This mixed-media artwork is an extreme close-up of a 2023 Google Maps aerial image of a section of Tendele, one of South Africa’s largest open coal mines (Maps address: M3X7+C3, Machibini). This piece mimics the microscopy of anthracite: bleak tones, textures and deep craters containing pools of black water created by mining against the surrounding greenery (stippling). Some small residential homes within proximity of the mine are depicted top right.

The title references the 2020 assassination of an anti-mining activist, Fikile Ntshangase, while at her home after tensions arose among villagers of Somkhele, who feared retrenchments and saw Ntshangase as disrupting the mine’s expansion and provision of jobs, child education and daycare. Many women environmental activists are on a hit list. Families allegedly were underhandedly paid to relocate “…to help with [housing,]…Christmas groceries and school uniforms”, according to the mine’s CEO.

Nearby villagers blame the mine for polluted water resources, deprivation of arable land, regular blasting causing noise, dust, cracked walls and windows of their homes, respiratory illnesses, a high infant mortality rate and poor health of the elderly. Relocations would mean exhuming buried ancestor’s bodies off of their land. Subsistence farmers say that the coal dust contaminates their crops, turns their white chickens grey and the intestines of their goats black.

South Africa is one of the top 10 countries that contribute to global warming by fossil fuel emissions, is one of the top 5 exporters of coal, has the highest rate of gender-based violence in the world, is facing an energy crisis and economic inequality because of Apartheid’s legacy and the present systemic corruption.

Close-ups of the framed original piece

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