Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Erika DeFreitas: Don’t you feel like it’s been far too long?

Saturday 12 August, 2017, from 7 pm, at Alice Yard

Erika DeFreitas, works in progress, 2017

Artist Erika DeFreitas has been in residence at Alice Yard since late July 2017. On the evening of Saturday 12 August, she will present works in various media created during her time in Port of Spain.

All are invited.

The artist writes:

“I have been troubled by an inherent feeling of belonging whenever I set foot on an island in the Caribbean; and that feeling did not subside once I landed in Trinidad, the island where my estranged father was born and resided before immigrating to Canada in the 1970s. My practice normally reflects on varying forms of loss. At times this reflection is based on my mother’s diasporic narrative; a narrative about a teenaged woman who left her home in Guyana to immigrate to Canada on her own.

“While participating in this residency at Alice Yard, I have been wrestling with an anxiety that arose when attempting to understand how I can feel so grounded on a land that has never been ‘home’. For years I have thought of my relationship to the Caribbean and South America as one that is imagined and learned. I often think about the concept of inherited memories. Perhaps this intuitive feeling is one that is inherited, and any attempt to explain it will result in further apprehension. Perhaps it is time for me to understand this complicated relationship as a haunting.

“I have created a number of works while at Alice Yard, ranging from sculpture to text-based installation and video. In each work, I’m reckoning with imagined geographies and landscapes, repetition, the relationship between the body and in-between spaces, omens, and the act of writing to record, archive and map.”

Erika DeFreitas, I am not tragically colored (after Zora Neale Hurston) (detail), 2013-2014

Erika DeFreitas is multidisciplinary conceptual artist based in Scarborough, Ontario. Placing an emphasis on process, gesture, and documentation, her work explores the influence of language, loss, and culture on the formation of identity, with the use of textile-based works and performative actions, which are photographed. Her work has been exhibited in venues such as Project Row Houses (Houston), Gallery 44 (Toronto), Angell Gallery (Toronto), Pollock Gallery (Dallas), Platform Centre for Photographic & Digital Arts (Winnipeg), and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Longlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award, a recipient of the Toronto Friends of Visual Arts’ 2016 Finalist Artist Prize and the 2016 John Hartman Award, DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. Her work can be seen at