Curator Tour with Tamara Toledo

Sat Nov 25 2023 at 12:00 pm to 01:00 pm

Sur Gallery | Toronto

Sur Gallery \/ LACAP
Publisher/HostSur Gallery / LACAP
Curator Tour with Tamara Toledo
In-person tour with curator Tamara Toledo for Diaspora Dialogues: Archiving the Familiar exhibition.
About this Event


“…the archive represents the end of a certain kind of creative innocence, and the beginning of a new stage of self-consciousness, of self-reflexivity in an artistic movement.” -Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall’s quote underscores the significance ofsituating this exhibition as a moment of self-reflection on the contributions of Latin American diaspora media artists to Canadian media art histories. The contested terrain of both the terms “archive” and “diaspora” requires deeper consideration since this exhibition asks what is the meaning behind making these two terms form a dialogue with one another. Diaspora Dialogues:Archiving the Familiar features contemporary artworks by Cecilia Araneda, Rosalina Libertad Cerritos, Amanda Gutiérrez, Soledad Fátima Muñoz, and Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda. All from the Latin American diaspora, these artists apply a variety of critical and aesthetic approaches to archiving. In addition, the exhibition is in dialogue with a virtual screening of video art by women artists from the 70s and 80s hosted on VIVO Media Arts Centre website entitled Women & Art: Political Praxes of Memory. This dialogue that has been established between Latin American video artist pioneers from Brazil and Chile foregrounds the diaspora’s relationship with “original” culture, “copy”, and“archive”.

The syncretic nature of diaspora peoples and cultures, the doubling of places, the passages and slippages between past and present, here and there, mother tongues and adopted tongues, all foreground the fluidity and porousness of diaspora identities and ways of being as dialogic. This exhibition engages with (dis)articulations of the archive as syncretic through formal and conceptual experimentations of master codes and narratives. Diaspora archives interrupt racist nationalism and border enforcement ideologies by making visible histories of violence and interventionism in the Global South all of which have created the conditions for being in diaspora in the settler-nation-state, on stolen Indigenous lands, known as Canada.

Diaspora Dialogues opens an inquiry into how archival memory can articulate diaspora histories, experiences, and knowledge. How does looking at these artworks that engage the archive produce a contemporary historical experience? What new possibilities does this exhibition open up as we engage with intergenerational Latin American and diaspora media histories and futures? The archive as a negotiable terrain linked to the collective imaginary calls into question the absences, gaps, and silences of an archive that is mediated by hierarchies and power structures. Colonization,patriarchy, white supremacy, racial capitalism have all shaped historical narratives, collective memory, and how we access and interpret information. In the field of media art, archival safeguarding and archeology continue to pose very practical problems of how to ensure the legacy of artworks that use digital and analogue machines, computer languages, pixels, binary digits, and the numeric codes used to mediate diasporic stories.

The initial impulse for this exhibition is the result of a documentary film project which dialogues with Latin American media art archives through an intergenerational and feminist perspective. This exhibition intends to follow its lead and establish an ongoing dialogue with Latin American diaspora women, working within the Canadian settler-nation-state, using archives as a strategy of inquiry and resistance. Through dialogic meaning-making processes, these artworks highlight how our social, and political situatedness in the world intersects with memory and power. The artworks in Diaspora Dialogues make visible the living political memory of the diaspora through diverse media art languages, manifesting affective approaches to the archive as a site of interpretation, contestation, and negotiation. Here, the archive is personal, familiar, familial, political, gendered, fragmented, embodied, and living.

Diaspora Dialogues: Archiving the Familiar ultimately produces a curatorial archive that aims to generate further dialogue on the significant contributions, knowledge production, and archival safeguarding of diaspora communities within and despite the nation state. It is important to highlight how border regimes have been catalysts for the conditions of migration and diaspora within Canada. The hemispheric dialogues between North and South speak to ongoing violent histories of Indigenous genocide, dispossession,occupation, and oppressive forms of government. Diaspora histories are thustied to the violence of borders with its walls and wars. The exhibition thus creates dialogic mediations between the artists, their communities, and their histories, disrupting neoliberal national discourses of multiculturalism. The archive is gendered, racialized, and political; these artists are agents telling and safeguarding their own diasporic histories through the language of media art.

Co-curated by Sarah Shamash and Tamara Toledo

Financially supported by the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts.


Sarah Shamash is an Assistant Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her work as a media artist has been supported by arts council funding and comprises a wide variety of formats; her works have shown in curated exhibitions and film festivals internationally. Her most recent documentary project, From Chile to Canada: Media Herstories premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival (2022) and is currently showing in festivals internationally. Her scholarly research examines Latin American and diaspora film and media cultures with a focus on Brazil. She lives on the unceded and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh First Nations in Vancouver.

Tamara Toledo is a curator, scholar, and artist based in Toronto. She is a graduate of OCAD University, with an MFA from York University, and is currently a PhD candidate in Art History and Visual Culture. Her research focuses on hemispheric connections, decolonial methodologies and practices, diasporic histories, and the legacies of the Cold war era in contemporary art. Toledo is recipient of various grants, scholarships, and awards and has been published by ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse, Canadian Art, and Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture Journal of the University of California. She has participated in various conferences and symposiums across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Toledo is currently the Director/Curator of Sur Gallery.


Sur Gallery is Toronto's first gallery space dedicated to the exhibition and critical engagement of contemporary Latin American Art and is a project of LACAP.

For information contact:


[email protected]

Gallery Hours:

Thursdays and Fridays 12 pm-6 pm

Saturdays 11AM-5PM

Location: 100-39 Queens Quay East, Toronto

Sur Gallery acknowledges the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; Ontario Arts Council; Toronto Arts Council; The City of Toronto through section 37.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Sur Gallery, 39 Queens Quay East, Toronto, Canada


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