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Recent Art History graduates featured in virtual thesis exhibition

First-year MA candidate Yasmeen Kanaan curated and created Agency and Performativity: MA in Art History Thesis Projects
December 10, 2020
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By Amelia Wong-Mersereau

Concordia’s Department of Art History is celebrating the work of eleven recent graduates from its MA program with an online exhibition of their thesis research projects.

First-year MA candidate Yasmeen Kanaan curated and created Agency and Performativity: MA in Art History Thesis Projects, which is on view from November 30 to January 17, 2021.

Presenting still and moving images, accompanied by thesis abstracts, this online exhibition is a first for the department. Thesis topics in the graduate cohort range from histories of British and Canadian architecture, to the restauration of Rembrandt, and contemporary ecocritical artworks.

“The exhibition shows how art historical endeavors are tackled through the lenses of feminism, gender and queer theory, decolonization, social performativity, ecology, new materialism, immersion, nationalism, and agency,” Kanaan writes.

Visitors to the virtual gallery can freely wander around a dark walled room using the online program called artsteps. Kanaan says the process of building the exhibit in artsteps was difficult at first, but the platform is user-friendly overall.

“I hope now that the exhibition is shared, art history students can use it more often. It’s a chance to exhibit our work without compromising our health through physical gatherings,” she says.

The idea to host a virtual exhibition came from a discussion between Kanaan, Department Chair Johanne Sloan, and Department Coordinator Camille Pouliot.

“Yasmeen has done an amazing job, I’m thrilled to see the launch of our ‘Virtual Vitrine’,” says Sloan.

Normally, the department would host this exhibition in its vitrine on the third floor of the EV building, Sloan explains. The vitrine space is “a kind of community hub for the Department of Art History, showcasing the research undertaken by professors and students,” she says.

Most recently, groups such as the Ethnocultural Art Histories Research Group (EAHR) and the Art History Graduate Association (AHGSA) used the vitrine for exhibitions such as Afrofuturism as an Arts Movement: Black Fantasy, Science & Speculative Fiction in Visual Arts from 2009-2019 by Quentin VerCetty Lindsay as part of an EAHR residency last year.

With the university closed and the public unable to chance upon student work in a vitrine gallery, the Art History department is excited about the creative alternative this online space provides.

“It’s great to be able to visit this Virtual Vitrine, to encounter the wonderful breadth of research projects developed by our graduating MA students,” says Sloan.

In the interests of full disclosure, while I write frequently for the Faculty of Fine Arts news section, I am also a recent graduate of the Art History MA program and my work appears in this show.

I was thrilled to have an opportunity to show my work here alongside my peers.

Learn more about Concordia’s Department of Art History.  

Agency and Performativity: MA in Art History Thesis Projects is on view from November 30 to January 17, 2021.



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