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FOFA's annual Undergraduate Student Exhibition (USE 2024)


January 15 – February 17, 2024


The annual Undergraduate Student Exhibition (USE) is an interdepartmental undertaking that celebrates the talents of numerous creatives: visual artists, writers, designers and contemporary dancers.

embodied urgencies

Take a deep breath. 

There’s no such thing as an art emergency. 

Take another deep breath. 

Consider the softness of felted wool, the cool touch of frozen molded agar, the roughness of a rocky facade, the smoothness of paper, the sharpness of nails, the stickiness of fruit, the heat of red. How do these activate our senses, and ask us to slow down within a state of urgency? How do we ground in our bodies—pause, process, or refuse?  

As art administrators, the FOFA team is no stranger to feelings of overwhelm or times of stress, and we often like to remind each other that, “there is no such thing as an art emergency.” Marsya Maharani and Petrina Ng from Gendai, Lan “Florence” Yee, YTB Gallery, as well as many other inspiring artists and cultural workers have proposed versions of this mantra to remind us that the timeline of our bodies is far more important than unsustainable metrics of productivity.

The 2024 Undergraduate Student Exhibition (USE), embodied urgencies, was juried through an open call process by the VAV Gallery and the FOFA Gallery, keeping in mind a constellation of related concepts such as urgency, labour, exhaustion, capitalism, enjoyment, slowness, and resistance. Together, the submitted artworks conveyed a desire to explore societal urgencies through corporeal forms.  

The exhibition is not only a collective call for reassessing our value systems but also an ensemble of visceral and contained screams wanting to pierce the walls of the status quo. The selected works stand boldly in the space, invite visitors to slow down, examine touch and connection, and think through the shedding of traumas.  

Featuring the works of thirteen artists, embodied urgencies encourages the audience to reflect on how our bodies carry dreams and struggles, be they shared or individual, dormant or alive, visceral or cerebral, past, current or future. As we collectively become aware of our presence, voice, and flesh, we, as creative workers, can move away from exhaustion and unsustainable rhythms towards slowness, compassion, introspection, rest, enjoyment, and a longing to create.

As a long-standing interdepartmental undertaking that celebrates and showcases the talents of numerous creatives in the Fine Arts Department – artists, writers, designers, and contemporary dancers – USE is truly the embodiment of nurturing collaborations, latent urgencies, and sustainable modes of creation. I am beyond grateful to have worked with such a generous, strong, and creative group of artists, writers, curators, administrators, and technicians who have fleshed out so beautifully the concepts of embodied urgencies: Nicole Burisch, Geneviève Wallen, Jasmine Sihra, Pierina Corzo-Valero, Josh Jensen, Phillip Kit, Joé Côté-Rancourt, Laurence Poirier, Snack Witch Joni Cheung, Paras Vijan, and the VAV team Emily Blair, Sabrina Sherman, Tricia Middleton, Isabela Markus, Flora Nwakobi, and Adam Gill –  this wouldn’t be possible without you. Producing this project together shows the reach of communal care in supporting safer art ecosystems. You are my safety blanket in tempestuous times.  

May we stay rested, resilient, and free to exist and create at our own pace.

- María Andreína Escalona De Abreu, Curator in Residence

© Concordia University