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With an instinct for justice

Shadi Harouni and Elise Rasmussen


Doris McCarthy Gallery, Toronto
May 5 – June 30, 2018


With an instinct for justice brings together two projects that reveal acts of collective resistance and the poetic, lingering impact that individuals working together can have on systems of power. Elise Rasmussen and Shadi Harouni’s works offer intimate portraits of pushback. Addressing the economic, political, and social arenas in which citizens take action against oppressive forces, each project directly registers the political and the global on human, individual, and personal scales. Conflict is at the core of these oppositions, but the works within this exhibition also offer a sense of catharsis, empowerment, and perhaps even resurgence. With an instinct for justice makes us acutely aware of the embodied nature of resistance and the emotional investments that counteractions demand. Both Rasmussen and Harouni document social subjects within contested contexts of commodification, resource extraction, and political power. While Harouni’s works frame a resistance to erasure, Rasmussen directs our attention to corporeal resistance. The resonances that linger between these two projects talk us through intimate and mighty acts of refusal.


This exhibition won the Ontario Association of Art Galleries Exhibition of the Year Award (budget under $20,000) and received The Gattuso Prize which acknowledges an outstanding Featured Exhibition in the CONTACT Photography Festival. The jury based their decision on the conceptual and technical excellence of the work, as well as the curatorial vision.

Full essay

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