September 4 – November 3, 2018

It Can Only Be This Place

Works by Hiba Abdallah, Steven Beckly, Alyssa Bistonath & Patrick Cruz
Curated by Tiffany Schofield

It Can Only Be This Place is an open collection of stories, impressions, and speculations of Scarborough developed by artist Hiba Abdallah. Generated in conversation with local residents, Abdallah produced a series of projects specifically for the Doris McCarthy Gallery. Texts, images, and stories gathered throughout an extended research period were transformed into objects and installations that consider the ways in which place is remembered and commemorated. Alongside this new body of work, Abdallah has invited artists Steven Beckly, Alyssa Bistonath, and Patrick Cruz to contribute to the exhibition. Engaged in various approaches to myth-making and story-telling, their responses inscribe fiction onto Scarborough's natural, cultural, and diasporic landscapes. Each work provides an intimate look at Scarborough and the various communities that have come to call it home. Through complex, intersecting, and often unresolved narratives, It Can Only Be This Place makes space for past, present, and future versions of Scarborough previously untold.

About the Artists

Hiba Abdallah is a text-based artist who often works in collaboration with others to develop public installations, projects and exhibitions about the collective narratives of place. Abdallah’s work cultivates a playful yet reverent sense of community that aims to foster the public imagination. She currently works and lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Steven Beckly is a Toronto-based artist and photographer. Recent solo exhibitions include Meirenyu at Daniel Faria Gallery (Toronto) and A tender touch can bend the straightest of things at Eastern Edge Gallery (St. John’s). Beckly’s work was also included in the 2017 VICE Photo Show at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal. Most recently, Beckly was Artist-in-Residence at the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre (Scarborough) and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (Philadelphia). Beckly received his MFA from the University of Guelph.

Alyssa Bistonath is a lens-based practitioner whose work focuses on themes of memory and belonging. The daughter of Guyanese immigrants, Bistonath endeavours to look at modes of representation by investigating nostalgia, exploring evidence, and interrupting the archive. Her most recent work, an experimental documentary titled Why We Fight invited the Guyanese diaspora to write letters to a personified Guyana. The film won Best Canadian Short at the Regent Park Film Festival (2016).

Patrick Cruz is a Filipino-Canadian artist and organizer working between Toronto, Canada and Manila, Philippines. Cruz studied at the University of the Philippines Diliman and received his BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada and an MFA at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Driven by folk sentiment, his multi-disciplinary practice is informed by his interest in cultural hybridity, the project of decolonization, and the paradoxical effects of globalization. Cruz is the founder of Kamias Special Projects, an artist run space in Quezon City, Philippines that hosts the Kamias Triennial; an educational week-long event that serves as a platform for cross-cultural exchange. In 2015, Cruz won the national title for the 17th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition.