Through My Eyes
Shabnam Afrand, Arif Bahaduri, Cemile Kaçmaz, Soyeon Kim, and Mariana Topfstedt
July 1, 2021 – January 15, 2022
Through My Eyes is an outdoor art exhibition exploring themes of displacement, belonging, labour, human fragility, and our place in the universe. The off-site exhibition was on view from July 1-23, 2021 in five window spaces throughout downtown Hamilton. A series of banners installed at the James and Wilson Parkette will continue to be on view until winter 2022, continuing the spirit of the exhibition as an exclamation of hope for a better world.
Presented as part of our Incoming! project for refugee, newcomer, and immigrant artists, this year’s exhibition features works by Shabnam Afrand, Arif Bahaduri, Cemile Kaçmaz, Soyeon Kim, and Mariana Topfstedt. Afrand is a multi-disciplinary artist whose mixed-media installations include repurposed wood and found objects that investigate a sense of belonging. Through painting and mixed media, Bahaduri tells the painful story of a refugee’s experience. Kaçmaz is a painter whose interests in space and science inform an exploration of the sense of loneliness that comes from discovering the sheer depth of the universe. Artist and educator Kim, creates intricate, three-dimensional dioramas that bring to life new and fantastical spaces where anything is possible. Topfstedt is a photographer whose series of self-portraits document her work as a cleaner in a city hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
James and Wilson Parkette Map:
About the Artists:
Arif Bahaduri was born in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 1992. Arif says: “I am an amateur artist who started learning art in 2007, in a private art class in Kabul. In my learning process, I learned different skills and worked with different materials, and now I use them in my artworks to give them meaning. In 2013, I was one of the top 10 in Kabul for the Afghan contemporary art prize. This helped me familiarize myself with contemporary art. My artworks are in mixed media, painting, and performance art. I had both solo and group exhibitions in and outside of Afghanistan and I have also completed an artist residency.”
Cemile Kaçmaz was born in Turkey in 1979. Between 2001 and 2007, she studied at the Painting Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, including an elective course in applied carpet design and an engraving workshop. After graduation, she continued to work in her workshop in Istanbul. She participated in group and solo exhibitions in many art galleries in Istanbul. Cemile lived and worked in Istanbul until 2020. Currently, she lives and studies in St. Catharines, Canada. In her recent oil painting works, her subject matter was influenced by space science. She says: “Painting is the communication between me and the world, it is an attempt to understand the world around me.”
Mariana Topfstedt is a Brazilian-born photographer living in Toronto since 2017. During her photography course, she was impressed by the works of James Nachtwey and Henri Cartier Bresson; their influence led her to follow the path in photojournalism. In 2012 she started working as a freelance photojournalist for news agencies; her images have been published on national and international news websites, newspapers, and magazines. In Canada, she participated in art fairs and photography exhibitions.
Shabnam Afrand is a multi-disciplinary visual artist and educator, born and educated in Tehran, Iran. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree from Azad University in 2001. She then later taught in the faculty of Fine Arts at Azad University from 2003 to 2010 and since the beginning of her teaching career has been a member of the Iranian Painters Society. Shabnam moved to Canada in 2013. She has participated and collaborated in various art events and residencies in Toronto. In 2017 and 2018, Shabnam received Toronto Arts Foundation’s RBC Arts Access Fund. Most recently, she received the Toronto Arts Foundation RBC Space Award, was the grant recipient of the Toronto Arts Council Newcomer Refugee Artist Mentorship Program, and was accepted into the UKAI Open Residency where in her work she addressed issues of isolation and equity during the COVID pandemic. Currently, Shabnam is based in Toronto and works in continuing education at the Toronto District School Board teaching abstract painting and mixed media.
Soyeon Kim is a Korean-born artist and educator currently living in Burlington, Ontario. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Education from York University. She has participated in artist residencies at The Hermitage (St.Petersburg, Russia) and Spark Box Studios (Picton, Ontario). As a children’s picture book illustrator, she has published: You Are Stardust, Wild Ideas, Is This Panama? Sukaq and the Raven, You Are Never Alone, A Last Goodbye, and Once Upon an Hour. She has participated in TD Book Week 2018, visiting schools and libraries in Northern British Columbia. In 2017, she was invited to the Adelaide Writers’ Week (Australia) for the Kids’ Weekend, where she collaborated with kids and families to create a collaborative mural based on You Are Stardust. She is also a recipient of Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award.
About the Exhibition:
Through My Eyes is part of Incoming!, a program for refugee, newcomer, and immigrant artists. Incoming! includes workshops, events, and an art exhibition supporting visual artists who want to establish themselves in the Hamilton arts community.
Hamilton Artists Inc. would like to acknowledge its exhibition partners: Tourism Hamilton, Immigrants Working Centre, The Gasworks, and Needlework.
Many thanks to our funders: