In the cave-like platform of the mouth, the tongue is an agent of speech: it conflates the anatomical with the linguistic. But the tongue is also political. The phrase “mother tongue,” for example, suggests ways that notions of origin are inextricable from the body, and from epistemology, geopolitics, mobility, and histories of colonization. Tongues, Echoes: Matias Armendaris, Hyang Cho, and Olivia Whetung explores the physicality and “bodiliness” of a given language, as well as the historical and cultural texts that are its sediment. Manipulating textual, sonal and time-based elements, the artists attempt a material translation, querying the possibilities of agency, reclamation, and distortion within the conditions of our lived time.
Matia Armendaris is an Ecuadorian artist based in Mexico City. He received a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2015) and has exhibited in Canada, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, and Slovenia. Through drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and installation, Armendaris explores the formal structures of language and metaphors of translation as a method of representation, seeking to generate refiguration of power dynamics, binary and structures resulting from the global and neoliberal contemporary culture.
Hyang Cho was born in Seoul, Korea and currently lives and works in Guelph, Ontario. She holds a BA from Sogang University, Seoul, Korea (1998), a BFA from Alberta College of Art and Design (2007), and an MFA from the University of Guelph (2009). Cho uses language as her primary medium to question the authority and values embedded therein, and to consider the irrationality of existing rules, order, and systems of the society in which she is implicated.
Olivia Whetung is a member of Curve Lake First Nation and a citizen of the Nishnaabeg Nation. She completed her BFA with a minor in Anishinaabemowin at Algoma University (2013) and her MFA in Visual Art at the University of British Colombia (2016). Her work explores acts of/active native presence, as well as the challenges of working with/in/through Indigenous languages in an art world dominated by the English language. She is a recipient of a CGS-M Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award and an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship.
Areum Kim received her BFA with a Curatorial Studies Minor from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2015). Alongside nurturing her writing, translation, and curatorial practice, Kim held the position of Curatorial Assistant at Access Gallery and is currently the Assistant Director at Stride Gallery in Calgary.