2021 Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition I

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Department of Fine Arts and UWAG (University of Waterloo Art Gallery) present the first of two thesis exhibitions by Master of Fine Arts (MFA) candidates from the graduate program in Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo. MFA Thesis gives the campus and community-at-large an opportunity to see the end result of two years of intensive research and studio production by emerging visual artists.

While MFA thesis exhibitions will be installed on site, the gallery remains closed in response to the ongoing pandemic and current lockdown. 

Both exhibitions “open" on the UWAG website April 15 with updated exhibition documentation to be posted on April 19. 

Two women at a table; the older one kneads dough in a bowl while the younger woman watches.Racquel Rowe
The Chicken Is Just Dead First

The Chicken Is Just Dead First is a euphemism borrowed from a series of short stories by Zalika Read Benton called Frying Plantain. The collection details the life of a first generation Canadian of Jamaican heritage. It sums up the differences between island life and living in Canada. Exploring the notion of compulsory visibility and subverting dominant ideologies, the exhibition embodies and embraces the differences and similarities between the various black experiences across the diaspora. Engaging in critical conversations around race to furthers ones’ own ability to break away from colonial representations.

Racquel Rowe is a performance artist who explores the way history has shaped modern day depictions of Black people, culture and thus how these things affect her lived experience. Rowe is based in Waterloo, Ontario but hails from the island of Barbados where most of the inspiration is drawn for her current body of work


Karice Mitchell
Artwork showing two photographs of detail of a section of a human body and hand1b, black legs, 52”

1b, black legs, 52” is an effort to reconcile with history. Through the re-contextualization of black pornographic images primarily using digital-based processes, this exhibition serves as a re-imagining of what black women’s futures could be. By creating images that are hyper-visible in presentation yet ambiguous in their representation, these works seek to foster images of the black female body that demand to be seen and understood removed from the historical construction of blackness that has been upheld and perpetuated through white supremacy. Giving the black female body new meaning we can begin to foster new possibilities for it to be understood differently and to exist in its multiplicity. This show cultivates space for black women and their sexuality to be unapologetically represented while also allowing ourselves the grace to acknowledge the historical legacy of racism in an effort to subvert it, ultimately, striving towards reclaiming our agency.
Karice Mitchell is a photo-based installation artist whose practice uses found imagery and digital manipulation to engage with issues relating to the representation of the black female body in pornography and popular culture. Her work seeks to re-contextualize pre-existing images to reimagine the possibilities for black womanhood and sexuality detached from the white gaze and patriarchy. 


Making Sweet Bread with Gran (video still), Racquel Rowe, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

Untitled Diptych, Karice Mitchell, 2020. Photo: Scott Lee.

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