Images Festival presents a soft landing, an exhibition at Gallery TPW in Toronto, Canada, that considers the reparative and restorative potential of slowness through work by artists Alyssa Alikpala, Erika DeFreitas, Rihab Essayh, Eve Tagny, and Alize Zorlutuna. While not quite sopping in grief, the show proposes a place where sorrow, heartache, and distress may be embraced and processed.

With three video performances, “Labouring bodies (eulogy for the soil),” “Body Landscapes,” and “English Rose,” Eve Tagny aims to transgress colonial trappings of roses and gardens with steady, gentle gestures that build a connection between the performers, the flower as a living entity, the land, and the context from which the body and rose came to be. Her film “Of Roses [how to embody the layers of time] Fragments of a bibliography,” which continues her examination of roses as the quintessential symbol of feminine English beauty, was screened in June as part of the 2022 Images Festival: Slow Edition.

Alize Zorlutuna invites audience members to lay themselves down within the holy form of the mihrāb and to attune their embodiment to elemental movements of the natural world with “Practice softening.” Here, the form of the mihrāb becomes a portal connecting the corporeal and the divine: inviting us to sense the flows of moving water, to breathe with the rhythm of wind through trees — as a practice that can change the texture and shape of our embodied experiences.

Erika DeFreitas’s “the responsibility of the response (in conversation with Agnes Martin)” consists of 31 11-inch squared monoprints. The delicate blue lines — transferred by her touch from thin sheets of carbon paper — document the connection between the interior world and external forces.

Rihab Essayh created “الشوق لجوقة العصافير عند الغسق (Longing for a choir of sparrows at dusk),” an ethereal floating tent spray-painted with the colors of the sunrise she experienced in her new home in Guelph, Ontario, accompanied by a sound recording of birds heard in the early mornings. Made when the artist felt most isolated and in need of comfort, it became the place where she could feel secure, find rest, and land softly.

Alyssa Alikpala began using flowers, grasses, and wheat paste as affordable art supplies during the pandemic. Lasting only the length of the exhibition, “in between” captures and releases the tensions she held during the time of installation, resulting in a portal to what might come after.

a soft landing is on view now through August 6.

A closing reception will take place at Gallery TPW on July 28, 6–8pm, with a curator walk-through at 6:30pm.

Images Festival is also hosting a separate closing party for the 2022 festival, Slow Edition, edition on July 22 at 10pm.

a soft landing is co-presented with Gallery TPW and Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Images Festival graciously acknowledges the support of the Canada Council of the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and Telefilm Canada.

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