Armed and ar­moured

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - Chris hAmp­TOn/FOR

The Ob­jecT: arm­ing by clara

Clara Ford was known to wear men’s clothes. She was also known to carry a re­volver. In 1895, she stood trial for the mur­der of a wealthy Park­dale man, whom she said as­saulted her. On the ad­vice of her lawyer, Ford ap­peared in court in a Vic­to­rian dress and acted de­mure. The jury ac­quit­ted her, un­con­vinced that a woman — es­pe­cially a Black woman — could com­mit such a crime. In a newly com­mis­sioned work at the Art Gallery of York Univer­sity, Toronto artist Anique Jor­dan ex­plores the fig­ure of Clara Ford. The in­stal­la­tion, ti­tled “arm­ing by clara,” is part of the group ex­hi­bi­tion Mi­grat­ing the Mar­gins, a show about mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, mix­ing and the fu­ture of Toronto art.

Ar­ranged into a V for­ma­tion, nine cor­ru­gated zinc sil­hou­ettes of Clara Ford (or Anique Jor­dan dressed as Ford), each ex­actly twice the size of the artist, hover above the floor. Here, the bod­ily and the per­sonal be­come room­sized, the scale of the in­sti­tu­tion.

“I think of it as a mon­u­ment,” Jor­dan says. “It’s an army of armed women that helps me to think about how we can pro­tect our­selves with fam­ily and friends and com­mu­nity sur­round­ing us.”

“I’ve al­ways done work about haunt­ing,” she says. “Slav­ery, colo­nial­ism and the day-to-day ex­pe­ri­ence of racism. My work has al­ways asked, ‘How is it pos­si­ble that Black peo­ple can sur­vive?’”

Arm­ing by clara causes her to con­sider the types of ar­mour she has de­vel­oped to sur­vive. Her

Cor­ru­gated zinc, each 33” x 141.5”. Com­mis­sioned by the Art Gallery of York Univer­sity. In­stal­la­tion view from Mi­grat­ing the Mar­gins cu­rated by Emelie Ch­hangur + Philip Monk. spe­cific haunt­ing, she says, is the con­stant fear of in­car­cer­a­tion, “as if free­dom is some­thing that’s been given to me and there­fore can be taken away.”

The helm of the V for­ma­tion has been left open, invit­ing view­ers there.

“The front po­si­tion is the heav­i­est; it is the lead,” she says. “Some peo­ple will feel a sense of pro­tec­tion. And some will feel con­fronta­tion.”

Re­gard­less which, you’ll stand in the shadow of Ford and pay her rev­er­ence.

JEn­nIfEr rosE sCIA­r­rIno/CoUr­tEsY of AGYU

Anique jor­dan, arm­ing by clara, 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.