ANNIE CANTO & JASMINA MAJCENIC | MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRY
May 19 – June 22, 2023
The ODD Gallery will transform into a community laundromat for this collaborative, interactive installation by Annie Canto and Jasmina Majcenic. The public is invited to do their washing and drying within the gallery for the duration of the exhibit and to participate in a series of community events and programming.
Wash Party & Soft Opening: Friday, May 19th, 5:00PM
Exhibition Reception: Thursday, June 1, 7-10pm (part of Yukon Riverside Arts Festival Gallery Hop)
Air Dry Disco Dance Party: Thursday, June 1,10pm (part of Yukon Riverside Arts Festival)
Laundry Dreams: Community Clothesline: Saturday, June 3, 1 – 5pm, ODD Gallery / KIAC Classroom
Drop-in hands-on screenprinting and multimedia workshop with Annie Canto & Jasmina Majcenic (part of Yukon Riverside Arts Festival)
More programming TBA, please check back!
DIY Drop in Laundry: May 19 – June 22, during gallery hours
No it’s not a prank. Well perhaps it is, but it’s the kind of hijinks that has a heart full of love and a head full of critical theory, and it does what all good jokes do; points us towards something that is true. Annie Canto’s mischievous installation of a fictionalized laundromat in ODD Gallery, makes us think about the socio-historical factors shaping and influencing the relationship between ourselves, others and the places we inhabit together. This space, activated in collaboration with community-based artist, Jasmina Majcenic, combines function and fun to open up the possibilities of laundry as a site of unexpected connection. Yes, it is a nostalgic re-staging of a fictitious laundromat that’s untouched by the winds of time, but it’s also a functioning event space with food, music, and making; where you can actually go and wash your clothes.
Like with many of Canto’s other projects, this installation foregrounds the adjacent specificities of a particular place, and takes as its cues from the Dawson City community who has long been creative about how to use and inhabit multipurpose spaces. Combined with Majcenic’s reflections on laundry as a place for dreaming, the two come together to activate the collective imagination of their communities using laundry as a transformative and everyday site for meaningful exchange.
Their laundromat, then, is not only replicating the cheerfully mismatched signage and beautifully unintentional furniture of classic laundromats but also taking up the idiosyncratically Dawson attitude of competent DIY-ness that is used to fill particular and functional needs within the city.
By jamming a laundromat into an artist-run centre, expectations are defamiliarized around the nature and function of both places. This irreverent blending of two disparate-seeming spaces takes away our ability to rely on the assumptions we have for how public spaces are meant to be used, and by whom.
The way we locate ourselves, or are located, in physical spaces is indivisible from the larger political and historical conversations widening or constricting the ideological space there is for us in public, social and civic life.
No space is ever neutral and neither is our socially constructed understanding of what activities can be deemed to have, or lack, artistic status. Having a working laundromat in the gallery reframes the function of the gallery away from being restricted to the singular task of art, with a capital A, and instead, opens it up to becoming a site for fractaling out a new range of possibilities for how we can be together, in-situ.
– Nura Ali, 2023
ANNIE CANTO is a visual artist and educator living on the unceded homelands of the hənqəminəm and Skwxwú7mesh speaking peoples in Burnaby, British Columbia. The underpinnings of her socially engaged art practice use critical race theory and women of colour feminist theories to network and question the complex systems that govern our relationships. Despite the rigorous critical and theoretical framework lurking beneath her work, Canto comes at these weighty issues from the side, with an irreverently serious playfulness. In her performance and material practices, Canto shepherds us away from the more attention grabbing instances of othering and alienation; towards the quiet moments, those slippery experiences of social rupture and its flipside of kinship and belonging. With a surgeon’s precision and a surrealist’s cheeky flippancy, she turns our gaze towards the moments that normally slip under our radar; the misconnections, the halting attempts, the fault lines, the absurd, all those unintentionally telling moments that expose the things we simultaneously fear and long for. Canto has shown work with No. 3 Gallery and Access Gallery’s PLOT in Vancouver, BC, and is very excited to be showing work at The ODD Gallery in Dawson City, YT. She currently works as a humanities instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and works with young artists through the Artist in Residence Studio Program with the Vancouver School Board.
My eyes follow the lines, there are many
many clothes lines, held up by trees, singing their own kind of song. I watch them in the elements and I am reminded of nature’s beauty, the simple joys and the pure satisfaction of hard work done. Bed sheets move in the wind, the sunlight speaks through them and I, I am awash in this beauty.
Jasmina Majcenic is a community artist living in the taiga region of Turtle Islands subarctic. She is an uninvited settler on the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, home of the Hän people, also known as Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
Much of Majcenic’s work is rooted in her maternal Balkan ancestry and cultural heritage. Her multidisciplinary arts practice often acts as a soothing balm to the liminal experience of diaspora, while also creating a direct line of communication to her ancestry.
Majcenic invites people in through collaborative interaction and playfulness. Although deeply kind, she is not afraid to be sassy. Her socially engaged art practice aims to create low-barrier access to art, as a tool of empowerment, harm reduction and wellness. She credits SKETCH Working Arts for Street Involved and Homeless Youth in Toronto Ontario, for supporting her and many other vulnerable youth. SKETCH provided access to art supplies, basic needs and a diverse arts community rooted in anti-poverty and advocacy.
Truly an interdisciplinary artist, she blends community based and therapeutic approaches with written, visual and performing arts in her programming, workshops and personal practice. You may find Majcenic leading a kolo (Balkan circle dance) through the street, DJing on local community radio, feeding loved ones, gardening or speaking to her forebears through feeding her wood stove and other auspicious domestic rituals.
LAUNDRY DREAMS, presented in collaboration with Annie Canto’s My Beautiful Laundry invites us to embody, explore and enjoy an interactive gallery experience. Laundry, not generally seen as an art form is re-contextualized to a place of access, creative joy and gathering. The hands-on and sensory experience of washing clothes in a gallery setting incites interesting questions about the nature of laundering in our lives. Is washing an art form? Can the act of washing bridge the material, and ethereal realms? Can it be therapeutic? A pathway to creating and strengthening social bonds? We must acknowledge that the labour of laundry is political. Think about who does laundry and where? There is power in positioning this unseen labour in a place of honour, even reverence, and acknowledging the links between feminized, racialized and working class communities in the politics of laundry.
All of this and there is a simple spirit of gayety in gathering and sharing in the universal ritual of washing together.
This production playfully subverts traditional gallery space narratives by filling the ODD Gallery with hands-on, interactive, usable practices, rooted in everyday rituals of washing. It invites us to bring our attention and intention to our dirty clothes and experiment with various washing tools, ways of washing, drying, as well as mending. A highlight is the Community Clothesline, a collaborative visual mapping and intimate expression. All of this is used to gather us into the folds of this proposed laundry haven. The laundry room doubles as a gateway to other community arts programs and special events including: creative writing, silkscreening as well as ongoing arts-based community research. Snacks, drinks and food welcome us into the living room and beckon us to make ourselves at home. Washing is not a requirement here.
Although My Beautiful Laundry & Laundry Dreams is a temporary art installation, it proposes a long term and more permanent laundry project here in Dawson City. Local artist Jasmina Majcenic has been dreaming, dreaming of laundry in a setting where locals can meet their practical and creative needs while also weaving and belonging to social fabrics. So much is possible when people are warm, fed, clean and have a place to go where they feel connected to something larger than themselves. Like a web or piece of cloth, all of the threads of a social fabric work together to hold our community together. Each thread, creating a network of synapses, ideas, skills, cultures, lived experiences, needs and dreams, exists in a much larger framework. This fabric, along with joy and connections in joy, are the installation’s heartbeat. A heartbeat that tells many stories in the theatre of the mundane. Who are we, where do we come from, what do we value? The lives we live are reflected in the stains, dirt, grime, wear and tear, as well as the adornments, function and culture of our garments.
Laundry Dreams empowers us to embrace life’s transformations, to enter the beating of the wash, to survive the prick of mending. When we truly are in the wash cycle of our lives we are held up by tapestries of our own making. We need to keep each other clean, clothed, warm and fed. We need human connection and creative outlets. How beautifully simple. So let’s do some laundry and see what comes out in the wash! What can we dream up together? What bubbles of inspiration will emerge?
– Jasmina Majcenic, 2023