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Works by:

2Fik, Helio Eudoro, Julius Poncelet Manapul, Meryl McMaster, Sasha Shevchenko, Adrian Stimson, Stacey Tyrell, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, and Jamie Griffiths


Curated by Mona Filip


January 11–March 25, 2023


Art Museum at the University of Toronto
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
(in Hart House)
7 Hart House Circle

To a certain extent, every self is performative—a cast of characters we can summon or mould to serve our needs as we face the world. We each contain potential multitudes that can express or withhold different sides of ourselves, adapt to specific contexts, determine or respond to a boundless range of human interactions. Both individual and collective identities are formed by inner drives and outside pressures, relationships and constraints, nurture and oppression, dreams and fears.

Navigating the complexities of selfhood, agency, and representation, THE COUNTER/SELF brings together a group of artists who create and embody imaginative alter egos to examine, perform and subvert identity constructs and politics. Through the use of make-up and elaborate costumes, 2Fik, Helio Eudoro, Julius Poncelet Manapul, Meryl McMaster, Sasha Shevchenko, Adrian Stimson, Stacey Tyrell, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Jamie Griffiths transform their own appearance and stage layered photographic, video, mixed media, and sculptural scenes that destabilize viewers’ presumed realities and points of reference to expose prejudices with regards to gender, race, ethnicity, and nationhood.

Shaped by personal and communal histories entwined within the artists’ life experiences, their counter/selves bring forward irreverent perspectives that disrupt enshrined national narratives, cultural legacies and social expectations. Sometimes flamboyant, sometimes enigmatic, these characters reveal the fallacies of dominant discourses and counteract their harmful sways. Probing power structures, asserting belonging, or obscuring presence, the counter/selves are invoked to reclaim space or to protect the vulnerable. In all their incarnations, they epitomize resilience, resistance and renewal.

Touring Schedule

The Lilley Art Museum, University of Nevada, Reno
February 29–June 1, 2024

Exhibition Resources

Press Release
Large Text
Exhibition Documentation

Opening Reception

Wednesday, January 11, 6pm–8pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Curatorial Tour with Mona Filip

Saturday, January 28, 2pm–4pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Join Mona Filip for an in-depth curatorial tour examining the themes and artistic strategies in THE COUNTER/SELF. Watch recording.

Artists in Conversation: Enacting Identities

Wednesday, March 8, 6pm–8pm ET
Online on Zoom
Engaging from specific cultural positions, Jeremy Bailey, 2Fik, and Stacey Tyrell—exhibiting artists from Conceptions of White and THE COUNTER/SELF—will discuss the nuances of identity formation and perception, trajectories of research, and new outlooks that have resulted from their investigations. Watch recording.

THE COUNTER/SELF Artists in Conversation: The Subversive Power of the Alter-Ego (Part 1)

Thursday, March 16, 2pm–4pm ET
Online on Zoom
In an informal conversation, artists
Meryl McMaster, Adrian Stimson, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Jamie Griffith will discuss the ways in which they position themselves in relation, confrontation, or opposition to dominant socio-political forces and mind frames through the characters they embody. Watch recording.

THE COUNTER/SELF Artist-led Tour: The Subversive Power of the Alter-Ego (Part 2)

Saturday, March 18, 2pm–4pm
In-person at the Art Museum—Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Artists Helio Eudoro, Julius Poncelet Manapul, and Sasha Shevchenko will discuss the ways in which they position themselves in relation, confrontation, or opposition to dominant mind frames through their stand-ins and characters.

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from Yvonne and David Fleck, Debra Campbell, Janice Lewis, Catherine Barbaro and Anthony Grossi, Judy and Craig Jarvis, Jane L. Thompson and Tim Murphy.




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