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Variations in Black, Queer, and Otherwise: Works by Abdi Osman

photo of three people. Person in the middle is wearing a black outfit making them fade into the black background
a woman by a lake starring at the water in a meditative pose
person wearing a large straw purple hat
figure of a person with long brown bangs wearing an orange-pink headscarf

Variations in Black, Queer, and Otherwise: Works by Abdi Osman

June 5 – July 27, 2019

Curated by Dina Georgis and Sara Matthews

University of Toronto Art Centre

Due to construction, the University of Toronto Art Centre location is not wheelchair accessible. Learn more.

Abdi Osman is a Somali-Canadian multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on questions of African-ness and Black-ness in the diaspora. In this multi-part exhibition Variations in Black, Queer, and Otherwise the artist incorporates sound, narrative, still and moving image, and fabric into his works that offer complex iterations of subjectivity.

“To begin with the otherwise”, writes Ashon Crawley (2016)[1], “is to presume that whatever we have is not all that is possible”. The otherwise provocation opens the possibility of what can be represented, seen and thought about African-ness and Black-ness as it intersects with Muslim, queer and trans identities as they travel through and dwell in the diasporic location of the city we now know as Toronto. Crossing hard borders and elusive waters, landings are soft, tactile, even sensual. Beautiful fabrics gesture variations conjured in dreams, draped on bodies, and negotiated as we move through space. Always becoming, the process of discovery is an otherwise encounter – by way of the senses – and against colonial logics of looking, knowing and controlling.

Opening Reception

Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 6-8pm

Christina Sharpe in conversation with Abdi Osman

Wednesday, July 17, 6:30-8pm

Drop-In Tours

Tuesdays, 2pm

Exhibition Resources

Press Release
Exhibition Brochure
Large Format Guide
Exhibition Documentation

Our Supporters

This research has been supported by the University of Toronto and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

[1]Ashon Crawley (2016) Otherwise, Ferguson.


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