Pick of the Day: Diabolique

If you check our Oct. 8 issue, you'll find my review of Diabolique in the AfterHours section. As I note in the review, this is the second instalment of a two-part exhibition curated by the Dunlop Art Gallery's Amanda Cachia on the theme of war and violence.

When we think of war, we usually think of armed clashes between nation states. But there are many different types of warfare that occur in our society. Class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, ethnicity, all are potential triggers for violence and oppression.

While some of the work in Diabolique addresses actual instances of violence, be it the current NATO incursion into Afghanistan or the death of Neil Stonechild due to the cruel actions of Saskatoon City Police a few years ago, other works seek to probe into the human psyche to examine both the psychological toll that violence takes on us, plus the many ways in which we, as a society, glorify and romanticize violence and warfare despite our professed abhorence of these all too human failings.

Another thing I appreciate about Diabolique is the international mix of artists that Cachia has assembled. The above-pictured work, for example, which hangs from the ceiling in the main part of the library, is by Romanian-born Bogdan Achimescu. It's called *stan, and it consists of hundreds of gestural sketches of nameless individuals. Refugees? Victims of genocide buried in mass graves? Political prisoners "disappeared" by totalitarian regimes? Given the turbulent modern history of Achimescu's homeland and surrounding countries in eastern Europe, all are valid readings.

Diabolique closes on Oct. 18. If you haven't already, make sure you check it out.

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