BACKTALK I Annie Canto and Nura Ali

BACKTALK Show Title and Zines
Posters from Letterpress Teach-in
Annie Canto, Resister Disco: Funky Moves for Salty Mixed Nuts
Nura Ali, The Space Between Embraces
Nura Ali, I'm Too Busy Sharpening My Oyster Knife Detail
Rebecca Bair, Inside Out I Outside In
Canto and Ali, Handbooks 1 + 2
Annie Canto, Pamphlets from The Centre for Polite Dissent: How to Talk to Your Students of Colour About Diversity Work

BACKTALK  was curated by Annie Canto and Nura Ali including their own work as well as pieces from Rebecca Bair, and a collaborative work by Aaniya Asrani and Reyhan Yazdani. The show featured a constellation of posters from their Letterpress Teach-in, an event during which Ali and Canto took over a wing of the Emily Carr print studio in order to discuss the ideas of activists, artists, and theorists who had shaped their understanding of institutional racism, coalition, and racial capitalism. The two worked with student groups to create prints that gave image and texture to personal experiences of racialization within arts institutions. 

BACKTALK was two-sided. It was an inside joke. The viewer could engage with the different texts through like experience. They could participate with the understanding of whispered solidarity. On the other hand, the viewer could be introduced to a multiplicity of unknown experiences processed by students or colleagues of colour in the halls they inhabited. The conceptual backing for this kind of socio-political critique came from a long lineage of student activist assertion of voice in post-secondary education. Extending from protest movements from the civil rights era, BACKTALK morphed institutional acknowledgements and phrases to uncover the still-dominant reign of white supremacist resource allocation that continues to create a culture of interpersonal biases left unanalyzed in art schools and spaces. 

BACKTALK hoped to unearth said biases and question leadership while making visible the personal accounts of discrimination within our institution.The exhibition made public a student-led culture of dissent, formed in solidarity, despite the persistent lack of attention to oppressive cultural hegemony at our school. It attempted to disrupt patterns of diversity commodification by spelling it out in textworks and through thoughtful representation as a peer organized curatorial project.