A dyed sheer purple fabric immersed in a cloudy water solution, the word “forgetting” is visible in yellow cross stitch lettering. A hand searches for the word “forgetting” in the cloudy waters.

Bhavika Sharma, An Endless Cycle of Retracing and Forgetting , 2021. Polyvinyl alcohol, thread, and dyed fabric.

Retracing/Forgetting: Open Studio with Bhavika Sharma
August 18, 2021 from 7:00-8:30pm ET over Zoom

Since November 2020, the Inc. has had the pleasure of hosting multidisciplinary artist, Bhavika Sharma, as our artist-in-residence and gallery assistant. As their residency draws to a close, we are thrilled to invite the community to an open studio session where Bhavika will share new works from their wide-ranging creative practice. Read on to learn more about Bhavika's residency in their own words.

This event is free and open to everyone. Closed captioning will be provided. Chat and non-verbal communication tools will be enabled in Zoom. To attend, please register for the zoom link here.

My name is Bhavika Sharma and I am an emerging artist currently based in T’karanto/Toronto. I have been an artist-in-residence at the Inc. for the past 10-months, where I have been sewing, tracing, and learning. My art practice focuses on uncovering alternative, personal, and unwritten narratives relating to built landscapes. Using text-based art, video installation, and soft sculptures I seek to expand on non-dominant histories.

During my residency, I continued my ongoing research on forgotten and dismissed bodies of water. I attempted to unfold the complex history of Whiteman’s Creek, a tributary of the Grand River, situated near my hometown of Brantford, Ontario. Whiteman’s Creek is also situated 30km from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. I began my research on the creek by compiling information from various open sources such as architectural maps, public archival records, archaeological reports, and public forums.

Simultaneously, I have been experimenting with making soft sculptures and cross-stitching. Through repetitive tracing and needlework, I use embroidery (a craft I learned from my grandmother) to grapple with safety and the inability to return to a homeland. In making these soft sculptures, I continue to explore the idea of queer mending through processes of glitching, transforming, tethering, and taking apart as a means to re-imagine safer futures.

I also created a short, two-minute experimental video titled Seated on the Shore of Whiteman’s Creek. Through soft narration and a slow looping gif, Seated on the Shore of Whiteman’s Creek asks viewers to pause and contemplate existing complex narratives of a place. The bright stock photo-esque image visible throughout the video is from a digital real-estate catalogue; the single image is distorted and looped to animate the creek. I begin my narration and captions by marking an ontological relationship to the land. I then trace my own relationship as an immigrant-settler aected by colonial displacement. As the video proceeds, I open space for viewers to meditate critically on their relationships with where they are situated.

Within my art practice, I want to explore alternative modes of addressing a site that refuse colonial tools of mapping. I want to continue to raise these questions: How can we mark spaces through a creek instead of a map? Through flora and fungi instead of a map? Through lived experiences instead of a map?

Check out some of Bhavika's work here:

Read the interview with Bhavika published in the The Silhouette (McMaster University) on March 11, 2021: Artist Talk: Bhavika Sharma.
Visit Bhavika's website: bhavika.net
The Inc. acknowledges the funding support of Young Canada Works Careers in Heritage whose contributions made Bhavika's position possible.