Hiding in Plain Sight is an exhibition catalogue that celebrates the work of the inaugural Embassy Cultural House virtual exhibition of the same name. The show launched on October 30, 2020 and the catalogue was published in January 2021. The exhibition was organized in solidarity with the journalism of Sarah Kendzior.Go to post Embassy Hotel (Stre...
Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America was written by bestselling author Sarah Kendzior and published in April 2020 by Flatiron Books, New York. The paperback edition was launched on April 20, 2021 and is distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books. Hiding In Plain Sight documents the truth about the calculated rise to power of Donald Trump since the 1980s and how the erosion of civil liberties has made an autocracy possible in the United States. Kendzior’s book and The Globe and Mail op-ed essays were the inspiration for the Embassy Cultural House’s Hiding in Plain Sight exhibition, organized by Ron Benner, and assisted by the contributing editors of the Embassy Cultural House.
The Embassy Cultural House, 1983-1990 is an exhibition catalogue published by Museum London, curated by Robert McKaskell and edited by Melanie Townshend, with essays by Michael Baker, Robert McKaskell and Rebecca Diederichs. In June 2020, the catalogue was published online on embassyculturalhouse.ca to commemorate the death of Robert McKaskell.
Jessie Amery, "Hiding in Plain Sight", 2020, chain & running stitch on printed cloth. Artist Statement: I think stitching is a form of story-telling. Each time I look at different forms of needlework, I am reminded of something from my past and, at the same time, I am inspired to experiment in learning something new. I am not limited by the traditional embroidery on fabrics and have expanded my art into embroidering on paper in different ways. Digital technology and the introduction of ink jet fabric allows me to create onto the images, using a variety of stitches to add texture and form to my work. Both traditional and contemporary needlework continue to inspire me to imagine my work in the future. My textile work Hiding in Plain Sight incorporates a computer-generated altered image on ink jet fabric with traditional embroidery stitches, including the chain and running stitch, using cotton threads. Thanks to my daughter Jamile, who has assisted me throughout the process of this exhibition. Jessie Amery is an accomplished textile artist, based in London, Ontario, and was raised in the building which came to be the Embassy Hotel. She uses embroidery as a form of story-telling, incorporating both traditional stitching and contemporary elements. Amery has contributed widely and deeply to social justice and immigrant concerns in the London community.
June Pak, "Observation 1", 2020, video Artist Statement: This video came about soon after the WHO (World Health Organization) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. In Canada, all non-essential businesses were closed and the country was basically under stay at home orders. Under the definition of “essential”, those who continued to work were in finance, transportation, health, construction, agriculture, and service and maintenance works. In this piece, a video camera is set up outside of a brightly lit lobby of Canada Trust, one of the largest banks in Canada. As you look closely, you see a small red rectangle following a figure. In comparison to the massive scale of the lobby, she is almost invisible. I had to add the red marking on top of her to protect her identity and, more importantly, so we don’t miss her presence. Invisible labour that we hardly pay attention to is now what’s keeping the city running during this time of fear and uncertainty. June Pak was born in Seoul, South Korea, and now lives in Toronto. Coming from her personal experience of living in Canada as a Korean-Canadian, the hyphenated identity is a central theme in her practice. Her multi-disciplinary works have been shown in Canada and abroad. She received numerous grants for her projects from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council. Pak teaches as a part-time lecturer at the University of Toronto and OCAD University.
Wyn Geleynse, "Private Property", 2020, filmwork Artist Statement: The work entitled Private Property derived from my musings on the origins of capitalism, which has many origin stories, starting with the Ancient Greeks. What I mean by private property is not properties like clothes, cars, cooking utensils or tools but private ownership of “ground” and all that exists or can exist on it or from it. My studio is located in a light industrial area of the city and I was encouraged in my musings by all the fenced-in empty lots surrounding my studio, which announced their private ownership status by the signage attached to their fences. Also by the developer/investor that owns a great many properties within our city and the surrounding county that are empty or simply unused. I was musing; when did “ground” transition from collective universal sharing to private ownership. Wyn Geleynse is a multimedia artist living and working in London, Ontario. Considered one of Canada's pioneer film and video projection artists, he has exhibited extensively both in Canada and Europe in a career that spans nearly 40 years. His work raises questions about self and identity, commenting on the human condition with a subtle blend of irony and humanity. Wyn was a member of the Embassy Cultural House (ECH) board and also co-edited the ECH tabloid and curated the film program. He and his wife Lucretia and their daughter Mara were regulars at most ECH events. Today, Wyn is a part of the newly formed Embassy Cultural House Advisory Circle.
From Left to Right: Stan Denniston, "Emancipation Proclamation, 1863", 2005/07, digital photo. "New Colossus, 1883", 2005/07; digital photo. "Bill of Rights, 1979", 2005/07, digital photo. Artist Statement: The saguaro cactus has long been synonymous with the deserts of the American west and a symbol of rugged endurance in a harsh environment. But I chose these cacti, their trunks and limbs cradled and braced, in contrast to that legendary toughness, to add poignancy to their potential as icons of degradation – in this case the degradation of two centuries of political and social achievement in the United States by the actions of the Bush administration. Provoked by my simmering anger, I sought affirmative moments in American history that were obviously, the antithesis of the policies of this disreputable bunch. Subtly embedded in the skies of these barely coloured photographs are historical texts of social and political aspiration and idealism such as 1863's Emancipation Proclamation, 1872’s Yellowstone Act (creating the world’s first national park), or Lyndon Johnson’s The Great Society speech, 1964, or even The New Colossus, an 1883 poem by Emma Lazarus that graces the base of the Statue of Liberty (“give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”). Stan Denniston, artist and art restorer, lives and works in Toronto. Denniston has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe and his works are included in many collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada.