2011: Show Me Your Taboo

MennoFolk Manitoba 2011 was held on February 25.
No poster for main event.

Additional events include an artist talk by printmaker Miriam Rudolph at the Katherine Friesen Centre.

From the Uniter:

Mennonites walk among us. And they have secrets.

Given that Winnipeg has among the largest urban Mennonite population in the world, with more than 20,000 identified members, we can roughly estimate that one in 34 Winnipeggers is harbouring a shunworthy secret.

Show Us Your Taboo is a Mennofolk Manitoba initiative exhibiting now until March 4 at Outworks Gallery (290 McDermot Ave.).

The exhibition features artworks from 15 local Mennonite artists of either religious or cultural affiliation. The project explores the secular moral dilemmas young Mennos must reconcile to – or hide completely from – the community in which they were wrought.

If you are expecting a Mennonites Gone Wild!-style exposé of every lurid fantasy a religiously oppressed young artist is wont to explore, you may not understand the cultural nuances of these understated people.

Each piece offers a voyeuristic glimpse into the conflicted heart of the individual artist without indulging in shameless exhibitionism.

Taboo peels back a tiny corner of the pious outer shell to offer a privileged peek into a customarily private and repressed community.

Expect to discover a variety of meticulously articulated concepts, astutely expressed through of a broad variety of media.

Film and digital photographs dominate, followed by other traditional media such as linocut, etching, silkscreen prints and acrylic and oil on canvas.

Heather Driedger’s installation piece (which serves a confusing dual purpose of coatroom and seating area) entitled Soiled Bag, features an empty wine carboy, a clothesline draped with a variety of women’s undergarments hung about a single pair of men’s briefs and a side table-plinth bearing a spilled bag of burnt microwave popcorn.

The pungent odour punctuates this suspicious domestic scene, as the burnt kernels spill out of a comparatively pristine bag, drawing attention to the offensive black matter within.

Sober and intriguing, this exhibition endears more than provokes, yet questions linger on the brain long after a careful and earnest viewing.