Join us on Friday September 14th at the SPAO Centre (77 Pamilla St.) at 7 pm for Debating Ballen, the next session of our panel series, Parfocal Lens. This panel will focus on the issues and concepts brought forward by the current exhibition on view in the SPAO Gallery, entitled Roger Ballen: There Is No Outside. Based in Johannesburg, the American-born artist Roger Ballen is a controversial figure whose work often depicts people and spaces that exist on the margins of South African society.
SPAO has invited three panelists to respond to Ballen’s work, including the way in which it intersects with their personal histories. The acclaimed photographic artist Jennifer Dickson was born in South Africa but left to pursue an art career that ultimately brought her to North America. The art historian and curator Charles Reeve organized the 2009 exhibition of Ballen’s work at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Roger Ballen: Boarding House. The social scientist Patrick Lynn Rivers, whose design research practice is partly based in Cape Town, will speak to Ballen's work with reference to apartheid South Africa and the present moment.
The panel will be moderated by Dr. Monica Patterson, an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University. A scholar, curator, and activist, her work explores the intersections of memory, childhood, and violence in postcolonial Africa, and the ways in which they are represented and engaged in contemporary public spheres.
In conjunction with the dark and troubling images of the exhibition, Parfocal Lens: Debating Ballen is a conversation certain to be both challenging and illuminating. Admission is free.