Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat 

WAG-Qaumajuq welcomes Esmaa Mohamoud’s stunning exploration of Black identity to Winnipeg

Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 23, 2022: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq welcomes Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat to the gallery spaces.  

Through installation, sculpture, photography, and video, artist Esmaa Mohamoud explores the ways in which Black bodies at once appear—and yet are rendered metaphorically invisible—within the spaces they navigate. To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat aims to re-examine understandings of contemporary Blackness, questioning the definitions of Blackness as a colour and shade, and/or as a societal or cultural construction. Organized and circulated by Museum London and curated by Matthew Kyba, Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat has also been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Ottawa Art Gallery before travelling to Winnipeg. 

Esmaa Mohamoud is a Toronto-based African Canadian artist. She has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Montreal. 

Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat opens Saturday, June 25, 2022, and runs until October 17, 2022.

Quick Facts: 

  • Curated by Matthew Kyba, guest curator at Museum London, Esmaa Mohamoud’s stunning exhibition To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat is an exploration of Black identity through the lens of sport.  
  • Esmaa Mohamoud is a Toronto-based African Canadian artist. She holds a BFA from Western University (2014) and an MFA from OCAD University (2016). Mohamoud has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Montreal. 
  • WAG-Qaumajuq will host a joint opening celebration of Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat and Transmissions, by WAG Curator in Residence Mariana Muñoz Gomez, on Thursday, July 14. Details to follow at wag.ca 
  • Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat will be on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq from June 25 to October 17, 2022.  

Quotes: 

 “This exhibition plays with the notions of invisibility and visibility, seeing and not seeing, the multiplicity of Blackness versus the monolith of Blackness, all through the realm of athleticism. Yes, this is a show about sports, but its grounding force is about race and Black bodies. I hope that people take something from the show in terms of their own preconceptions of Blackness and Black people and Black culture.”  

— Esmaa Mohamoud, Artist, Toronto ON

 

“Esmaa Mohamoud is one of the most important living Canadian artists whose incisive and unflinching work is unlike anything in the country.” 

— Matthew Kyba, Curator of Exhibitions at the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Columbus OH

 

“I am very excited to be partnering with Museum London in order to bring this important exhibition to Winnipeg! To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat is both a celebration of diversity and a space to consider the difficult issues of race through the tangible, relatable, shared language of sports. Basketball, soccer, football – none of these sports are immune to the systems of racial oppression in which they operate. Mohamoud’s visually compelling use of athletic signifiers is both beautiful and tragic and provides us with an access point to consider Black experiences in our society.” 

Riva Symko, Head of Collections & Exhibitions and Curator of Canadian Art, WAG-Qaumajuq 

 

Associated Links  

Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat  

Esmaa Mohamoud 

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:  

Hanna Waswa
Public Relations Officer
Winnipeg Art Gallery
204.789.1295
hwaswa@wag.ca
 

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (the WAG) is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. Opened in March 2021, Qaumajuq connects to the WAG on all levels, celebrating the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. The new WAG-Qaumajuq cultural campus is now one of the largest art museums in Canada. To learn more visit wag.ca. 

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