NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)












Kinga Araya


  • born in 1966 in Tarnów, Poland
  • immigrated to Kitchener, Ontario in 1990
  • parents from Lithuania and Ukraine
  • B.A. Honors in the Theory and History of Art, University of Ottawa  (1991-96); B.F.A. Studio Arts, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario (1993-1996); M.F.A. Visual Arts, York University, North York, Ontario (1996-1998); Ph.D. in progress, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec (1999-)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

The dislocation that Kinga Araya continues to experience as a result of her immigration has fuelled Araya’s artistic practice, resonating in her videos, sculptures, performances and mixed-media installations. Occupying an indeterminate location, Araya claims not to feel "at home" in her native Poland, nor in Canada nor in the United States where she was recently residing. Her identity has been shaped by this state of nomadism, fostering investigations of "be(longing)" and "(dis)placement" throughout her creative production. Her performances are often characterized by "awkward" physical movements and "unnatural" bodily postures, inviting the spectator to view the body as a metaphor for alienation. The fragmentation of identity is a theme that pervades one of Araya’s untitled video installations from 1995, in which four video monitors show four parts of the body. Each body part is paired with a human voice that speaks in a different language simultaneously. Although the left eye speaks Polish, the mouth speaks Italian, the right eye English, and the moving fingers French, all four voices are bound by narratives of (dis)placement. In De Gustibus non Disputandum Est/There is no dispute about taste (1996), Araya explored Canadian identity wearing a "Canadian Multicultural Dress," an outfit made of cotton into which she transferred photographs of both personal memories and contrasting official documents. She videotaped her performances of this piece, in which she read from personal and official documents, and also confronted people in Ottawa’s public spaces wearing her "Canadian garment." In her 1998 piece, Discipline, Araya played violin while attempting to balance on two steel halves of a hemisphere, her wobbling disrupting the playing and forcing awkward mistakes and silences. Writing about this work, Yam Lau explained, "Kinga Araya opts for bad manners, she wills to fail. What emerges from her failures is an undecidability that thoroughly permeates the visceral dimension of existence. In testing her body against instituted existence, Araya invited viewers to be suspended in an aporia and to rejoice in the difficulty of locating selfhood. Towards this end, I believe that she regards her own body as a threshold to be negotiated . . ." (1998). It is through these physical explorations that Araya deconstructs so-called "normal" postures and movements in order to critique and challenge the body’s complicity in upholding societal hierarchies and inequitable social relations. For Araya the body is a social construct that determines the way in which we experience and perform our physical reality. Araya explains that she is "constantly challenged by dwelling in the ambivalent space of political non-belonging . . . forced to create new visual translations of this unrepresentable status quo" (1998).



1998 Modus Vivendi, M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Glendon Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Herland Film and Video Festival
Calgary, Alberta

Pleasure Dome Screening
Toronto, Ontario


1997 Film/Video & Performance Art Extravaganza
Saw Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario


1996 Naked 8: The 9th Melbourne International Super 8 Film Festival
Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia

Scripta Manent
Ottawa Super 8 Film Festival, Gallery 101, Ottawa, Ontario

That - Has - Been
Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario


1995 Itinerant Identity
Kinga Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario


1994 Laiceps / Laicéps
Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario



1997 Corpus Delecti
Red Head Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Crossing Borders
Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Niagara Falls, New York


1996 Masques
Maison de la culture de Gatineau, Gatineau, Québec

M.F.A. Graduate Exhibition
I.D.A. Gallery, York University, North York, Ontario

Collective Impulse
Graduation Student Exhibition, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario

Ut Pictura . . .
Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario


1994 Why We Are Where We Are?
New Video Works, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario


1993 Jacqueline Fry Scholarship Show
Gallery 115, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario



Lau, Yam. Kinga Araya: Modus Vivendi. Toronto, Ontario: Glendon Gallery, 1998.


NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)

arhome.GIF (262 bytes) HOME