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I want you to know that I am hiding something from you / since what I might be is uncontainable

Installation view at AXENÉO7, Gatineau, 2019
Photo credit: Justin Wonnacott

I want you to know that I am hiding something from you / since what I might be is uncontainable is an exploration of the politics of visibility as it relates to the artist’s own body and lived experience. The first room calls into question the objectivity of perception, instead highlighting the manner in which one’s positionality in society shapes what is seen and unseen. Here, she resists attempts to be known and seen in favour of a politics of refusal. Opacity and transparency are featured intermittently, in materials that at times obfuscate and at other times transform to reveal a glimpse into a new way of seeing and being that has yet to be understood—even by the artist herself.

The second room takes up where the first leaves off, exploring the effects of racialized perception—the projection of race onto the body—on the lived experience of the embodied subject. Embracing the notion of paradox, ‘since what I might be is uncontainable’ hints at the contradictions of race as a lived reality; the process of racialization—in many ways an act of naming—gives rise to both violence on the basis of difference and a sense of kinship predicated on shared experiences. These contrasting realities are all mediated through the body, which becomes the center of attention in the installation. Both rooms call into being the figure of Anansi the spider, a trickster God in Ashanti (Ghana) folklore, as a way of imagining ways of being that go beyond dichotomy. As a figure that floats between the world of the Gods and that of mankind, the trickster offers a model of how to navigate the space in-between fixed identities and seemingly paradoxical realities. Rather than either/or, the trickster offers slippage and concomitance: between moments of agency and vulnerability; violence and protection; hypervisibility and invisibility; absence and presence. To be a trickster is to be uncontainable, unknowable, and potentially free to create oneself anew each day.

Kosisochukwu Nnebe is a Nigerian-Canadian visual artist. An economist by training and a policy analyst by profession, her visual arts practice aims to engage viewers on issues both personal and structural in ways that bring awareness to their own complicity. Her work has been exhibited at AXENEO7, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Place des Arts, the Art Gallery of Guelph, the Nia Centre, Studio Sixty Six, Z-Art Space, Station 16, and the Mohr Gallery in Mountain View, California. She has given presentations on her artistic practice and research at universities across Quebec, including Laval, McGill and Concordia, and has facilitated workshops at the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and Redwood City High School in California. She is currently based in Ottawa.

In interactive and installation-based pieces, Nnebe makes audiences hyperaware of their positionality within the physical space of a room, as in society, and how this shapes what is seen and unseen, what is understood, and what remains undecipherable. Rooted in her own lived experience, Nnebe’s works explore notions of interiority as well as publicness, agency and domination, self and other.




Made of Honey, Gold and Marigold — Group Exhibition at Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa (February 2020)

• I want you to know that I am hiding something from you / since what I might be is uncontainable — Solo Exhibition at AXENEO7, Hull (January 2019)

Critical Mass — Group Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Guelph, Guelph (September 2018)

Articulations — Group Exhibition at Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa (November 2017)

Somatic Satiation — Solo Exhibition at Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa (September 2017)

Common Aliens — Group Exhibition at Z-Art Space, Montreal (October 2015)

Woman x Women — Group Exhibition at Station 16, Montreal (July 2015)

Have Fingers, Will Travel — Group Exhibition at Espace Culturel Georges-Emile- Lapalme de la Place des Arts, Montreal (April 2015)

Atelier Celadon Launch — Group Exhibition at Sachiki Boutique, Montreal (April 2015)

Coloured Conversations — Solo Exhibition at Mohr Gallery, Mountain View, California (October 2014)

4th Wall: Making the Invisible Visible — Group Exhibition at the Montreal Museum  of Fine Arts, Montreal (February 2014)

Perspectives — Solo Exhibition at O Patro Vys, Montreal (February 2013)


Artist Talk – In conversation with Joana Joachim, AXENEO7, Hull (February 2019)

Voiceless Utterance — Panel presentation at VAV Gallery, Montreal (August 2018)

Pour les intimes — Special guest as part of residency at SBC Gallery, Montreal (March 2018)

VAV Talks Back: Visual Identities in Black Contemporary Art — Panel discussion at VAV Gallery, Montreal (February 2018)

Hyper/in/visibility: A Dialogue of Women of Colour in the Arts — Public conversation at Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa (October 2017)

Speaking Ourselves into Existence: Black Feminist Thought and Artistic Production
Presentation at Laval University, Quebec City (March 2016)

Toutes les Femmes Sont Blanches, Tous les Noirs Sont Hommes, Mais Nous Sommes Quelque Unes a Etre Courageuses: Le Feminisme Noir aux Etats-Unis et au Canada
Workshop at Cegep Edouard-Montepetit as part of Feminist Bootcamp (March 2015)

“Like I’m Ratchet and Refined, Right?”: Moving Beyond Good/Bad Representation and Embracing a Radical Black Subjectivity — Presentation at Concordia University (March 2015)

Visual Arts as a Form of Self-Representation — Youth workshop at Everest Highschool, Redwood City, California (October 2014)

On Black Art and Empowerment — Presentation at Congress of Black Writers and Artists, Montreal (October 2013)


They Forgot That We Were Seeds — Exhibition and Public Programming at the Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2020)

“From Anansi to Aunt Nancy: Folklore and Storytelling in the Diaspora” — Workshop organized to accompany exhibition at AXENEO7, Hull (2019)

Common Aliens — Exhibition co-curated in collaboration with Atelier Celadon for the “Common Aliens: Diaspora Conference,” Montreal (2015)

Re-Interpreting Blackness: A Discussion on Black Art and Activism
Panel organized in collaboration with Atelier Celadon for the “Common Aliens: Diaspora Conference,” Montreal (2015)