From December 18 2020 to January 24 2021

Beneath the willow tree

Rihab Essayh

La Centrale galerie Powerhouse is proud to present the exhibition Beneath the willow tree by the artist Rihab Essayh, from December 18, 2020 to January 24, 2021. This window exhibition is presented by La Centrale at 4296 St-Laurent Boulevard, between Marie-Anne and Rachel Streets.

Taking Ophelia, a fictional character from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, as a reference, Beneath the willow tree represents the point of view from the water of Ophelia's death. Filmed in the lake Ontario, this video envelops the viewer by footages of a figure attempting to drown, not yet succeeding or failing. Through the sound of the water, the viewer can hear echoes of Ophelia's songs that linger as her words of truth in her world.

Research on female characters who have died by voluntary drowning following feelings of alienation has led the artist Rihab Essayh to work on Ophelia's symbolic death. The suicide of Virginia Woolf is another starting point for the artist's work; wondering how her descent into madness and sudden lucidity were confirmation of her departure.
Considering alienation as a cause of depression for women has prompted further questioning for the artist about the borders between madness, depression, euphoria and ecstasy.

On the occasion of the exhibition, La Centrale is organizing an online discussion with Rihab Essayh in collaboration with the organization Passages, a housing and integration resource for young women in difficulty. Using the artist's work as a starting point, Rihab Essayh and Passages will discuss themes of mental health and violence from a feminist perspective.

Born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1992, Rihab Essayh is a multidisciplinary artist based in Guelph, Canada. She obtained her BFA at Concordia University in Montreal in 2017 and is pursuing her MFA at University of Guelph.

Rihab Essayh's practice started with auto-ethnographic research and transformed by an exploratory methodology. She is interested in social relations in the digital age shaping part of our identity and social encounters online. Her work has been presented at the Montreal Art Souterrain, the FOFA Gallery, Never Apart Center, Artscape Gibraltar Point and Montreal Art Council.

Please note that the gallery space is not open to the public during window exhibitions.