From March 03 2022 to April 07 2022

Dot by dot like a baby gazelle

Mélika Hashemi, Shirin Fahimi with Morehshin Allahyari, Iman Lahroussi, Nazlie Najafi. Curator : Mitra Fakhrashrafi

La Centrale galerie Powerhouse is proud to present the exhibition Dot by dot like a baby gazelle from March 3 to April 7, 2022. This exhibition, curated by Mitra Fakhrashrafi, will present the work of Mélika Hashemi, Shirin Fahimi with Morehshin Allahyari, Iman Lahroussi and Nazlie Najafi.

La Centrale galerie Powerhouse will host several activities in conjunction with the exhibition; the event "From Mia Khalifa to Bousbir" with Nashwa Lina Khan, a conversation with Shirin Fahimi, an AR filter and an e-lecture with the artist Mélika Hashemi and a finissage.*

In “Ain El Karma”, a song originally written and performed in the early 1900s, poet and singer Aissa Djarmouni connects the act of tattooing to the North African land he wrote of, describing the puncturing of the skin, “[d]ot by dot like a baby gazelle grazing in the plain of the Olive River”. The lasting popularity of this lyric links the once common practice of tattooing to the present; reinvigorating a tradition that, due to the criminalizing of nomadic life and growing stigma, is no longer widely performed in the region.

Dot by dot like a baby gazelle draws on tattoo cultures from across Iran and the Maghreb as an entry point to explore nation-building, gender, diaspora, and the future—especially other futures which demand the rejection of binaries, static histories, and erasure. Artists Shirin Fahimi with Morehshin Allahyari, Mélika Hashemi, Iman Lahroussi, and Nazlie Nazgol use performance, geomency, film, installation, and archiving to explore the body as site of storytelling that captures what changes over time what endures, and the many transformations made along the way. Evoking the ‘traditional’ and the reimagined, the exhibition presents an open-ended archive documenting tattooing and other oftentimes relegated practices of Iran, the Maghreb, and their diasporas while inviting viewers to partake in these living traditions.


Mitra Fakhrashrafi is a curator and mixed media artist interested in creating places of sanctuary and indebted to border abolition organizing. Mapping the legacies of colonial infrastructure and the resistance which has always followed ground and guide her work, including her most recent curatorial residency at the Textile Museum of Canada. Fakhrashrafi is a chair of Whippersnapper Gallery’s Board of Director’s and was most recently awarded the 2021 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curator’s. More information

Nazlie Najafi is an artist and writer who was born in Vancouver,‌ BC and now resides in Montreal, QC. She works with images, words and videos.

Mélika Hashemi is an artist-researcher based in Kitchener, ON. Using art as a device, she finds ways to renew intersectionality and empowerment beyond screens and institutional walls. More information

Shirin Fahimi is a digital media artist based in Ontario, born in Iran. She investigates colonial dichotomies of rationalism and superstition, as well as the ways in which women negotiate visibility in the political arena of Islamic societies through digital world-making. Her research is influenced by Islamic mysticism and magic in Iranian society and diasporic communities. Since 2016, she has developed her practice into a body of multimedia installations, performances, and extended reality works based on the Islamic method of divination called Ilm-al-Raml, known as geomancy. She has presented at critically recognized venues including Savvy Contemporary, Counter Pulse, and The Rubin Museum of Art. More information

Morehshin Allahyari is an artist using 3D simulation, sculpture, and digital fabrication as tools to re-figure myth and history. Through archival practices and storytelling, she weaves together complex counternarratives in opposition to the lasting influence of Western technological colonialism in the context of West Asia. Her work has been exhibited in venues such as the New Museum, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Venice Biennale di Architettura, among others. She is the recipient of the United States Artist Fellowship (2021), The Sundance Institute New Frontier International Fellowship (2019), and was named as one of Foreign Policy’s 2016 Top 100 Global Thinkers. More information

Iman Lahroussi is an artist, researcher, and archivist situated between Toronto, Brussels, and Tangiers. Through archives of feeling, orality, and imagery, Lahroussi’s work engages the subject of the global Maghrebi diaspora. Lahroussi’s archival practices and techniques of disordering, critical fabulation, and aesthetic placelessness mirror the dislocation, transiency, and hybridity of Maghrebi-hood. In particular, Lahroussi’s work thematically foregrounds the transgressions, tensions, and paradoxes of migrancy. She is currently an MA student at the University of Toronto and holds a BA in African Studies.

* La Centrale ensures that it is a safe place in accordance with health and safety guidelines

Image : Shirin Fahimi

Read the booklet of the exhibition