From November 20 2020 to December 12 2020

We are wary, we are weary

Exhibition by Jenny Lin and Shanna Strauss: Prix Powerhouse 2020 Winners

Window exhibition presented from November 20 to December 12, 2020 as part of the Prix Powerhouse 2020.

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This exhibition presents works made in response to the pandemic, the current political climate and the movement for racial justice and equity, from the perspective and experiences of the artists as Black and Asian people. In each artists’ work, accumulation through images and text is paired together with gestures of touch, care, action and offering. Shanna Strauss’s work addresses specifically the evidence of violence and injustice experienced by Black people and the continual need to heal from wounds inflicted by white supremacy, while Jenny Lin’s work addresses a sustained state of high-alert and a means of processing the multi-faceted effects of the pandemic on individuals and communities.

We are wary, we are weary is a window exhibition presented by La Centrale at 4296 St-Laurent Boulevard, between Marie-Anne and Rachel Streets.

The community is invited to discover the artists and two of the Prix Powerhouse’s jury members on Friday, November 20, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. during the launch of the awards video.

Strauss and Lin will offer online workshops related to their artistic practice on Thursday, November 26, 2020 at 6:30 pm and Saturday, November 28 at 3 pm. More details on these events.

La Centrale galerie Powerhouse would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations for this edition, the nominated artists, the members of the jury, and the generous contribution of an anonymous donor, making this award possible.

I started working on this piece a few months ago, as the onslaught of violence and injustice that we, as Black people, have witnessed and experienced this year felt unbearable. The piece became a meditation on repair. I thought about how the wounds that have been inflicted on us by white supremacy for centuries have to be continuously mended by our own hands, and how with every dehumanizing and oppressive act, with every life taken, new wounds are inflicted and old wounds are torn open once again. I reflected on the collective despair and heartbreak that Black people experience, and how despite our pain, we have to gather ourselves every time, and somehow find the strength within us to keep fighting the oppression we experience. Simultaneously, we tend to the wounds. For this window installation, I made a collage of historical imagery and current media headlines from Canada and the United States that depict the constant harm being done to the Black body and psyche. In front of it hangs a large linoleum block print on transparency film, depicting my hands mending a heart. This is my offering of healing to Black people.”

Shanna Strauss about her work for "We are wary, we are weary"

I have been making drawings throughout this pandemic, with focus on the vulnerabilities and injustices that are exacerbated by it, and that have been brought into greater visibility during it. This image is an accumulation of some of these drawings, and a response to feelings of weariness and vigilance throughout this time, worrying for loved ones, the communities I am part of and for individuals and communities I care deeply for as an ally. It is also a response to being for months in a state of overdrive and high-alert – over-functioning for my job to keep things “going”, being on edge due to higher incidents of racially-motivated violence, protecting against the virus, and observing the pandemic’s multi-faceted and detrimental effects on the most vulnerable in our communities. Drawing is a means to process the current situations I see around me, to keep afloat, and also to create conversation and connection with others, but in this drawing, I point also at the futility I feel about it. The hand gestures were initially intended as a response to a couple of images Shanna shared with me, in which her hands are making, mending, holding space and letting go. In this case, my hands are busy picking and poking at as a kind of overactivity and (self)criticism but also acts of care. The title, Pencil Teeth, alludes to the protectiveness I feel towards my communities and allies, and the hypervigilant reflex to bare teeth, even if only through paper and screens.

Jenny Lin about “Pencil teeth”, her work for "We are wary, we are weary"

To learn more about the artists: read the full press release on the announcement of the winners or visit their website: |

For more information on the Prix Powerhouse 2020, visit or contact Jessica Côté, Development Coordinator at