In the Presence of Absence: Call for Photographs

Art Windsor-Essex
3 min readJan 12, 2022


A photograph of a woman with long, dark hair, with her back to the camera, looking out over a series of palm trees.

Click here to submit photograph(s).

About the Project

In anticipation of Palestinian-Canadian artist Jude Abu Zaineh’s forthcoming solo exhibition In the Presence of Absence (June — September 2022), the artist is inviting individuals of Middle Eastern and North African descent to digitally upload images drawn from their family albums that speak to histories of exile, displacement, and migrations. Abu Zaineh will be using these images and integrating them in installations that will include seeds cultivated from local community gardens.

In the Presence of Absence maps experiences of exile, belonging, and intergenerational strength, speaking to ongoing histories and realities of mass migrations. For this exhibition, Abu Zaineh will be commissioned to create bio-art installations, neon works, and photographs that parallel the experience of seed growth with migration: both undergo transplantation and flourish in new terrains.

This exhibition forms part of Below the 6, a series of exhibitions that focuses on artists based in Southwestern Ontario whose practices are socially and politically minded. Below the 6 is guest curated by Noor Alé and is generously supported by TD Canada Trust.

About the Artist

Photograph of Jude Abu Zaineh, who has shoulder-length brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a slight smile. She is wearing light blue overalls and looks steadily at the camera.
Image credit: Kamryn Cusumano

Jude Abu Zaineh is a Palestinian-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker. Her practice relies on the use of art, food, and technology to investigate meanings of culture, displacement, diaspora, and belonging. She examines ideals of home and community while working to develop aesthetics rooted in her childhood and upbringing in the Middle East.

Abu Zaineh is the recipient of the 2020 William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists, and was one of the first selected artists to participate in a collaborative residency with the Ontario Science Centre and MOCA Toronto (Canada). She has presented her work nationally and internationally including Cultivamos Cultura, São Luis, Portugal; Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon, Portugal; Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City, Mexico; SVA, NYC, USA; Forest City Gallery; London, Canada.

Abu Zaineh received an MFA from the University of Windsor (Canada) and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY, USA) as an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow.

She maintains an active studio practice between upstate NY, USA, and Windsor-Essex, Canada.

About the Curator

Noor Alé is a curator, art historian, and writer. She is the Associate Curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. Her curatorial practice examines the intersections of contemporary art with geopolitics, decolonization, and social justice in the Global South. She has contributed to curatorial research, exhibition management, and public programs at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Art Dubai. Alé holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph. Alongside Claudia Mattos, she co-founded AXIS, an independent curatorial laboratory dedicated to exhibiting socially-engaged contemporary art. She was awarded curatorial residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Shanghai Curators Lab.



Art Windsor-Essex

Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) is a non-profit public art gallery that uses the power of art to open hearts and minds to new ideas. Change happens here.