I hear you everywhere I go
Halie Finney and Jalen Frizzell
Curated by Sanaa Humayun
Jan 26 - Mar 9, 2024 / Cannon Gallery
“You still hum like power lines. I hear you everywhere I go.” - Eden Robinson, "Trickster Drift"
I hear you everywhere I go, by Montreal-based artist Jalen Frizzell and Edmonton-based artist Halie Finney, curated by Sanaa Humayun, explores relationality as the heart of practice. As racialized tattoo artists, and as emerging visual artists, Finney and Frizzell explore how interpersonal relationality can help form a sense of self that exists within a support network, and in that is way larger than any one individual. Frizzell’s work delves into their Afro-diasporic spiritual and religious histories, while Finney’s considers how to honour imagery rooted in her Metís identity, and her family roots. Both artists explore their cultural histories of tattoo practice, and what it means to make a living as an artist without exploiting themselves in the process.
I hear you everywhere I go highlights the necessary relationship between client and artist in tattooing, and what it means to trust someone with art that’s rooted in identity and vulnerability. Through the participatory installations created by both artists, I hear you everywhere I go examines the heart of what gallery exhibitions are — a relationship between audience and artist, one that builds and grows beyond the walls of the gallery.
Finney & Frizzell allow viewers to be part of their relationship networks, work that is often heavy and done in isolation due to the systems of inequality that we live in. I hear you everywhere I go breaks down this isolation, creating sweet and playful moments of rest, recovery, and connection. Connections that hum like power lines, trust that once formed remains present, marked by the things built together. Through this work they encourage audiences to consider art practice as part of personal growth, and relationality as the root of practice.
Halie Finney is a multidisciplinary Metis artist and tattooist from Treaty 8, specifically the Lesser Slave Lake Area, more specifically Canyon Creek. In her art practice Halie reaches to her and her family’s memories and experiences of her hometown to form disjointed narratives that highlight the connections between generations, life and death, and the seemingly unchanging landscape that they all share. These little stories act as a personal mythology to fill in the gaps of information in her family history and celebrate feelings of nostalgia, grief, comfort, and other feelings you might have if you’re deeply rooted in a small town in northern Alberta.
Presently Halie is finally figuring out how to merge her tattoo practice with her art practice. During this process she is discovering themes of care, trust, and relating to one another through images and the meanings they hold. She’s excited to continue this train of thought.
Currently, Halie resides in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), Alberta, and works as an artist and tattooist, and is a core member of Ociciwan.
Jalen Frizzell's approach to tattooing and art making as practices of reclamation can be described through the quote "When tools once lost in time are returned into the hands of descendants, they glow". Jalen is allured by the power of symbols, their effects on the observer, and how these symbols act as amplifiers of ancestral voices. Jalen has been working professionally in the Canadian tattoo industry since 2015 - With their experience they have cultivated tattooing techniques that embody pan-African Black Cultures, hairstyles, and features using methods innovative to modern tattooing. They are influenced by the Afrofuturism, Afro-surrealism, and Afro-pessimism movements.
Early in their tattoo apprenticeship Jalen watched the film "Space is the Place". In this film Sun Ra states that music can grant the Black listener intergalactic space traveling abilities. This experience stirred a change in Jalen's perception, visual symbols shifted from simple aesthetic pleasures into ingredients for alchemy with infinite potential. Ingredients that can provoke life altering changes just by seeing them. Jalen works with the consciousness that perceiving an image can influence emotion, which affects authentic bodily responses. These responses mold our lived reality and our collective wellness. Jalen's influences include the work of Alice Coltrane, depictions of deities such as Orishas, and Blaxploitation movie posters of the 70’s.