An interactive puppet show is set up outside with images projected on a tent and a child playing in the middle.

Play with light and shadow in this interactive exhibition that explores human displacement, memories of home, and the refugee crisis.

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Surrey Art Gallery - 13750 88 Ave

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Maya Ersan and Jaimie Robson of Mere Phantoms use shadow play to explore the relationship between memory and architecture, people and place. In 2018, the duo created Shadows Without Borders, a mobile interactive shadow installation that travelled to refugee camps, squats, and settlements in Athens and Istanbul. Building on previously established relationships, Mere Phantoms led paper cutting and shadow workshops and play sessions with children in these communities.

Some of the work created collectively during this journey is included in the exhibition along with the 3.5 x 3.5 metre shadow projection tent and custom-made flashlights. Also central to the exhibit will be a series of photographs from a night of shadow play at an Athens squat, as well as a seven-minute video documenting the workshops and shadow play sessions in Athens and Istanbul. Both the photographs and video were created in collaboration with filmmakers Leila Shifteh and Harun Yasin Tuna. For this latest edition of Shadows Without Borders at Surrey Art Gallery, the artists have made new paper-cut tableaus that will be exhibited for the first time.

During the exhibition, visitors are invited to engage with the artwork. People can add their own cut-outs to this ever-growing interactive installation and pick up a flashlight to animate the intricate paper tableaus imbued with stories from communities both near and far.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

Mere Phantoms will be giving an artists' talk at the Gallery's summer opening on June 19.

About the Artists

Mere Phantoms is a partnership between artists Maya Ersan and Jaimie Robson. Since 2012, the Montreal-based duo has created fantastic worlds through two classic art forms: the theatre of shadows and the art of paper cutting. The artists use as few tools as possible—such as knives, rulers and paper— so that light is the medium that makes their creations come alive. The result fascinates and captivates and makes spectators the moderators of their own experience.

Curator: Jordan Strom
Origin of Exhibition: Surrey Art Gallery