“The Lie of the Land” is a British idiom that refers to an analysis of the organization or state of affairs of a specific terrain or subject. The phrase, more commonly known as “The Lay of the Land”, was first recorded in 1819 as an idiom of British colonial expansion to describe a survey of the landscape and its distinctive features and markers. The Lie of the Land by Golboo Amani consist of two ongoing social practice works that focus on breaking down the myths and fallacies of colonial expansion and development that often shape the relationships settler colonials have to Turtle Island. Using both real and virtual landscapes Amani’s work hopes intervene the settler colonial narrative by acknowledging the interdependency of multiple producers in exploring models of exchange and negotiation as a critical participatory skill.
Golboo Amani‘s works in photography to performance, space intervention, digital media, and social practice. Her work considers pedagogical tools and methodologies as ready-made sites of social engagement. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in venues including the Rats9 Gallery, Hemispheric Institute Encuentro (Montreal), Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga) Union Gallery (Kingston), XPACE Artist-Run Centre, FADO Emerging Artist Series, Rhubarb Festival (Toronto), TRANSMUTED International Festival of Performance Art (Mexico City), 221A Artist-Run Centre, and the LIVE Biennial of Performance Art (Vancouver). Recent works include a Public Reading a participatory performance on public transit for the Artist-Run Newsstand and the School of Bartered Knowledge an ongoing social practice work that holds space for dialog and negotiations around knowledge production.
As an artists working within a social practice Amani often relies on familiar social engagements as a point of entry into their artwork. Critical of systemic social patterns, the artist views social situations as ready-made sites for aesthetic intervention. Acknowledging that many of us are marked by long, personal histories and prescribed relationships with pedagogy, Amani’s work often addresses the conditions of knowledge production that render epistemic violence as invisible, insignificant and benign. Much of their work focuses on interventions or alternatives to formal sites of pedagogy to include forms, contexts and content normally excluded from institutionalized knowledge production. By expanding sites of pedagogy to include the streets, backyards, homes, public transit etc., Amani intends to highlight the potentiality of non-hierarchical pedagogical experiences that speak to collective agency and egalitarian epistemology.
The Lie of the Land is part of a research residency that took place from May to November 2016 with SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre). SAVAC is the only non-profit, artist-run centre in Canada dedicated to supporting South Asian artists. For over two decades, SAVAC has increased the visibility of culturally diverse artists by curating and exhibiting their work, providing mentorship, and facilitating professional development.