SIREN by nichola feldman-kiss
Rebecca Tisdelle Macias

Artist nichola feldman-kiss explores global migration and flight from countries of origin in a multidisciplinary exhibition at Toronto’s Koffler Gallery.

Curated by Karen Alexander (UK) for the Koffler Gallery, nichola feldman-kissSIREN is a monumental multidisciplinary investigation into global migration and daily flights from countries of origin. The exhibition uses immersive video installations, vocal harmonics and photography to address common conditions of oppression and displacement, as well as the cultural complexities of ocean passages.

The exhibition marks the culmination of four years of in-depth research into the often catastrophic nomadic passages made on water, alongside the artist’s characteristic experimentation with digital technologies. Visitors are taken on a visual and sonic journey through photography, video installations and immersive soundscapes.

SIREN makes an unorthodox use of imaging technology and sound harmonies to address very significant humanitarian crises at the intersection of conflict and climate. The artist’s 25-year-old body of work is an ongoing critique of the colonial paradigm – the violent ingestion of lands, resources, peoples and cultures.

The multi-layered presentation encompasses Siren III, a new large-scale single-channel video installation, and Surfacings, a new commissioned video stills installation for the Koffler Gallery entrance. At the heart of SIREN is a reflection on the concepts of diaspora, migration and displacement, the paradox of national borders and borders within an ecology of elemental flows.

“My works and installations lay bare the entanglements of the globalized order that insist on the rights of some while denying the same rights to others, and ask us to reconsider difficult questions about what it means to be conscious social bodies in the contemporary moment,” says nichola feldman-embracing. “Siren honors the urgent will to survive through tenacious journeys into unknown futures and invokes ambivalent emotions associated with great passages and existential transitions.”

The exhibition title SIREN is a nod to the mysterious ancient coastal bird/woman who, like the mermaid, is known to sailors for her bewitching call and alluring beauty. Its song is an exquisite beacon and a bewitching lure. Guests are drawn into the exhibition through the soundscape and transfixed in an immersive scene of underwater cinematography.

The harmonics of SIREN’s soundscape are composed of youyous, improvised vocal expressions common to female cultures of the Global South. The dinghies are performed individually and collectively as a kind of vocal applause, celebrating the arrival and paving the way forward. For SIREN the artist worked with local women from the African, Mediterranean and Asian diasporas. The primal voice combined with the impactful imagery envelops the viewer, inviting them to perform as an unseen witness to underwater scenes of near-drowning, ascension, birth and rebirth.

The exhibition opens to the public on November 2, 2022 and runs until March 5, 2023. A public engagement program will accompany the gallery exhibition and offer a series of targeted events to contextualize and help the public to unpack the intertwined layers of urgent concerns and references. that underlie the exhibition. Throughout the show, there will be opportunities for public commentary and debate, ranging from lunchtime discussions and topical conversations to live vocal performances and workshops.

For more information about the exhibition, opening hours and public programming, visit


Deanne Moser



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Koffler Gallery

180 Shaw Street


Toronto, Canada

About Koffler Gallery

The Koffler Center of the Arts is a cultural platform that explores the critical ideas and concerns of our time through a program of exhibitions, publications, performances, literary events, digital initiatives and education programs art throughout the year. We examine complex issues through transformative artistic experiences that stimulate cross-cultural dialogue. Through our in-gallery and off-site programs, the Koffler attracts thousands of visitors each year. From schoolchildren and teenagers to newcomers and seniors, we provide vital opportunities for self-expression and community connection. As a Jewish organization, we value and aim to foster social justice and equity, while nurturing a passion for creativity, learning and understanding. We position Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices to examine complex issues. Through its public program of exhibitions and events, the Koffler provides common ground to engage the most relevant ideas that shape our cultural life and define our shared social values. Visit us online at to learn more and follow our programs and future artistic collaborations.

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