Fatine-Violette Sabiri & Shahan Assadourian at Afternoon Projects

Artists: Fatine-Violette Sabiri & Shahan Assadourian

Exhibition title: Picturesque Pipsqueak: Dollop’s Delight

Venue: Afternoon Projects, Vancouver, Canada 

Date: April 6 – May 11, 2024

Photography: ©Rachel Topham / all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Afternoon Projects, Vancouver

Hey kid, wanna see a dead body?

Your cousin’s looking at you with a superior smile. You cringe. You’re 9 years old. You’re at your uncle’s funeral. That’s a quote for your edgy classmates’ Instagram bios, yet there goes this 27-year-old man. The last nail in this line’s coffin, as far as you’re concerned. You roll your eyes, grab your soft drink from the edge of the queue piano, and head out.

The sky is clear and silvery like Sprite. You’ve always felt out of place in the countryside. It took hours to get here. The air putrid with the smell of something decomposing. Your previously high opinion of your cousin is disintegrating. You’re jittery. You’re exhausted. From the outside, the funeral home is a haunted pet shop. A horrific collection of dramatically lit cells showcasing kittens or corpses. Fishies or ashes. Aquariums or urns. In 9 years, an art history professor will teach you about memento mori and phallic symbols. You already understand that crates and coffins belong together like peanut butter and jelly or your half-bunny half-panda plushie. Scary movies always have the hottest girls. Playing with toys is fun is because the toys are pretty and you get to decide when their life ends.

The sun is veiled yet the light is blinding. You’re having the best time. This place is horrible. You’re like a puppy trying to climb out of a ravine. Prepubescent girls play with pubescent dolls in the parking lot. The dolls wear makeup, fishnet tights, mini-skirts, underwear. You’re intrigued. You’re terrified. The school year has ended. Euphoria is yielding to Summertime Sadness. You’ve watched Euphoria with your cousin. Your mother says Lana Del Rey’s a bimbo. Your cousin says she’s a genius. You don’t have an opinion. You go play your video game. You were all born to die.

One of the girls emits a movie explosion sound effect, propelling a doll’s flight in a spectacular arc through the air. The soundtrack intensifies into a whistling airplane noise, but the girl lets the humanoid piece of plastic land beside you on the gravel with a banal thud. She looks like a cute Medusa. Her hair sticks out. It sends you searching down the depths of your mind. You review every entry in your personal register of tubular objects. Spaghetti. Fusilli. Cavatelli. Worms. Snakes. Screws. Screwing. What is it about the shape of her hair that makes you feel like the sky has suddenly turned into a solid glass ceiling.

The girls are pulling robot dogs out of their emoji-themed bags now. Doll time is over. Yes, the Jest was once Infinite… But it is now contained, bound by a spiral of poop-shaped plastic. The great mystery is wearing glittery eyelashes and Kylie Jenner kitted lips. You can now Keep Calm, and, using its tan leather handles, Carry it On.

Your soda’s all fizzled out by the time you notice the murked robot dog in a sparsely wooded patch behind the building. Its exposed electronic chips reflecting the merciless daylight around its little robot dog ditch. All of your worlds collide. You Get It now. You walk back to the parking lot and stare at the deceased robot dog’s colleagues. They seem so unknowing, entranced in their pre lapsarian bliss, that you can’t help it. The words come out of your month before you realize what’s happening.

Hey kid, wanna see a dead body?

-Brat Star

Fatine-Violette Sabiri is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses photographic, tactile and traditional craft mediums. Her practice employs intuition toward examining personal narratives from encounters with people and objects in her immediate surroundings. Sabiri’s photographs take multiple forms, existing as a hybrid of editorial fashion work, commissioned portraits and personal documentary images. The resulting body of work emerges through an equilibrium of autobiography and storytelling. Throughout the varied disciplines and approaches in her work, she cultivates the importance of intuition, adaptation and humour.

Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Fatine-Violette Sabiri lives and works in Montreal, Quebec. She holds a BFA in Studio Arts with a Minor in Film Studies from Concordia University. Her work has been presented in several solo and group exhibitions, including Parc Offsite (Montreal, 2023), Patel Brown (Montreal, 2023), Espace Maurice (Montreal, 2022) Joys (Toronto, 2022), Joe Project (Montreal, 2022), Le 18 (Marrakesh, 2021), Jedna Dva TrÌŒi Gallery (Prague, 2020) and Soon.tw (Montreal, 2017). She is the 2022 recipient of the Burtynsky Grant awarded by the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The release of her second publication, Kiss Landing, is scheduled for 2024 with Éditions VU.

Shahan Assadourian is a researcher, archivist, artist, writer and art director based in Montreal. Shahan explores his own personal relationship and nostalgia with entertainment, fashion, images, and various other things that make him happy.