Artist Séamus Gallagher as Sara Tonin

Art in the Open: Meet Séamus

aka Sara Tonin

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This August, guest curator and K’jipuktuk (Halifax) based artist, Julia McMillan, joins this year’s Art in the Open curatorial team. Her visiting artist is Séamus Gallagher.

The project that Gallagher is presenting is “Thinking of You Thinking of Me”—a video installation piece wherein Gallagher embodies a drag character named Sara Tonin who wears a 3D printed bust and holds a bouquet of fake, printed flowers. It was this piece that caught McMillan’s eye and Gallagher’s status as an emerging artist that made McMillan want to help bring the project to fruition.

“I really like helping emerging artists expand and build their practices,” says McMillan, who has been following Gallagher’s growth as an artist for some time. McMillan’s background in arts administration and her recent term as the Artistic Director at Eyelevel Artist-Run Centre in Halifax has helped her in her curatorial work with emerging artists like Séamus Gallagher.

Curator Julia McMillan

Gallagher’s practice centers around “queering virtual spaces and exploring the intersection of performance, installation, and self-portraiture.” They utilize video game engines to create “dense visual environments with hyperactive images that blur the binary of digital and physical, real and fake.” McMillan’s work shares themes of technology, real and imagined realities, queer identities & politics with Gallagher’s and as such she is thrilled to bring Gallagher’s work to her home of Charlottetown through the Art in the Open festival.

“Séamus’ practice is very playful and fun, yet powerful. Their work deals with drag, and although drag has been mainstream for quite some time, it hasn’t really had a huge presence on PEI. I think it will make a big impact here.”

Art in the Open will take place from 4 pm to midnight on August 24. Admission is free, all are welcome to take part in the art.