Deanna Bowen: On Trial The Long Doorway (2019) on Shift Key

30 May 2020 - 26 June 2020

Mercer Union presents Deanna Bowen’s video On Trial The Long Doorway (2019), streaming for a limited time on Shift Key—MOCA Toronto’s rotating platform for moving image artworks.

In Fall 2017, Mercer Union presented a commissioned solo exhibition by Toronto-based artist Deanna Bowen. The work takes as its starting point a lost 1956 CBC teledrama ON TRIAL The Long Doorway by Canadian screenwriter Stanley Mann. It tells the story of a Black legal aid lawyer tasked with representing a white University of Toronto student who is charged with assaulting a rising Black basketball player. No recordings exist of the teledrama, so Bowen used the recovered script and set design notes to restage the work as an experimental exhibition and performance at Mercer Union.

Working with five Black actors, Bowen’s 2017 restaging has been condensed into two works of art: a four-channel installation piece and this single channel video of the restaged teleplay. This single channel version was presented alongside Bowen’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver in 2019. For her exhibition there, Bowen created a new body of work investigating the implications of Vancouver’s history of racial discrimination

commissioned essay by Liz Park, Curator of Exhibitions at UB Art Galleries and Dramaturge Notes by Dr. Seika Boye accompanied Deanna Bowen’s exhibition at Mercer Union.

On Trial The Long Doorway was commissioned and produced through a partnership between Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, Toronto, and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

For more information and to see documentation, revisit the 2017 exhibition Deanna Bowen: On Trial The Long Doorway