SCA's Graduate Spring Show
Thursday, April 18, 2024 | Doors at 6:00 PM, performances at 7:00 PM
SCA Visual Art Studios, Suite #330 – 611 Alexander Street, Vancouver

Join us for the graduate spring show, featuring new work by first year MFAs and PhDs developed in studio this past semester. 

Featuring: Sarah Finn, Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, Ali Shariq Jamali, Caroline Liffmann, Jess MacCormack, Chelsea MacKay, Avideh Saadatpajouh, Alexis Chivir-ter Tsegba.


  • 7:00 PM – Avideh Saadatpajouh
  • 7:45 PM – Sarah Finn
  • 8:30 PM – Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg
  • 9:15 PM – Caroline Liffmann

Following the performances, there will be dancing and dj sets by Taryn Walker and Shervin Zarkalam.  

*Symptoms include: disillusionment; listlessness, excessive use of words like "performative", "embodied", "cohort" etc; crying; uncontrollable laughter; aversion to the word "crit"; general confusion; imposter syndrome; migraines; hot flashes; sleeplessness; disbelief; munchies; diminished sense of self and/or overinflated sense of self; eye styes; tendency to reconsider life choices.  

The School for the Contemporary Arts recognizes that we are on the unceded and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Building and Accessibility Information

SCA''s studios are located on the third floor of 611 Alexander Avenue. There are two entrances, one with stairs, and one next to an elevator. We will have volunteer ushers at both entrances. The entrance that is wheelchair accessible is the main entrance on the East side of the building, beside a tall, blue tower. The elevator is located left of the entrance inside. The other entrance has SCA's sign above the doors, and is stairs only. Should you have questions about accessibility or require additional information, please email Andrew Curtis.

Works & Artists

Sarah Finn: Is this the right thing to be doing?

Is this the right thing to be doing? is a lecture-performance, myco-fantasy, and love story — with wearable sculpture, live-feed video and miniatures. 


  • Tarp Tailor + Mush Supervisor:Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg
  • Technical Dreammaker + OG Dane: Avideh Saadatpajouh
  • Lightsaver/ lifesaver: Wlad Woyno 
  • Mush Architecture Consultant + Morel support: Taryn Walker
  • Stage Manager/Dane the Tech Guy: Maddie Woodley

Big gratitude: Nadia Shihab, Miwa Matreyek, Justine Chambers, Andrew Curtis, Alex Caprara,Taha Nejad, Taryn Walker, Samira Banihashemi, Judee Burr, Liz Oakley, Niloufar Samadi, Ben Rogalsky, Avideh Saadatpajouh, Caroline Liffman, Jess MacCormack, Chelsea MacKay, Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, and Ali Shariq Jamali.


Sarah Finn (she/they) is a multimedia artist working in performance and film. Her work explores mythic narratives set in post-industrial wastelands, to investigate humanity’s spiritual and ethical unknowns. Using surreal storytelling, physical performance, video and puppetry, they co-create worlds where queer and beyond-human futures emerge from modern ruins. Her multimedia performances and films have been presented at festivals internationally and various venues in New York. She trained at Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France and is currently pursuing her MFA at School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. | @sarah.k.finn

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg: Research


  • Outside eyes: Caroline Liffmann, Sarah Finn, Daisy Thompson, Justine A Chambers
  • Costume by: Jasper Friedenberg Stewart
  • Additional emotional labour supplied by Marc Stewart

Thank you to Nadia Shihab, Ryan Tacata, Elissa Hanson, Jess MacCormack, Chelsea MacKay, Avideh Saadatpajouh, Alexis Chivir-ter Tsgeba, Ali Shariq Jamali, Andrew Curtis, Ben Rogalsky


Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg is an award-winning creator, performer, choreographer, director, writer, and artistic director of Tara Cheyenne Performance, working across disciplines in film, dance, theatre, and experimentalperformance. With a string of celebrated solo shows to her credit, multidisciplinary collaborations, commissions and boundary bending ensemble creations, Tara's work is celebrated both nationally and internationally. (Highlights: DanceBase/Edinburgh, South Bank Centre/London, On the Boards/Seattle USA, High Performance Rodeo/Calgary, etc.).

Ali Shariq Jamali: Everything is always doing something

“Everything is always doing something” is a part of an ongoing research project grounded on philosophical inquiries of new materialism and phenomenological approaches.

In our daily lives, we encounter a myriad of material forms—from beds and cars to sidewalks and even piles of trash. As humans, we share our world with these objects, which are not only composed of matter like us but also shape our experiences and identities. Despite their perceived inertness, objects play a significant role in perpetuating cultural, social, and individual meanings. We're not separate from material vitality; instead, we're intertwined with objects. Knappett suggests that objects are intertwined with us as biological, psychological, and social beings. Jame, in "The Vitality of Objects," explains Bollas' concept of the aleatory object, which suggests that objects arrive unexpectedly and evoke new experiences, aligning with our desires and leading to self-discovery. The project involves sourcing everyday objects from different city locations—some found, others bought. These objects are then used to create installations through metaphorical narratives. A key aspect of this creative process involves reimagining the functionality of these objects, thereby subverting their conventional use and inviting viewers to engage with them in novel ways.


Ali Shariq Jamali is a multidisciplinary visual artist, whose work spans various mediums including installations, sculpture, multimedia, drawings, text, videos, and photography  

Ali Shariq's work has been exhibited extensively at various private and public art institutions, including a site-specific 'The Factory Project' at Chawla Industries in 2022, ‘And the story goes on’ at Alhamra Art Gallery in 2022, 'Flower of a Blue Flame' exhibition at Canvas Gallery curated by Quddus Mirza in 2021, and 'Karachi ArtFest' at Sambara Art Gallery in 2021. He was also a researcher and part of the conceptual development team EART: A Manifesto of Possibilities a presentation by Rashid Rana at the Manchester International Festival in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Ali Shariq has also been the Artist in Residence for VASL Artists' Association Taza Tareen 13 Residency in Karachi. Alongside maintaining a diverse studio practice, he has also served as visiting faculty at various art institutions.

Ali Shariq completed his BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2018. He then went on to pursue and complete his MA in Art and Design Studies from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan in 2021. Currently, he is pursuing PhD in Contemporary Arts under the supervision of Professor Judy Radul at The School for Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University | @ali.shariq.jamali

Caroline Liffmann: 3 Sketches from the Garden of Lost Impulses

Outside eye: Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

Invisible T.V. Head: Billy Marchenski

Thank you thank you thank you Julia Carr, Billy Marchenski, Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, Sarah Finn, Avideh Saadatpajouh, Jess MacCormack, Chelsea MacKay, Alexis Chivir-ter Tsegba, Ali Shariq Jamali, Nadia Shihab, Peter Dickinson, Ryan Tacata, James Long, Andrew Curtis, Stefan Smulovitz, Corbin Salekan, Kyla Gardiner, Maddy Woodley, Alana Gerecke, Sophia Wolfe, Taha Nejad, Emily Neumann, Elissa Hanson, Julie Hammond, Naomi Brand, Jody Kramer, Jenny Jaeckel, Carolina Bergonzoni, Sheron Liffmann, Arthur Liffmann, and Buddy Pearlman.


Caroline Liffmann is a performance maker, choreographer and educator with a home base in contemporary dance. Her work is influenced by over 20 years of dance practice and performance, as well as training in facilitation, conflict transformation and trauma-informed practice. Guided by relationships and a sense of play, Caroline is interested in absurdity, magical realism, humour and delight. Her approach is collaborative, grounded in improvisation, and often embraces a DIY ethos, creating for the stage, the screen, outdoors and neighborhood spaces. Caroline bridges her creation and facilitation practices through community-engaged dance, and has worked extensively as a dance, arts and museum educator with children, youth and families. Originally from the prairies, Caroline lives and works on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.


CHILD MASK DEATH HOOD is an installation of a cardboard fort featuring a series of AI-generated portraits and videos that reflect a colourful yet nightmarish speculative universe. At once part animal and part clown, the melting faces and limbs reveal altered states of consciousness merging joy with horror. Many of the figures are in childlike scenes – a naive starry night, a snowy mountain top or a storybook rainbow. Created in Midjourney and Runway these images and videos offer an uncanny narrative of terrifying connections and chaotic beauty that reflect the artist's own childhood trauma. With fragile figurines, puppets and mask motifs, the images render the many layers of identity that form around a real-life abusive leader or iteration thereof.

As a small child, dissociation was MacCormack's only means of survival, but this left them with a fractured and hidden reality as an adult. Various inner ‘parts’ emerged to deal with ongoing sexual abuse, and over time this left them struggling with depression, anxiety, disembodiment and self-harm. These works portray the shards of self in an otherworldly, dark emotional landscape through a fairground palette of portraits, fragmented bodies and animal hybrid figures.

Mask motifs in the chiasmus CHILD MASK DEATH HOOD pieces highlight a search for self and authenticity when one has been forced to play various roles to survive; the desire to be seen and accepted, to be recognized as human when one’s humanity has been stripped away; to make certain intentional liberatory choices after decades of shame holding sway for too long. The polysemic nature of masks as protecting the identities of witness, and their use in play or carnival is a disjunctive tool akin to Nicholas De Villiers notion of queer opacity. These works also illustrate the strength and resilience of survival and how art can play a role in healing by making the invisible visible, or "unsecret", a term synonymous with the uncanny, or unheimlich.  

Queer and absurd, this work invites you into MacCormack's multifarious, haptic, audacious, and quasi-magical imaginary world(s).


Jess MacCormack is a queer, mad artist and white settler working on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Their art practice engages with the intersection of institutional violence and the socio-political reality of personal trauma. Working with communities and individuals affected by stigma and oppression, MacCormack uses cultural platforms and distribution networks to facilitate collaborations which position art as a tool to engender personal and political agency. Working in various mediums – graphic novels, digital art, performance, installation, video and community art – their work explores queer politics, embodiment and criminalization.

Jess Mac’s digital art has been shared through various platforms, such as Artforum International, Hyperallergic, Canadian Art, VICE Creator’s project, White Hot Contemporary Art, Bitch Magazine, PAPER Magazine and Art F City. Their animations have been screened internationally at festivals such as the Ottawa International Animation Festival, MIX-26 the New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, LA Film Fest at UCLA, Transcreen Amsterdam Transgender Film Festival, Inside Out Film and Video Festival (Toronto) and Mix Brazil Film Festival of Sexual Diversity (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, BR). Their interdisciplinary practice has been supported and exhibited by the Academie der Künste der Welte (Cologne, Germany), arbyte (London, UK), articule (Montréal, Canada), Western Front (Vancouver, Canada) and many other local and international galleries.

They have an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus University (2008) and were an Assistant Professor of Studio Arts at Concordia University (2010-2013). Jess is currently an instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and is working towards their PhD in Contemporary Art at Simon Fraser University. | @dissociative_dreams

Chelsea MacKay: Remnants of the Rave  

Remnants of the Rave is a multi-medium installation that endeavors to evoke nostalgia for a cherished era of 90s rave culture. The video "Mitsubishi's Made Me Hardcore" is a four-minute and twenty-second loop that transport’s the viewer to the dancefloor by using clips of found footage chosen for the intimate angles from which they are shot. Stitched clips of individual dancers pulsate across the screen, their movements choreographed to the rhythm of an original score composed by Marty Ndlovu. The track utilizes a sample of a hand drum as well as spaced-out synth to create a hypnotic sound. The video is projected on a screen that references the process of animal hide tanning. The construction mirrors the initial steps in crafting a hand drum, the very drum that is sampled in the musical score. Through manipulation of speed and cross-fading techniques, the video captures the essence of communal dance while also paying homage to Mark Leckey's seminal work, "Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore." By summoning memories of collective experience, the installation becomes a portal to a time when dance was a language of unity and celebration.

Along with the video installation is a series of sculptural embodiments of some foundational tools of electronic music creation or listening. Encapsulated within forms reminiscent of hand drums are iconic analog instruments, a Walkman, and a rubberized Roland 707. These devices find new life as they are immortalized as objets d'art. The sculptures celebrate technological innovation and underscore the intrinsic unity in humanity's timeless fascination with rhythm and beat. The three paintings all serve as pictorial evidence of the remnants. The first is an interior portrait of a warehouse space at the end of the night, the other two are meant to capture the sensation of light on the dancefloor during heightened moments.


Chelsea MacKay has a BDes in Industrial Design from Emily Carr University and is currently an MFA candidate at the SFU School of Contemporary Arts. She is an interdisciplinary artist of Anishinaabe and European descent residing and working in the traditional lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Inspired by the intersection of industrial design, painting, and sculpture she creates work that draws from fantasy, psychedelia, pop culture, and surrealism, offering a diverse expression of artistic vision. Whether through paintings or sculptures, she invites viewers on an immersive journey where colors, shapes, and materials intertwine to convey the intricacies of human connection.

Avideh Saadatpajouh: Without The Centre, There Is No Margin

Within the layers of this room, a sanctuary unfolds. The performer embarks on a journey to unearth their grounding, seeking a harmonious connection between the inner cadence and the symphony of external signals.

The gaze becomes an intimate exchange with objects that bear the weight of memories, reflecting the utopian body—a body liberated from societal constraints. In the mirror, the performer witnesses a self-fragmented—one part sensing, the other thinking.

The performer navigates blindfolded, exploring tangible and intangible elements. The audience's collective breathing becomes a guiding force—a shared analogue system.

Transforming into a finger, the performer navigates an unseen realm accompanied by the projection of a digitized universe. The digital gaze, a relentless force, sends Morse code signals, hinting at a cry for help.

Amidst projection surfaces and digital distractions, the performer steps into the unknown—a realm that beckons with curiosity.

The performer presses the button, revealing a multitude of projected selves. 

The multiplicity and power of people, the utopian body realized in the dance between the tangible and the digital.

The performer walks out of the room, leaving behind the transformed space.


Avideh Saadatpajouh is a multimedia artist and design activist exploring techno-art's endless possibilities. Her motto: Explore, Experience, Enhance. Born on the west side of Asia, based on the east side, and studying on the west side of Canada, she is a citizen of nature. Her explorations are at the intersection of performance art and technology, focusing on the impact of the Human-Centric worldview on surrounding environments and other habitats. Drawing on her collective knowledge of new media art, architecture, and industrial design, she explores design in digital spaces, internet art practices, performance art, and interactive installations. | Instagram

Alexis Chivir-ter Tsgeba: An ode to the things left behind  

Through a process of physical and digital foraging, extraction and repurposing, these works explore the tensions between religion and traditional spiritual practices in relation to queer bodies and the consequences of such tensions that often result in physical, emotional or spiritual displacement, death and transformation of and within such bodies. Inspired by parables, proverbs, dreams, myths and hymns, the installation straddles a world between real and surreal, fantasy and nightmares in an attempt to highlight the complexities of the lived experience of people navigating multiple identities on different planes.  

Immense gratitude to Andrew Curtis, Nadia Shihab, Kathy Slade, Miwa Matreyek, Samira Banihashemi, Chris Outten, Joshua Segun-Lean, Saan Tsegba, Avideh Saadatpajouh, Sarah Finn, Caroline Liffman, Jess MacCormack, Chelsea MacKay, Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, Ali Shariq Jamali.


Alexis Chivir-ter Tsegba (she/they) is a visual artist whose practice is grounded in digital collage and illustration while currently expanding towards video and installation. Her work directly engages subjects such as Afro-futurism, queerness and gender expression, religion, spirituality and the exploration of the inner self. Alexis is drawn to art forms that are characterized by experimentation and synthesis wary of borders limits and fixed genres. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Law and a Masters degree in Creative and Media Enterprises. She was the recipient of the 2022 runner-up prize for Best in Illustrated Journalism by the Victoria and Albert Illustration Awards and her works have been shown in galleries in the UK, U.S., Germany, South Africa and Nigeria. 


April 18, 2024