A black and white headshot of the artist, Nicholas Aiden


B. 1987

Winnipeg, MB

Something Like Jangoan (2018-20)

Petroleum Jelly and Plastic Wrap Self Portrait #1 (2018)
C-print, 16” x 20”

Petroleum Jelly and Plastic Wrap Self Portrait #2 (2018)
C-print, 16” x 20”

Want (2018)
C-print, 16” x 20”

Don’t (2018)
C-print, 16” x 20”

Dual (2018)
C-print, 16” x 20”

If Not This, Then What?
by Dunja Kovacevic

The title Something Like Jangoan is Michelle Panting’s best attempt to capture an expression in Plattdeutsch, meaning “one who is against others,” that her mother once used to describe her.

Expressions like this one, from a fading family tongue, signal difference early, before other words take shape in mouths and imaginations. In its ambiguity, it manages to evoke the multiplicity of the word that would follow: queer. At the intersection of both identifiers is a tension between an oppositional force (one against) and an intimate longing (against an/other).

The triptych, “I want,” “Don’t,” and “Dual,” wrestles with this generative and open-ended tension, locating it within and throughout the body, in gestures that can only be described as queer. Here, the body runs up against barriers, including its own doubled image, physical discomfort, and outstretched extremities. The images invite then startle, their allure is found in abjection.

Here, queerness is a lens and a sensibility, directed as much against oppressive structures that exclude so many as towards a future not-yet-here that might invite through contradiction. To be against what is already exclusive is then not a negation, but an opening, asking: if not this, then what? The question is probing, like a camera lens or human touch itself and driven by the same longing. It grows: and when will it arrive?

It is reaching, hopeful, forming at the horizon, just beyond the frame. Then it is there, glimmering in the reflected sunset in her eyes.


Michelle Panting is a lens-based artist living in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Treaty 1 Lands. Rooted in photography, Michelle’s practice extends the medium to material explorations of installation and sculpture, and troubles themes of memory, identity, and perception. Michelle graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts and Education in 2010, and while working as a teacher, she ran the culture blog FULL from 2013–2018. She left public education after seven years to explore her identity as a queer artist. Michelle’s arts practice is tethered to her queerness, pursuing the question, “How might queerness aid in developing a politic for a more just society and healthier planet?” A 2018 graduate of the Cartae Open School program at aceartinc., Michelle has exhibited in Canadian galleries and businesses.

Find more info about Michelle’s work on her website, and follow her on Instagram here.

Dunja Kovačević is a writer, editor, and community worker situated in Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory. A queer femme and immigrant settler born in the Former Yugoslavia, her work circles questions of belonging, disorientation, and archival bodies. She holds an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Winnipeg and is currently working towards an MA in Family and Marriage Therapy. Her work appears sporadically in publications and exhibitions, such as jeunesse: young people, texts, cultures; Border Crossings and Martha Street Journal.


Each artist was invited to choose a writer to respond to their work included in the exhibition, or in a few cases, the curator suggested a writer for them. All of these collected essays can be downloaded as a PDF document here.