Small House depicts the interior of a 1960s Toronto home that was abandoned for five years prior to its sale. The house, located in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood which once belonged to a Rabbi and his family, was listed for sale in original condition. Leala Hewak returned to photograph the house four times as its contents were gradually removed, including for the last time on the day prior to closing the sale. For Hewak, the home and its contents' continued existence in its original layout sits at the crack between preservationism and kitsch. This project coinciding with the agoraphobia of the Covid pandemic, marked a period of the artist turning inward in their practice and reflecting on what “home” or the interior might represent.
Leala Hewak is a Toronto-based digital artist. After a joint BFA from York University and University of Toronto, she attended law school, continuing to practise art throughout her law career. In 2004, she founded Cream Gallery in Winnipeg. In 2017, Hewak obtained an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. The recipient of multiple Ontario Arts Council/Canada Council awards, her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows. In 2019 her large-scale collage installation, CLONE was selected as a featured exhibit in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. She is a member of Toronto’s PATCH project. Her book works are available at Swipe and Art Metropole in Toronto and The Winnipeg Art Gallery and PlugIN ICA in Winnipeg. Her practise includes commissions and public art and she has mounted two outdoor installations in Toronto since 2020, Secret Fountains and DENIZENS. Her works will be featured on construction hoarding in Spring 2022 at Yonge and Davisville in Toronto. LOCH NESS, a large-scale public artwork will be installed in June 2022 at Saint John International Airport, New Brunswick, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.