Shadowboxing builds on Abdi Osman’s ongoing research surrounding the gaps between experiences and representations of queer cruising, space-making, and place-making in the city of Toronto. A projection of lush green park environments documented by Osman from sites across the city appears. Osman’s holdings and records of queer, locational fortitude speak to the countless compounded sites around us where bodies have forged connections in time and space in spite of the continued realities of homophobia, racism, and white supremacy that exist in Toronto, and beyond. The projection is augmented by an online audio work that features oral histories about cruising from the perspectives and experiences of Black, queer, and trans community members, as recorded by the artist in the city.
Through the metaphor of shadowboxing as a relational, defensive, and precarious state, the installation invites viewers to consider some of the shifting conditions in which queer connection takes place. In this way, shadows offer and represent radical spaces, involving environmental and bodily negotiations that are always site-specific.
by Abdi Osman Canada 2016 English 47’ Colour


Director Abdi Osman
Cinematography Abdi Osman
Editing Abdi Osman
Sound Abdi Osman
Producer Abdi Osman

Produced by

Abdi Osman

Abdi Osman

Abdi Osman is a Somali-Canadian multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on questions of black masculinity as it intersects with Muslim and queer identities. His work has been exhibited at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and the National Museum of Kenya among others. Osman holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University and a BA in African Studies from the University of Toronto. He has held fellowships and participated in artist residencies in Canada, Germany, the U.S. and currently at the Mark Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto.


2010 Trans-Formation(s): A Portrait; 4 min. 2012 Labeeb; 4 min. 2013 Black Queer Affection; 16 min. 2014 A Somali Perspective: Language as a tool of resistance; 10 min. 2017 Bajan Trans: new womanhoods from Barbados; 10 min. 2018 Gardens of the Mediterranean; 14 min. 2021 Shadowboxing

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022