Gallery 44 will host a panel with artist Zinnia Naqvi, curator Magdalyn Asimakis and critics, Merray Gerges, and Yaniya Lee to discuss what role writing plays in their respective practices. Each panelist comes from a different stream in the visual arts as critic, artist and curator though their roles often overlap in the critical juncture of an exhibition. Moderated by Nasrin Himada, the discussion will explore how each panelist keeps a writing practice in relation to their other work, touching on the importance of reading, rest, finding the language to frame their ideas, making pitches and putting their work out in the public. The panel is geared towards emerging artists, curators and writers who are hoping to learn about embedding writing into their work and developing their own practice. There will be a Q&A period during the panel to invite audience members to engage with the panelists and ask questions.
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Nasrin Himada is a Palestinian curator and writer. Living in Kingston, Ontario on Anishnaabe and Haudenosuanee Territory, they are Associate Curator at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.
Magdalyn Asimakis is a curator and writer based in Toronto. Her practice explores lived experience in relation to Western display practices and methods of knowing, taking into account embodied knowledge, folklore, spirituality, and generational trauma. She has organized exhibitions and programming in Toronto and New York, and co-founded the roving project space and curatorial collective ma ma in 2018. She is a contributor to the Brooklyn Rail and Art Papers, and has contributed essays to publications by the New Museum, SFMoMA, and the AGO. She co-authored the books That I am Reading Backwards and Into for a Purpose, To Go On: (Whitney Museum of American Art) and A Big Heritage with a Glorious Past (Critical Distance Centre for Curators, forthcoming).
Merray Gerges studied art history at NSCAD and journalism at King’s University in Halifax, where she co-founded and co-edited CRIT, a free biannual criticism publication. Her work has tended to pay more attention to art’s contexts rather than its contents, and she held various editorial positions at Canadian Art from 2016 to 2019. As the inaugural 2019-2020 editorial fellow at C Magazine, she conceptualized a series of themed issues addressing institutional change post–Canada 150, and commissioned their features. She is currently working on a new body of essays as an MFA candidate in narrative nonfiction at NYU's journalism school.
Zinnia Naqvi is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal and Tkaronto/Toronto. Her work examines issues of colonialism, cultural translation, language, and gender through the use of photography, video, writing, and archival material. Recent works have included archival and re-staged images, experimental documentary films, video installations, graphic design, and elaborate still-lives. Her works often invite the viewer to question her process and working methods. Naqvi’s work has been shown across Canada and internationally. She received an honourable mention at the 2017 Karachi Biennale in Pakistan, and is a recipient of the 2019 New Generation Photography Award organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada. She is member of EMILIA-AMALIA Working Group, an intergenerational feminist collective. Naqvi earned a BFA in Photography Studies from X University and an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University.
Yaniya Lee's writing, research and collaboration focus on the ethics of aesthetics. She has written about art for Art in America, Vogue, Flash, FADER, Vulture, VICE Motherboard, C Magazine and Chatelaine. In the fall of 2020, Lee and curator Denise Ryner guest-edited Chroma, a special issue of Canadian Art magazine dedicated to black artists and black art histories. This spring, co-presented by Cassandra Press and the Women's Center for Creative Work, Lee and critic Jessica Lynne organized the workshop Song. Prayer. Scream. A praxis of looking. As the 2019-2020 Researcher-in-Residence at Vtape, Lee organized the “Fractured Horizon” video program and wrote the essay “Glitch and Figure: representation and refusal in the videos of Buseje Bailey and ariella tai.” She is currently a 2020- 2021 research fellow at Artexte, Montreal, where she is working on the project “Wayside Archive.” Lee is a Ph.D. student in Gender Studies at Queen’s University and she teaches Art Criticism at the University of Toronto. She was Features Editor at Canadian Art magazine from 2017-2021, and she joined Archive Books’ editorial team this past spring.
In Fall 2018, The Power Plant and Gallery 44 teamed up with seven other contemporary visual art and film organizations in Toronto for a two-year initiative, called HORIZON, funded with an Open Door grant from the Toronto Arts Council. During the first phase, the nine partner organizations conducted focus groups and town halls to gather information about the needs of emerging and established artists in and around Toronto. Now into the second phase, the organizations are developing and offering programs that address some of the artists’ needs.