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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street

Vancouver, Canada
Admission always free

Today's hours
12 pm - 6 pm
28 Apr 21·5:30 PM

Curatorial Lecture

with Zarmeene Shah

Online via Zoom

 A portrait photograph of Zarmeene Shah. She has a long brown hair and is wearing a black shirt. She smiles directly at the camera.

In this public lecture, Spatial and Visual Impacts of a Conflicted City: Contemporary Art in Karachi, curator and writer Zarmeene Shah presents a continued investigation into the changing face of the sprawling metropolis of Karachi through codes of overt and covert conflict, as explored through ideas of power and control, geography and territory, right and access. Viewing curating as a series of (interlinked) research-based projects, these concerns have manifested in a broad range of exhibitions and writings, with a sustained focus over some years on the study of the visual and spatial impact of measures of barricading, policing, securitization, militarization, surveillance, and control in the urban context, and how this relates to the position/rights of those that inhabit the city. This investigation branches further into the ways in which conflict manifests in our interaction with the city, its land and its environments, impacting both the human and the non-human. Tracing these concerns through the research-based practices of contemporary Pakistani artists, including Seema Nusrat, Bani Abidi, Seher Naveed, Sohail Zuberi, and Madiha Aijaz, amongst others, and taking as a case study the changing face of the city of Karachi, marked by a history of violence and conflict, Shah’s research unfolds into a larger regional, and then global framework.

This presentation will include a pre-recorded lecture followed by a live Q&A session.

This lecture is presented by the UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory with support from the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Exchange, and in partnership with the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.


Zarmeene Shah is an academic, and an independent curator and writer currently based in Karachi, Pakistan. Focusing on global contemporary art with specialist knowledge of the Global South, Shah’s research-based practice investigates ideas of power and control, geography and territory, rights and access. Amongst other large-scale projects, she has served as Curator at Large of the inaugural Karachi Biennale (2017). She is currently Associate Professor and Head of the Liberal Arts program at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.