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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
24 Jul 20until3 Jan 21

Madiha Aijaz

Memorial for the lost pages

Alvin Balkind Gallery and offsite at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station

A photograph of a train employee in a train vestibule. They wear a green uniform with gold insignia and a grey wool hat. They look down, away from the camera, while light from a window glows behind.

Madiha Aijaz, A Railway Pilgrimage in Pakistan (detail), 2014.

Memorial for the lost pages presents the intimate videos and photographs of Madiha Aijaz, bringing together the artist’s works in Canada for the first time. Aijaz was based in Karachi, Pakistan, and her work is as complex and layered as the city in which she lived, addressing issues of language and identity, longing and loss, public space and colonial legacies. Her videos explore Karachi’s historic and mostly deserted public libraries. Alongside these works are a series of photographs that examine tensions between awaking desire and admissible sexuality in, as Aijaz described, “contested, often fractured landscapes.” Offsite at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, another photographic series describes the country’s most famous rail line, the Khyber Mail. Together, Aijaz’s photographs and videos call attention to shared spaces that are seemingly peripheral to contemporary life. They languish from a neglect that threatens their continued existence. Yet, as the artist’s steadfast and often tender camerawork suggests, these spaces persist.

Co-curated by Kimberly Phillips and Zarmeene Shah

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival. Work at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program, InTransit BC.


Madiha Aijaz was a filmmaker and photographer based in Karachi, Pakistan. Her book on Hindu temples, Call to Conscience, was published in 2014. Recent exhibitions include the Karachi Biennale, Pakistan (2017); 10th International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, India (2017); IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival, New Delhi (2015); and Urban Flux Film Festival, Johannesburg (2012). Aijaz was an Assistant Professor at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and received an MFA in Photography from Parsons with a Fulbright Scholarship.

Zarmeene Shah is an independent curator and critic currently based in Karachi, Pakistan. Focusing on contemporary art and continental and semiotic theory, she is particularly interested in new media, the body, and the political in art. Shah attained an undergraduate degree in Fine Art from the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi, followed by an MA in Critical & Curatorial Studies from Columbia University as a Fulbright Scholar (2010). She was Curator-at-Large for the Karachi Biennale in 2017, and also currently serves as Head of the Liberal Arts Program at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture.