fORUM: Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Onyeka Igwe, Gelare Khoshgozaran, and Aliya Pabani

19 January 2022 2pm

fORUM: Nasrin Himada invites Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Onyeka Igwe, Gelare Khoshgozaran, and Aliya Pabani to speak in conversation.

to go to the site of the wreck is borrowed from Basel Abbas’ and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s description of their project, And yet my mask is powerful (2016), which references a poem by Adrienne Rich entitled “Diving Into the Wreck.” Abbas and Abou-Rahme’s use of the phrase asks how we might be equipped, what we would bring with us, how we would survive the encounter.

In bringing together Abbas, Abou-Rahme, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Onyeka Igwe, and Aliya Pabani, the intention is to learn from what they offer about their respective practice. We’ll hear about their process-based methodologies, their intuitive and pragmatic research; and we’ll think alongside them about the role of the artist as witness, and how the creation of an image, in its incipiency, might point us toward an archive to come. We go to the site of the wreck with them to learn of the ways in which making is power, constructing the possibilities of new forms, empower an expression, and that this might bring us that much closer to something felt otherwise amidst all the destruction and unimaginable violence.

This program is the second of three events organized by Himada that extend on the themes of Onyeka Igwe’s exhibition, THE REAL STORY IS WHAT’S IN THAT ROOM


Download the PDF transcript here.


Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahmework together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Their practice is engaged in the intersections between performativity, political imaginaries, the body and virtuality. Their works investigate the political, visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multimedia installations and live sound/image performances. They have exhibited and performed internationally. 

Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between cinema and installation, born and based in London, UK. Through her work, Onyeka is animated by the question—how do we live together?—with particular interest in the ways the sensorial, spatial and non-canonical ways of knowing can provide answers to this question.  

Gelare Khoshgozaran is an undisciplinary artist and writer based in Southern California. Gelare’s work has been exhibited in New York at the New Museum and Queens Museum; in Los Angeles at Hammer Museum; LAXART; Human Resources Los Angeles; and internationally Visitor Welcome Center; Plug In ICA, Winnipeg; Museo Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City. Gelare was the recipient of a Graham Foundation Award (2020), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2019), Art Matters Award (2017) and the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant (2015). Gelare is an editor of MARCH: a journal of art and strategy, with words published in contemptorary (co-founding editor), The Brooklyn RailParkett, X-TRALA Review of BooksAjam Media Collective, and Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value (MIT Press/New Museum, 2020).  

Aliya Pabani is a Toronto-based artist and audio producer. Previously, she was host/producer of Canadaland’s arts and culture podcast, The Imposter. Her recent work has appeared on the BBC, The Barbican, The Toronto Biennial of Art, Images Festival, and in McSweeney’s 64: The Audio Issue (2021). Currently, Pabani organizes with the Encampment Support Network and co-produces their podcast We Are Not the Virus, a documentary series that draws on the four elements—earth, water, wind and fire—to explore different facets of life in Toronto’s encampments through the stories of their residents. The series was named one of Apple Podcasts’ “Best of 2020”. 

fORUM is Mercer Union’s ongoing series of talks, lectures, interviews, screenings and performances. Free as always.

Mercer Union’s 2021-22 Online Engagement Supported by TD Bank Group.