fORUM: let it matter what we call a thing

13 January 2022 - 9 February 2022

Nasrin Himada leads a response under Mercer Union’s fORUM program, that extends on the themes of Onyeka Igwe’s exhibition, THE REAL STORY IS WHAT’S IN THAT ROOM. In a series of events, Himada invites artists and cultural practitioners to consider Igwe’s propositions, with particular attention to a so-called archive (2020)—the artist’s new film exploring the sense and material trace of colonial presences within archival architectures. In her exhibition, the artist tends to the unrecorded, catalogued, and yet-to-be uncovered stories of these sites, conjuring their many hauntings to render a study of the pages, film reels, rooms, and structures still occupied by the shadows of empire. The archive, the image, the archive’s image: what is imagined here troubles the ways in which memory is kept, both as record and as possession, and the bearing this has on its retelling.  

The archive, for some of us, is signified by loss, destruction, and decay, or theft—its contents taken, disappeared, stolen, never to be seen again. As a series of events and conversations, this program takes up the search for otherworlds, other formations, and other conditions, through reminders in Igwe’s work for the possibility of an archive that never disappearsis never lost. Here, archival formations do not adhere to linear time, here, they are constellations bound to the love we have for our people, our stories, and our lands. Together we give language to this process, the visions and the impulses that drive us towards a search, and those that compel us with such obsessions: together we find other ways to remember, to recall.  

The title of this program references the poem Look written by Solmaz Sharif. (Look, Graywolf Press, 2016)

View recordings of each program at the links below.


13 January

13 January 2022, 7pm EST
Nadia Kurd, Anique Jordan, and Paul Seesequasis

19 January

19 January 2022, 2pm EST
Basel Abbas, Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Onyeka Igwe, Gelare Khoshgozaran, and Aliya Pabani

9 February

9 February 2022, 2pm EST
Sebastian De Line, Michelle Jacques, Yaniya Lee, and Jocelyn Piirainen

Nasrin Himada is a Palestinian writer and curator currently based in Kingston Ontario, on Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. Their writing on contemporary art has appeared in many national contemporary art publications, including Canadian ArtC MagazineMICE, and Fuse. They have collaborated with film festivals and art institutions in Canada and the US, among them the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Trinity Square Video, Toronto; Fondation PHI pour l’art contemporain, Montreal; and the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal. Nasrin’s recent project For Many Returns typifies their current curatorial interests. The series is designed as a way to explore the possibilities of art writing as a relational act. Since its debut at Dazibao in Montréal, it has toured across Canada, the US and Europe. From 2019–21, Nasrin held the position of curator at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg on Treaty One Territory. Currently, they hold the position of Associate Curator at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston. 

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.