Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Darr: 37 Conversations


Opening: Saturday, September 11, 2004, 4-9pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, September 12, 2pm
Curated by Alice Ming Wai Jim
In conjunction with SWARM, September 9-11, 2004, and New Forms Festival, October 14-28, 2004


Samina Mansuri’s solo exhibition “DARR: 37 Conversations” (darr, meaning “fear” in Urdu) is a timely inquiry into the discourse of fear on the third anniversary of 9-11. It presents Mansuri’s first feature-length video comprised of 37 conversations filmed during the IntraNation artist residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2004. The work documents the participants’ responses to fear in relation to nationalism, globalization, and cultural identity. Many of the speakers, cultural activists, politically-engaged artists and writers, critique the construction of fear in society, speaking to the problems of representation that underlie it and implications for understanding social realities.

A basic human emotion, fear is pervasive today in popular culture, public discourse and the news media. “DARR” explores today’s culture of fear not only as a symbolic construction generated by theoretical discussions, the public sphere, and the media’s use of “fear frames,” but also as a real experience of everyday life. The deliberate candid dialogues in real-time, overlays of quiet scenic settings, artists’ projects and various shot types challenge conventional media formats. In effect, “DARR” is as much about the media, as it is made possible through its use. In exploring the many faces of fear, it offers insights into the expectation of danger central to a “risk society” and potential courses of action within.

Born in Pakistan, Samina Mansuri recently immigrated to Canada and is currently residing in Toronto. She is an internationally recognized artist and art educator. Mansuri’s works incorporate painting, drawing, sculpture and mixed media works. She began her studies in Pakistan then moved to New York in 1982, where she obtained her BFA from Pratt Institute and subsequently studied at the New York Studio School. In 1990, she returned to Pakistan to take up a teaching position at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. For the past twelve years, Mansuri has exhibited her work internationally in important curated shows, including “Pakistan – Another Vision: 50 Years of Painting and Sculpture” (UK 2000), “Open Wounds” (New Delhi, India 1997), and “An Intelligent Rebellion: Women Artists of Pakistan” (UK 1995). She has organized and co-curated exhibitions in Karachi and is a founding member of the VASL International Artists Workshop, under the umbrella of the Triangle Arts Trust (a worldwide network of workshops organized by artists for artists). Mansuri has participated in residencies at Gasworks in London in 1999 and, most recently, the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta in 2004.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with texts by Samina Mansuri, Ashok Mathur and Alice Ming Wai Jim. The artist thanks the participants and support from the IntraNation residency program.

Centre A gratefully acknowledges the generous support of its patrons, sponsors, members, partners, private foundations, and government funding agencies, including the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Art Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs.