Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Ominous Chaos

Ominous Chaos

April 8 – June 3, 2023

Curated by Bahar Mohazabnia

Current Gallery Hours:

Wednesday to Saturday, 12 PM – 6 PM*

*Subject to change as per COVID-19-related protocols. Face masks or face coverings are recommended. 

Ominous Chaos looks at the peculiar, the uncanny and the grotesque through the works of Homa Khosravi and Marzieh Mosavarzadeh. Approaching the subject with levity, the exhibition interrogates mechanisms of control placed on the body. The body is malleable, constantly shifting, rearranging and reconstructing: it is a vessel of labor and memory. Situating the body through whimsical comicality, this exhibition asks: do these notions become suspended within the grotesque? Is the notion of chance a mediator in the unresolved questions of bodily autonomy and docility?

Using a variety of mediums to negate de-skilling, Khosravi and Mosavarzadeh emphasize labor and process in their practices: the hand of the artist is present. With cheeky playfulness, Khosravi’s work placates a sense of delicate surrealism through a series of paintings, illustrations, sculpture and collage. Mosavarzadeh contemplates potentialities and constraints in the relationship between language and the body, using printmaking as a means of repetition and decay. Ominous Chaos conveys a relationship between the humorous and menacing, illuminating possibilities in this implausible duo. 

Khosravi’s laborious mediums work in tandem, highlighting skill and ornamentality. Khosravi’s Bedtime Stories is a deconstructed soft sculpture consisting of multiple pillow-objects, hand sewn by the artist. At first appearing as abstract, the details of work reveal phallic-like body parts using soft, dainty material. In contrast to the phallic are abstract organic shapes that reiterate elements of fanciful playfulness. In a short video accompanying the work, the audience is provided a glimpse into the sculpture’s process of creation over a period of two months in the artist’s bedroom. Khosravi narrates stories as the sculpture lays on her bed, static: the creature’s slow birth as an autonomous being. 

In Mosavarzadeh’s work, tangible objects are made through repetition and labor work that is inherent to the printmaking process. In a visual-text series, Mosavarzadeh engages with the space between abstract and concrete words related to bodies. The abstract words refer to concepts, ideas, and theories that cannot be directly experienced through our senses, while concrete words signify things that are tangible, real and objective. In Mosavarzadeh’s Indexing Bodies: Remaining Fragments, through intentional yet experimental placement of words, the audience is asked to consider how their understandings of concepts such as shaping, molding, and reverberating enable imagery in relation to the body, and how they may fall short in doing so.

Artist Biography

Homa Khosravi, (b. Tehran, Iran) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver. She received her MFA from Simon Fraser University and BFA in Painting from the Tehran University of Art. Her work touches on surrealism, abstraction and worldbuilding with various “more than human” creatures through a multitude of mediums, including painting, video and sculpture installation. Khosravi explores the human body and its connection to memory, fantasy and the uncanny, highlighting a foundation of humor found within. Khosravi investigates experiences of her body and mind in relation to her environment, vis à vis the process of making the artworks, the choice of colours, and materiality within the installation.

Marzieh Mosavarzadeh is a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at The University of British Columbia, Canada, specializing in art education. Her arts-based educational research explores artful, pedagogical, and speculative ways of making-place through the artistic practices of walking, image-making, and writing. She holds both her MFA and BFA in visual arts. Marzieh is grateful to live and work on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples– Squamish, Tsleil- Waututh, and Musqueam Nations.


Curator Biography

Bahar Mohazabnia is an Iranian/Canadian art historian, cultural worker and curator based in Vancouver, the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil- Waututh, and Musqueam Nations. Mohazabnia is currently an MA candidate in the department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory at the University of British Columbia and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History with a minor in Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies from the same institution. Mohazabnia is the recipient of the UBC Faculty of Arts Graduate Award, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Award and the Helen Belkin Memorial Scholarship, amongst others. Mohazabnia has held the positions of Curatorial Assistant at Griffin Art Projects, Exhibitions Assistant at AHVA Gallery and is currently a Public Programs Assistant at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.

Public Programming

Reading Group

Join Bahar Mohazabnia for a reading and discussion of three poems by the Iranian filmmaker, poet and artist Forough Farrokhzadeh: Sin, Bathing and Wind Up Doll.  As a pioneer of Iranian feminism, Farrokhzadeh’s poetry situates this exhibition through a didactic lens: the politics of being an Iranian woman today. 

You can find the link to the poems, HERE.


No sign-ups required!


When: April 15, 2023

Time: 1 PM

Where: Centre A Reading Room 

Artists Talk/Curator’s Tour

Exhibition Pamphlet 

Centre A would like to acknowledge the generous support of Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, and Vancouver City Council for the realization of this exhibition.










Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair and walker accessible. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or [email protected].

Centre A is situated on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We honour, respect, and give thanks to our hosts.