Please note that this exhibition is postponed until further notice to ensure the health and safety of our community and to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
Memorial for the lost pages presents the intimate video and photographic work of Madiha Aijaz in Canada for the first time. Aijaz, who died unexpectedly last year, was an award-winning Pakistani artist whose work considered questions of privacy and pleasure, and often studied public spaces that appear peripheral to contemporary life, but which by tenacity or chance continue to survive. The exhibition draws together a suite of Aijaz’s most recent still and moving works, including the meditative video projects These Silences Are All the Words (2018) and Memorial for the lost pages (2018), which explore the public libraries of Karachi—quietly crumbling repositories of traditional knowledge—against the backdrop of the rapidly changing city. Positioned alongside these videos, which are defined by Aijaz’s characteristic long, lingering camerawork, is a selection of photographs from the series Death sentence in two languages (2016), first commissioned for the Poets Translating Poets Festival by the Goethe Institutes in South Asia. Inspired by a poem of the same title by contemporary Urdu poet Afzal Ahmed Syed, Aijaz’s images examine longing and loss, the tension of admissible sexuality, and the awakening of desire in contested, often fractured sites. Yaletown–Roundhouse Canada Line Station will host a series of enlarged images from A Railway Pilgrimage in Pakistan (2014), a collaboration Aijaz embarked on with the late New York-based Pakistani writer Annie Khan to describe the country’s most famous (if slightly beleaguered) rail line, the Khyber Mail. Aijaz’s rich, contemplative pictures offer complex meditations on language, urban space, and the legacies of colonialism.