FIELD MEETING Take 6: Thinking Collections

May 30, 2019 - filed under Announcements,Past Events   


January 25 – 26, 2019

Hosted in Collaboration with Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE 

Moe Satt, Face and Fingers, Performance, 2019


Curated by ACAW Director, Leeza Ahmady

The 6th iteration of FIELD MEETING, the exclusive forum for arts professionals, premiered offsite for the first time in Dubai as the conclusion of a constellation of ambitious programs as part of the 13th edition of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) in New York. This year’s conceptual framework explored ‘collections’ and the act of ‘collecting’ beyond the limitations of an art market lens, in an effort to reclaim “the artist as the first collector”. Over 30 leading creative minds from all regions of Asia presented newly commissioned talks, performances, lecture performances, and pop-up installations over two days at Concrete and other spaces of Alserkal Avenue – the MENASA regions foremost art and cultural neighborhood.

For full details, presenter profiles, and video recordings, visit here.


Presenting Artists & Professionals

Amina Ahmed (New York & Tehran), Khadim Ali (Sydney & Kabul), Stephanie Bailey (Hong Kong), Burçak Bingöl (Istanbul), Bingyi (Beijing), Ronghui Chen (Shanghai), Heman Chong (Singapore), Nikhil Chopra (Goa), Lara Day & Pi Li (Hong Kong), Natasha Degen & Sandra Skurvida (New York), Rana Dehghan (Tehran), Alexis Destoop (Sydney & Brussels), Arahmaiani Feisal (Yogyakarta & Tibet), Yuan Gao (Beijing), Nadira Husain (Berlin), Hasanul Isyraf Idris (Penang), Ranbir Kaleka (New Delhi), Naiza Khan (London & Karachi), David Libertson (New York), River Lin (Paris & Taipei), ST Luk-Arakawa & Madeline Gins (New York & Tokyo), Umber Majeed (New York & Lahore), Bahman Mohammadi (Tehran), Francesca Recchia (Kabul), Bassem Saad & Edwin Nasr (Beirut), Sam Samiee (Tehran), Moe Satt (Yangon), Ali Shayesteh (Hamadan), Zolaykha Sherzad (Kabul & New York), Vladislav Sludskiy & Olga Vesselova (Almaty), Haiyang Wang (Beijing), Wong Kit Yi / Ali Wong (Hong Kong & New York), Chongbin Zheng (San Fancisco & Shanghai)

FOCUS KAZAKHSTAN – Thinking Collections: Telling Tales

May 30, 2019 - filed under Announcements,Past Events   

Oct 14 – Nov 30, 2018

Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ

Said Atabekov, Genghis Khan’s Clothes (Coat), 2013, Fabric, cotton, sintepon


Curated by Leeza Ahmady and Vlad Sludisky

Focus Kazakhstan–Thinking Collections: Telling Tales explores the concept of “artists as the first collectors” with an unprecedented survey exhibition of Kazakhstan’s most celebrated art collective, Kyzyl Tractor. Noted for their feverish experimentations in the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s, their work continues to chronicle Kazakhstan’s seismic socio-economic, ecological and political shifts in juxtaposition with their signature conceptual and aesthetic appropriations of the region’s nomadic, Sufi, and Shamanistic philosophical traditions. The exhibition will highlight founding member Moldakul Narymbetov, in addition to staging a monumental new work and live performances by collective members: Said Atabekov, Smail Bayaliyev, Vitaliy Simakov, and Arystanbek Shalbayev.
Focus Kazakhstan is implemented by the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in association with the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan within the framework of the program, Ruhani Zhangyru. Head of the project – Leonid Kochetov, deputy director of the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the curator of Focus Kazakhstan is Roza Abenova, Head of Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Click here for detailed info.

On Saturday, November 17th, Mana Contemporary held an EXHIBITION WALKTHROUGH & OPEN FORUM with a group of esteemed Respondents-arts professionals from various contemporary art arenas who will discuss the exhibition’s significance and timely presentation in Jersey City in relationship to larger discourses taking place across Asia and the world.

Participated Respondents:

Livia Alexander(Curator, Writer, Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Montclair State University), Daniela Bertol (Research Artist, Scholar, Designer, and Author), David Borgonjon (Writer and Curator), Beth Citron (Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Rubin Museum), Jin Coleman (Art Advisor), Christina Davis (Independent Curator, Researcher), Jeanne Finley (Media Artist), Lydia Matthews (Professor of Visual Culture at the New School), Robert Lee (Executive Director & Curator of Asian American Arts Centre), Rashmi Viswanathan (Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Contemporary Art at Parsons), Christina Yang (Director of Education and Public Programs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), Raul Zamudio (Curator, Writer), Amy Zion(Curator, Writer)


March 1, 2016 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions   

MARCH 3 – APRIL 9, 2016
at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York

The Light of Spirit, 2016. Wood, Electric Plastic Candles, Led Bulbs, Sand, Cast Cement. (86 ½ X 82 ½ X 118 in)













Curated by Leeza Ahmady
Independent curator and director of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)
Opening Reception with the artist: Thursday, March 3, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm

FX Harsono has been a central figure of the Indonesian art scene for over 40 years, recognized for his experimental, conceptual approach, the use of everyday materials, and deep engagement with social and political issues. Over the course of recent decades that have seen enormous transformations in Indonesia, Harsono has continuously explored the role of the artist in society, in particular his relationship to history.

The Chronicles of Resilience encompasses the artist’s efforts over the past five years to document significant events, people, and circumstances surrounding massacres committed against Indonesians of Chinese decent across villages and cities in East Java from 1947 to 1949. After years of investigation, and the discovery of many neglected sites, Harsono has created a series of artworks that seek to give form to what has been buried along with the bodies: not only the stories of individual lives, but the historical memory of a nation. The exhibition centers on two new installations specially conceived for the show. Memory of the Survivor and The Light of Spirit (2016) function as monuments of remembrance, commemorating the specificity of personal tragedies alongside the collective loss, and bringing light to a past that had long been consigned to the darkness. Other works in a variety of media reflect the artist’s own attempts to come to terms with the reality of the sites as physical testaments to history, incorporating documentary materials such as government reports, Google maps and the artist’s own handmade rubbings of inscriptions.

Harsono was awarded the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art in 2015 and the Prince Klaus Award in 2014. His work has been shown in over 100 exhibitions around the world. Recent biennials include Indonesia’s Jogja Biennale (2013) and this year’s Sydney Biennale (March 18 – June 5).

For Leeza’s complete curatorial statement, click here.

Tyler Rollins Fine Art
29 W 20th St # 10W, New York, NY 10011

Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), New York 2014

October 20, 2014 - filed under Announcements,Upcoming Events   

Wednesday, October 22 – Sunday, November 2, 2014

Leading the ever-expanding interest in artistic practice and cultural production from Asia, Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) is a dynamic platform that brings together major New York- and Asia-based art institutions, museums, and galleries to present cutting-edge exhibitions, innovative projects, and provocative dialogues. Asia Society will host the signature program of ACAW 2014, FIELD MEETING: CRITICAL OF THE FUTURE, on October 26 and 27. The event includes a keynote presentation by Tom Finkelpearl, commissioner of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs; commissioned performances by Haig Aivazian, Polit-Sheer-Form Office, and Bavand Behpoor, among others; and presentations by more than 30 art professionals that highlight individual practices, institution building, and cross-cultural influences. Organized by Leeza Ahmady and Xin Wang. RSVP required to; art professionals receive priority.

Bavand Behpoor, from Trashing Performance, London, 2011. Presented by Performance Matters, documentation by Christa Holka.

Exhibitions and programs at consortium / participating venues:

ACAW launches on Wednesday, October 22, with a celebration cohosted by ArteEast and Taymour Grahne Gallery, featuring works by Kuwait-based Tarek Al- Ghoussein. Also taking place are the opening of Seoul-based Seokmin Ko‘s Strip Show at Art Projects International, and a screening of the documentary Nam June Paik & TV Lab at Asia Society.

On Thursday, October 23, Independent Curators International (ICI) screens Project 35 Volume 2, which represents 13 artists and ten curators based in Asia.RSVP:

V.S. Gaitonde opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Friday, October 24. Beth Citron speaks to Sandeep Mukherjee on Francesco Clemente at Rubin Museum of Art, and Asia Art Archive in America hosts a private reception for ACAW’s FIELD MEETING participants.

On view through Saturday, October 25 are solo exhibitions of Ronald Ventura at Tyler Rollins Fine Art and Cao Fei at Lombard Freid Gallery. That evening DJ Spooky and collaborators pay homage to Nam June Paik at Asia Society.

Sunday, October 26 and Monday, October 27 are full throttle FIELD MEETING days at Asia Society (see full list of speakers below), and are followed by The Armory Show’s VIP Focus Reception.

Public Art Fund launches four sculptures by Sui Jianguo at Doris C. Freedman Plaza on Tuesday, October 28.

On Wednesday, October 29, Ventana244 hosts a reception for select video screenings by Lu Yang, followed by an artist talk with curator Xin Wang at Residency Unlimited. Billie Tsien speaks with Francesco Clemente at Rubin Museum of Art.

On Thursday, October 30, ACAW’s Chelsea night features receptions for Heri Dono at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, Huguette Caland at Lombard Freid Gallery, and Farah Ossouli at Shirin Gallery. Uptown, Japan Society presents works by Manabu Ikeda, Hisashi Tenmyouya, and teamLab, and hosts a conversation between gallery director Miwako Tezuka and Melissa Chiu.

On Friday, October 31, Guggenheim Musuem opens Time Temple by Wang Jianwei, and Robin Peckham of LEAP Magazine moderates a discussion on art publishing in Asia with Ian Cheng, Lauren O’Neill-Butler, Howie Chen, and Benjamin Genocchio at Artnet.

On Saturday, November 1, Queens Museum hosts the closing party for ACAW and celebrates three exhibition openings: Jewyo Rhii ‘s Out of Comfort, Anonymous: Contemporary Tibetan Art, and a retrospective for art collective Polit-Sheer-Form Office (PSFO) (Hong Hao, Leng Lin, Liu Jianhua, Song Dong, And Xiao Yu).

The week concludes with a public performance by Polit-Sheer-Form Office, Do the Same Good Deed, at Times Square on Monday, November 3.

Field Meeting presenting artists and professionals:

Haig Aivazian (Beirut) / Manal Al Dowayan (Dhahran & Dubai) / Ava Ansari (Tehran & New York) / Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan (Brisbane) / Korakrit Arunanondchai (New York & Bangkok) / Bavand Behpoor (Shiraz, Munich & London) / Burçak Bingöl (Istanbul) / Umer Butt (Dubai) / Cao Fei (Beijing) / Patty Chang (Boston) / Iftikhar Dadi (New York) / Alexis Destoop (Sydney & Brussels) / Heri Dono (Yogyakarta & Berlin) / Kris Ercums (Kansas) / Ceren Erdem (New York) / Tom Finkelpearl (New York) / Jeanno Gaussi (Berlin & Kabul) / Beatrice Glow (New York) / Boris Groys (New York) / Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai) / Lamia Joreige (Beirut) / Li Shurui (Beijing) / Jitish Kallat (Mumbai) / Reena Kallat (Mumbai) / Georgia Kotretsos (Athens) / Kko-kka Lee (Seoul) / Lu Yang (Shanghai) / MAP Office (Hong Kong; Laurent Guttierez, Valerie Portefaix) / Polit-Sheer-Form Office (Beijing; Hong Hao, Leng Lin, Liu Jianhua, Song Dong, and Xiao Yu) / Aki Sasamoto (New York) / Sun Xun (Beijing) / Charwei Tsai (Ho Chi Minh City, Paris & Taipei) / Farah Wardani (Yogyakarta) / Tintin Wulia (Melbourne) / Craig Yee (Seattle & Beijing) / Yu Cheng-Ta (Taipei) / Zheng Chongbin (San Francisco) / and more

Other consortium members and participants:

+91 Foundation, New York / Aike-Dellarco Gallery, Shanghai / Alserkal Avenue, Dubai / Angeles Mira | Architecture / Galeri Zilberman, Istanbul / Australia Council for the Arts, Sydney / The Back Room, Tehran & New York / Chi-Wen Gallery, Taipei / Edge of Arabia, Jeddah & London / Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong / Ink Studio, Beijing / The Korean Art Museum Association, Seoul / MABSOCIETY, Shanghai / Museum of Modern Art, New York / The National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta / Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas / Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

For full descriptions, hours, press release, and updates for ACAW programs, visit and

Contact: Ambika Trasi / T +1 646 416 6454

Curating the Region: Reflections from Here and Elsewhere

September 26, 2014 - filed under Announcements,Upcoming Events   

September 27th 2014, 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Organized by the New Museum and ArteEast

This symposium brings together curators, scholars, and art professionals whose practices influence how cultural production in the Arab world can be accessed, understood, and engaged.

During this day-long symposium, speakers will consider the divergent disciplines and methods through which contemporary art from the Arab world—and from the Middle East and North Africa more generally—has been historicized, presented, and discussed. Drawing from a range of contexts with different audiences, participants will examine the parameters of specificity within cultural or regional categories that are themselves immensely diverse. They will address the viability of demarcating geographic or cultural categories when engaging contemporary art, as well as how and why the perspectives of those working locally might differ, cohere, or productively cross with those working at a remove. Similarly, they will consider a variety of expectations, interests, and critical demands of audiences within these different contexts. Questions to be explored include: In what sense can we speak of a region or of regions? Have recent curatorial approaches tended decisively toward or away from specificity? How can specificity be beneficial? How and why can it be problematic? What are the effects of reconsidering the categorical lenses through which contemporary art of specific regions is engaged with?

Speakers Include: Leeza Ahmady, Shiva Balaghi, Natalie Bell, Omar Berrada, Antonia Carver, Deena Chalabi, Mahnaz Fancy, Alicia Ritson, Sarah Rogers, Rijin Sahakian

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Urgency and Relevance: A Curatorial Perspective

March 10, 2014 - filed under Uncategorized   

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

A Prelude to Asian Contemporary Art Week’s ninth edition coming this fall 2014!

Presented as part of Asian Contemporary Art Week’s critical “Dialogues in Contemporary Art” series, select curators give voice to diverse identities within a landscape of new global initiatives. As told through individual stories of discovery and illustrated by specific case studies, such dynamics as the formation of collections, an engagement with living artists, the representation of multiple communities, the economics of cultural capital and the press of civic life are brought to light across curatorial practice. This program presents an insider’s view of contemporary art through the eyes of practitioners at the edge of advocacy and establishment.

Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, introduces the program and moderates a group conversation.

Presenters include:
 Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and Director of Asian Contemporary Art Week
 // Thomas Berghuis, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, Guggenheim Museum
 // Melissa Chiu, Director, Asia Society Museum and Vice President, Global Arts Programming, Asia Society /
/ Pablo León de la Barra, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America // 
Reem Fadda, Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Abu Dhabi Project, Guggenheim Museum

Above: The Otolith Group, Communists Like Us, 2006–10. Black-and-white video, with sound, 23 min., 5 sec., edition 2/5. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY, Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund 2012.163 © The Otolith Group.

Arahmaiani: Fertility of the Mind

January 5, 2014 - filed under Announcements   

January 9 – February 22, 2014

Tyler Rollins Fine Art presents Arahmaiani, one of Indonesia’s most respected and iconic contemporary artists. Her work is internationally recognized for its powerful and provocative commentaries on social and cultural issues. In the 1980s and ’90s, she established herself as a pioneer in the field of performance art in Southeast Asia, although her practice also incorporates a wide variety of media, including video, installation, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Since her first exhibition in 1980, her work has been included in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions around the world.

The exhibition features the first survey of the artist’s 30 years of performance work, curated with Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and director of Asian Contemporary Art Week, New York. Also included are key installations from the 1990s, selected paintings, and her seminal 2004 video, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Legend.

The exhibition maps the evolving meditations of an artist whose prolific life of activism and artistic practice has been steadfast in its relentless probing of social and political issues. Her works in essence foreground a long and enduring personal and spiritual journey, a process whereby nothing is spared, all is equally scrutinized. They constitute an ongoing exposé of mechanistic thought, beliefs, and policies that plague humanity— manifested in her quiet and beautiful symbolic protests, marches, ceremonies, and texts that instigate individual and collective vigilance against agencies of power worldwide. Through her work, the artist becomes a formal and conceptual medium for communication, connectivity, and cooperation between individuals, communities, and nations.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land

October 7, 2013 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions,Openings,Upcoming Events   

November 9th thru December 22nd, 2013

ESLITE Gallery, Taipei

Co-curated by Leeza Ahmady and Ombretta Agro Andruff


Khadim Ali / Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan / Said Atabekov / Lara Baladi / Jeanno Gaussi / Mariam Ghani / Reena Saini Kallat / Jagannath Panda / Yelena & Viktor Vorobayev / Sharif Waked

This exhibition examines the nomadism of contemporary migrant artists who deliberately resist location and de-territorialize the origins of their work. It consists of a selection of some of today’s most successful artists based in or originating from various regions in Asia, including the Middle East. These artists are engaged in the acts of moving, living, and working on multiple continents or are addressing such phenomena in their practices consciously, or in some cases unconsciously. They investigate, challenge, and/ or renew traditional nomadic ideals in view of contemporary lifestyles relative to ideas about space, place, people, movement, and nature.  Through their nomadism, these artists elude the fixed identity categories often imposed on them by their country or countries of adoption.

The word “nomad” comes from the Greek and is defined as “the one who wanders for pasture.” Since the dawn of the modern era, however, or perhaps even since the birth of cities, the term has been used to mean one who moves for various reasons. The paradoxes of a life on the move are playfully highlighted in the exhibition’s double-edged title—to both acknowledge the real challenges of such a lifestyle and also to examine the often fantastic, uncanny images conjured by the term nomad. Namely, one who engages in wild, uninhibited meanderings in unregulated territories at the mercy of highly unexpected and dangerous conditions and circumstances.

From the 1960s onward, significant numbers of artists from all regions of the world—Asia, Africa, South America, and elsewhere—travelled to Europe and North America, and vice-versa. Whether they immigrated for a short period or indefinitely, their art not only contributed to the dynamics of their newly adopted art scenes but transformed art-making processes, theory, and criticism, and ultimately art history altogether. Art historians are therefore now beginning to recognize the starting point of contemporary art by delineating  artists and movements from 1970 forward as “an art that is of the world for the world.”

This exhibition was inspired by the curators’ acknowledgment of this shift as directly connected to the phenomena of artists increasingly moving from place to place and living and working in countries and regions other than their own, especially over the past three decades. Furthermore, the practice of the few brave artists who ventured to isolated places in the world on their own has now become completely institutionalized. Residency programs have sprouted up in museums, universities, and arts organizations in cities, towns, and even villages, large and small, cosmopolitan or remote. A generation of thirty- and forty-something successful artists today will list at least a dozen local and international residencies in their resumes.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land is the fruit of four years of collaborative research and conversations between curators Leeza Ahmady and Ombretta Agró Andruff, which led to the selection of the ten artists currently in the exhibition. Some of the artists are culturally and historically connected to the notion of nomadism because of their geographical affiliations (Said Atabekov, Yelena Vorobyeva, and Viktor Vorobyev); others because they make the concept of nomadism, displacement, and migration one of the central subjects of their art practice (Mariam Ghani, Sharif Waked, Jeanno Gaussi, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, and to some extent Reena Kallat and Jagannath Panda); and than there are those who may have touched upon this subject more peripherally but with works that make a strong statement in this specific context (Lara Baladi and Khadim Ali).

While the list of artists initially under consideration included individuals and collectives from Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and Mexico, among other countries, the final selection for this specific iteration of the project focused on participants from Asia and the Middle East, including India, Kazakhstan, Egypt, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Palestine.

The media employed by the artists reflect the wide variety of their practices: from the videos of Mariam Ghani and Sharif Waked to the photography-based works of Said Atabekov, Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev, and Lara Baladi ; the sculptural works and installations by Jagannath Panda, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Reena Kallat, and the Vorobyevs; and the paintings and works on paper by Jeanno Gaussi, Reena Kallat, Jagannath Panda and Khadim Ali.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land is an open-ended and ongoing project, which the curators envision gaining a nomadic existence in its own right, traveling through different venues in different countries with the possibility of changing the participating artists as it moves from place to place in order to broaden the dialogue concerning various forms of contemporary nomadism.

To read more about the exhibition and the participating artists visit:

Screenings at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

January 24, 2013 - filed under Announcements,Past Events   

Akhtar Maskara (Akhtar the Joker) 1980, Latif Ahmadi

History of Histories: Afghan Films 1960-Present
Screening Program at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Organized by Leeza Ahmady and Mariam Ghani
Fridays, March 1 thru April 5, 2013
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Fifth Avenue at 89th Street
In conjunction with No Country: Regarding South and Southeast Asia, the first exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, The Guggenheim Museum presents a series of programs dedicated to Afghan cinema and film production selected by independent curator Leeza Ahmady and artist Mariam Ghani.

Fridays, March 1, 15, 22, and 29, 2 pm
Approximate runtime for each screening: 170 minutes
Introduction by Leeza Ahmady and Mariam Ghani on March 1 and March 29

All screenings are free with museum admission.

2-5pm, Friday, March 1 and March 22

Selections from the Afghan Films archive, 1967-80
In a series of select newsreels, documentary and propaganda shorts, and feature film clips drawn from the archive of Afghan Films, Afghanistan’s national film institute, the changing fashions, mores and politics of the constantly reconfigured state are reflected.

Khan-e-Tarikh (The House of History), 1996 Directed by Qader Tahiri
The only documentary produced by Afghan Films during the civil war years, The House of History is an intensely personal essay film that chronicles the destruction of Kabul during the civil war, followed by a meditation on the ruin of Kabul’s archaeological museum and the efforts to save fragments left behind after its destruction in 1991.

Fiction shorts by the Jump Cut Film Collective, 2009-10
The Jump Cut Film Collective was founded in Kabul in 2009 by a group of young independent filmmakers who share both production duties and formal concerns. In the Name of Opium (dir. Sayed Jalal Hussaini) employs a non-traditional, circular narrative structure and no dialogue, while strong cinematography sets up a series of memorable images, each a part of a larger opium-driven vicious cycle.

Feature: Akhtar Maskara (Akhtar the Joker), 1980 Directed by Latif Ahmadi
A stinging social critique of the gap between rich and poor, old and new Kabulis at the end of the 1970s, and the story of an unusual young man who falls into the cracks in between. Sharp cinematography, a twisting plot, and occasional breaks where the unreliable narrator addresses the camera directly, give it a quality unlike anything else in Afghan cinema.

2-5pm, Friday, March 15 and March 29

Doc shorts from Ateliers Varan Kabul, 2011
Ateliers Varan, the documentary training program initiated by direct cinema pioneer Jean Rouch, has operated workshops in Kabul since 2006. The shorts Dusty Night and The Postman observe the rituals and rhythms of the city without judgment or commentary, unless offered by the participants observed.

Fiction shorts by the Jump Cut Film Collective, 2009-10
The early shorts from Jump Cut, ANT (dir. Hashem Didari) and Devious (dir. Sayed Jalal Hussaini), display a preoccupation with the use of non-linear temporal structures, as well as their interest in the illegal and informal economies, and the petty and not so petty thefts, grifts and deceits that spring from the inequities and poverty of Kabul.

Feature: Kabuli Kid, 2009 Directed by Barmak Akram
In writer-director Barmak Akram’s debut feature, the life of cab driver Khaled (Hadji Gul) is thrown for a loop when he discovers that his last passenger left an infant boy in the back seat. Khaled embarks on a chaotic adventure from one end of war-torn Kabul to the other to find the mother. (Kabuli Kid will be screened on March 15 only!)

Feature: Mujasemaha Mekhandan (The Sculptures Are Laughing), 1976Directed by Toryalai Shafaq
The deliriously paced story of an artist who falls in love with a spoiled rich girl, who marries a gangster who draws both his bride and her former love into his wacky schemes. A window into life in Daoud’s republic, from art school to fashion shows to house parties to weddings. (Mujasemaha Mekhandan will be screened on March 29 only!)

6:30-8:30 pm, Friday, April 5

A Discussion with the Filmmaker and Screening of Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)

A special one-time screening of Wajma (An Afghan Love Story), the most recent film written and directed by Barmak Akram (b. 1966, Kabul) that follows the clandestine relationship of gregarious waiter Mustafa and pretty student Wajma. Beginning as a playful and passionate affair, after Wajma discovers she is pregnant the consequences of the societal rules the pair has broken rapidly unfold. Awarded the World Cinema Dramatic Screenwriting prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Following the screening, Leeza Ahmady and Mariam Ghani join Akram in a discussion about filmmaking in Afghanistan, as well as the historic context and themes of cinema from the region. Program concludes with a reception and exhibition viewing of No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia.

FREE with advance registration at


January 24, 2013 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions,Past Events   

Visual Art Section: Season of Cambodia, A Living Arts Festival

Savy Sareth 'Mon Boulet,' 2011. Metal 200cm sphere

April 1 through May 31, 2013

Co-Curated by Leeza Ahmady and Erin Gleeson.

IN RESIDENCE is a citywide visual arts program centered on two-month residencies for 10 visual artists and 1 curator from Cambodia to live and work in New York; complimented by a dynamic map of public programs at major New York City institutions; including solo exhibitions, open studios, symposiums, and conversations with artists and curators most critically involved in shaping Cambodia’s unique contemporary art scene.

IN RESIDENCE invites audiences to engage with new perspectives on Cambodia’s history and contemporaneity. For decades, Cambodia has been subject to international field research – a practice that has largely shaped distanced, third person perspectives around the nation’s occupied and traumatic histories. In the last decade, it is largely Cambodia’s local and diaspora visual artists who, by giving form to their experiences, are responsible for anchoring critical first-person perspectives.

The selected artists work across a range of practices including drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance. Born between 1970 and 1987 – either during the U.S. military bombing campaign, the Khmer Rouge era, or Vietnamese occupation – the artists interpret their histories from different angels while many also respond to current cultural changes forced by globalization.

The festival’s contemporary artists’ lineup includes internationally renowned artists Sopheap Pich, Rattana Vandy, Samnang Khvay and Seckon Leang, as well as leading regional and local figures Sokchanlina Lim, Amy Lee Sanford, Sareth Svay, Sok Than, Kanitha Tith, Lyno Vuth, Maline Yim, and New York-based Pete Pin.

Residency Partners: Asia Art Archive in America, Asian Cultural Council, Bose Pacia, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Residency Unlimited (RU), and Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education

Public Program Partners: Asia Society and Museum, Arts Brookfield, BAM, Cornell University, ICI (Independent Curators International), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Parsons The New School of Design, Tyler Rollins Fine Art

Media Partner: ArtAsiaPacific


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