Midi Onodera in conversation with Zainub Verjee.
Ecoute s'il pleut is a video poem which explores time and space allowing the viewer to experience a moment and the fullness of silence. The camera moves across patterns of leaves and falling water. A woman sits pensively beside a fountain; a child floats slowly past a monument
Deeply engaged with the UK’s British Black Arts, Third Cinema and the post-Bandung decolonization, Tactical Video Movement, Zainub Verjee has been embedded in the early years of Vancouver’s photo-conceptualism movement as well as history of women’s labour in British Columbia. She co-founded the critically acclaimed In Visible Colours: An International Film/Video Festival & Symposium for Third World Women and Women of Colour (1989), a widely and critically recognized as a foundational film festival in Canada. As a result, she received the National Film Board Fellowship in 1992 as part of New Initiatives in Film for women of colour and aboriginal women.
As an internationalist, her work in video distribution/programming, curatorship, policy and administration has been consistent and contiguous with what might be termed a critical transversal aesthetic. She continues with her practice as a multidisciplinary artist and as a programmer/curator and her artworks have been shown at the Venice Biennale, Museum of Modern Art, NY, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland US, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse-Normandie, France, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, México, D. F. (Mexico City, Mexico), India, Art Gallery of Alberta, Embassy Culture House (London, ON), and resides in private and public collections (Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada).
A prescient provocateur, persuasive champion of arts and advocate for artists rights, Zainub Verjee has over four decades built a formidable reputation as an artist, writer, critic, cultural administrator and public intellectual in Canada and internationally. A firm believer of Art is a public good, she has contributed to international instruments of culture such as Status of the Artist and Cultural Diversity. She is engaged in a national campaign on Artists’ labour and income.
In 2020 she was honoured with the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding contribution.
Instagram and Twitter - @zainubverjee
IN VISIBLE COLOURS: The Making and Unmaking of the Women of Colour and Third World Women International Film and Video Festival and Symposium by Zainub Verjee, Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada, edited by Deanna Bowen, Media Arts Network of Ontario, 2019
Zainub Verjee speaks on "Towards a New Global Artworld-Global Modernism & Cultural diplomacy" in an interview with Bojana Videkanic, PhD, Associate Professor at the Department of Fine Arts, University of Waterloo, Canada. Nov 17, 2020
The Minquon Panchayat operated as a caucus of artists of colour and First Nations artists within the Association of National Non-Profit Artists Centres (ANNPAC). See Cheryl L’Hirondelle’s “Its a Cultural Thing!”
Art’s Birthday is an annual event first proposed in 1963 by French artist Robert Filliou. He suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. But one day, on the 17th of January to be precise, Art was born. According to Filliou, it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. Modest beginning but look at us now. Each year the Eternal Network evolves to include new partners who work with ideas of exchange and telecommunications-art.