Mariam Magsi | Tilt / Shift














MARIAM MAGSI


I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and I currently live and work in Toronto, Canada. There are no visual records, such as photographs or paintings, of many of my female ancestors, especially on the maternal side of my family. My mother, born in the 60s, photographed herself, my father and our family obsessively, as if bearing witness to our lived experiences was vital to our existence. She not only recorded mundane, ordinary moments from our daily lives, but also hired professionals to document our celebratory events, such as birthdays and ameens (an event that marks the completion of Quranic recitation). This has resulted in closets and drawers being filled with our family archives in photo albums and videocassettes, a testament to our diverse and dynamic lives growing up in Pakistan.

My mother’s recording devices, both visual and audio, made their way into my young hands, and I learned to train my eyes and my mind to pause, observe and record everything around me from a tender age. I have always been an avid reader and visual consumer/maker, resulting in an imaginative, creative and curious mind. This, inevitably, led to examining my family, ancestry, identity, culture, religion and dual-citizenship through lens based mediums and installation art.
































Our society’s fascination with selfies and our unquenchable desire to watch and rewatch moments from our lives through digital recording and transmitting devices is not surprising or new. I was born in 1985, and my proximity to camcorders meant that I had complete access to recordings of our life events that I consumed over and over again. This has prompted a query into the role of nostalgia, cultural and religious customs/rituals, memory and inheritance in the formation and construction of identity. Using self-portraiture as a method to examine the social, religious and cultural constructs of identity, I compose images and videos, engaging with found and inherited objects while exploring studio, urban and natural environments.













































My existence has been resistance since the day I was born and they exclaimed, “oh, it’s a girl!” I have grown up knowing quite well that sons would have been preferred in my place. Despite this painful realization, I have fought to carve out a space for myself both in Pakistani and Canadian society. Using myself as a subject in the work has symbolic significance. Placing myself at the center of the work is empowering and an act of assertion. I realize the value of this assertive act even more so today, when faced with a world that has historically given preference to some genders, races and social classes over others.











































































































































Visual artist Sarah Maple, who is a source of inspiration, examines her complex, hybrid identity as a British Muslim feminist: “I think today there are many women using self-portraiture because we are tired of being told by the media, society and religion, etc., who we should be or what we should look like. I think by photographing ourselves we are reclaiming our image and finally controlling how we want to be seen in the world.”































































IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Mariam Magsi, New work in progress examining Baloch, indigenous identity through a reclamation of clothing, cultural practices, ritual, veiling practices, folklore and spirituality, 2019-, Digital Photography.
Mariam Magsi, Jahez | Dowry: A series of performative, resistance based photographs examining the ancient practice of marital dowry giving to new brides for their marital homes. I wear inherited, gendered inherited and found objects on my head and face, rendering them useless, subverting their original function, 2018, Digital Photography & Performance.
Mariam Magsi, A series of self-portraits examining veiling practices associated with Islam such as burqa, niqab, hijab and dupatta, 2015-2016, Digital Photography & Performance.
Mariam Magsi, Ongoing performative sketches and live art exercises channeling and reclaiming gestures and rituals conducive to the practice of offering namaz (Islamic prayer), while investigating embodied, spiritual and ritualistic practices through the lens of Sufism, 2019, Digital Photography & Performance.








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MARIAM MAGSI


I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and I currently live and work in Toronto, Canada. There are no visual records, such as photographs or paintings, of many of my female ancestors, especially on the maternal side of my family. My mother, born in the 60s, photographed herself, my father and our family obsessively, as if bearing witness to our lived experiences was vital to our existence. She not only recorded mundane, ordinary moments from our daily lives, but also hired professionals to document our celebratory events, such as birthdays and ameens (an event that marks the completion of Quranic recitation). This has resulted in closets and drawers being filled with our family archives in photo albums and videocassettes, a testament to our diverse and dynamic lives growing up in Pakistan.

My mother’s recording devices, both visual and audio, made their way into my young hands, and I learned to train my eyes and my mind to pause, observe and record everything around me from a tender age. I have always been an avid reader and visual consumer/maker, resulting in an imaginative, creative and curious mind. This, inevitably, led to examining my family, ancestry, identity, culture, religion and dual-citizenship through lens based mediums and installation art.





Image
Our society’s fascination with selfies and our unquenchable desire to watch and rewatch moments from our lives through digital recording and transmitting devices is not surprising or new. I was born in 1985, and my proximity to camcorders meant that I had complete access to recordings of our life events that I consumed over and over again. This has prompted a query into the role of nostalgia, cultural and religious customs/rituals, memory and inheritance in the formation and construction of identity. Using self-portraiture as a method to examine the social, religious and cultural constructs of identity, I compose images and videos, engaging with found and inherited objects while exploring studio, urban and natural environments.







Image
My existence has been resistance since the day I was born and they exclaimed, “oh, it’s a girl!” I have grown up knowing quite well that sons would have been preferred in my place. Despite this painful realization, I have fought to carve out a space for myself both in Pakistani and Canadian society. Using myself as a subject in the work has symbolic significance. Placing myself at the center of the work is empowering and an act of assertion. I realize the value of this assertive act even more so today, when faced with a world that has historically given preference to some genders, races and social classes over others.



Image Image Image Image
Visual artist Sarah Maple, who is a source of inspiration, examines her complex, hybrid identity as a British Muslim feminist: “I think today there are many women using self-portraiture because we are tired of being told by the media, society and religion, etc., who we should be or what we should look like. I think by photographing ourselves we are reclaiming our image and finally controlling how we want to be seen in the world.”





Image



IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Mariam Magsi, New work in progress examining Baloch, indigenous identity through a reclamation of clothing, cultural practices, ritual, veiling practices, folklore and spirituality, 2019-, Digital Photography.
Mariam Magsi, Jahez | Dowry: A series of performative, resistance based photographs examining the ancient practice of marital dowry giving to new brides for their marital homes. I wear inherited, gendered inherited and found objects on my head and face, rendering them useless, subverting their original function, 2018, Digital Photography & Performance.
Mariam Magsi, A series of self-portraits examining veiling practices associated with Islam such as burqa, niqab, hijab and dupatta, 2015-2016, Digital Photography & Performance.
Mariam Magsi, Ongoing performative sketches and live art exercises channeling and reclaiming gestures and rituals conducive to the practice of offering namaz (Islamic prayer), while investigating embodied, spiritual and ritualistic practices through the lens of Sufism, 2019, Digital Photography & Performance.








Image
MARIAM MAGSI


I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and I currently live and work in Toronto, Canada. There are no visual records, such as photographs or paintings, of many of my female ancestors, especially on the maternal side of my family. My mother, born in the 60s, photographed herself, my father and our family obsessively, as if bearing witness to our lived experiences was vital to our existence. She not only recorded mundane, ordinary moments from our daily lives, but also hired professionals to document our celebratory events, such as birthdays and ameens (an event that marks the completion of Quranic recitation). This has resulted in closets and drawers being filled with our family archives in photo albums and videocassettes, a testament to our diverse and dynamic lives growing up in Pakistan.

My mother’s recording devices, both visual and audio, made their way into my young hands, and I learned to train my eyes and my mind to pause, observe and record everything around me from a tender age. I have always been an avid reader and visual consumer/maker, resulting in an imaginative, creative and curious mind. This, inevitably, led to examining my family, ancestry, identity, culture, religion and dual-citizenship through lens based mediums and installation art.





Image
Our society’s fascination with selfies and our unquenchable desire to watch and rewatch moments from our lives through digital recording and transmitting devices is not surprising or new. I was born in 1985, and my proximity to camcorders meant that I had complete access to recordings of our life events that I consumed over and over again. This has prompted a query into the role of nostalgia, cultural and religious customs/rituals, memory and inheritance in the formation and construction of identity. Using self-portraiture as a method to examine the social, religious and cultural constructs of identity, I compose images and videos, engaging with found and inherited objects while exploring studio, urban and natural environments.







Image
My existence has been resistance since the day I was born and they exclaimed, “oh, it’s a girl!” I have grown up knowing quite well that sons would have been preferred in my place. Despite this painful realization, I have fought to carve out a space for myself both in Pakistani and Canadian society. Using myself as a subject in the work has symbolic significance. Placing myself at the center of the work is empowering and an act of assertion. I realize the value of this assertive act even more so today, when faced with a world that has historically given preference to some genders, races and social classes over others.



Image Image Image Image
Visual artist Sarah Maple, who is a source of inspiration, examines her complex, hybrid identity as a British Muslim feminist: “I think today there are many women using self-portraiture because we are tired of being told by the media, society and religion, etc., who we should be or what we should look like. I think by photographing ourselves we are reclaiming our image and finally controlling how we want to be seen in the world.”





Image






IMAGES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Mariam Magsi, New work in progress examining Baloch, indigenous identity through a reclamation of clothing, cultural practices, ritual, veiling practices, folklore and spirituality, 2019-, Digital Photography.
Mariam Magsi, Jahez | Dowry: A series of performative, resistance based photographs examining the ancient practice of marital dowry giving to new brides for their marital homes. I wear inherited, gendered inherited and found objects on my head and face, rendering them useless, subverting their original function, 2018, Digital Photography & Performance.
Mariam Magsi, A series of self-portraits examining veiling practices associated with Islam such as burqa, niqab, hijab and dupatta, 2015-2016, Digital Photography & Performance.
Mariam Magsi, Ongoing performative sketches and live art exercises channeling and reclaiming gestures and rituals conducive to the practice of offering namaz (Islamic prayer), while investigating embodied, spiritual and ritualistic practices through the lens of Sufism, 2019, Digital Photography & Performance.









MARIAM MAGSI | Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and currently living and working in Toronto, Canada, Mariam Magsi is a Multidisciplinary Artist working in Photography, Video, Performance, Installation and other arts. Magsi holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media & Design from OCAD University. | mariammagsi.com

WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN | Natasha Whyte-Gray

MARIAM MAGSI | Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and currently living and working in Toronto, Canada, Mariam Magsi is a Multidisciplinary Artist working in Photography, Video, Performance, Installation and other arts. Magsi holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media & Design from OCAD University. | mariammagsi.com

WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN | Natasha Whyte-Gray
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