AGO X RBC Artists in Residence in Conversation: Mariam Magsi and Eric Chengyang

Image of Mariam Magsi and Eric Chengyang in traditional cultural clothing

Image courtesy of the artists.

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AGO X RBC Artists in Residence in Conversation: Mariam Magsi and Eric Chengyang

Tuesday, April 26, 5 pm
AGO X RBC Artists in Residence in Conversation: Mariam Magsi and Eric Chengyang

Join AGO X RBC Artists in Residence Mariam Magsi and Eric Chengyang for a conversation about their practices and the work they have created and developed during their respective digital residencies at the AGO this year. Entitled The Dawat Yan Banquet, the artists will reflect on their gathering in which they explore the intersections of food, art and cultural history, from perspectives of Asian hospitality. Welcoming friends virtually from near and far, the exclusionary boundaries of the traditional banquet are lifted, as the Dawat Yan Banquet transcends barriers of race, class, gender and geography. 

Dawat Yan Project Blog:

Dawat Yan Project Website: 

As a Pakistani-Canadian, Mariam Magsi was inspired to reconnect with her South Asian heritage and culture after her mother passed away in 2019. Having lost access to ancestral languages, customs and intergenerational wisdom, the Dawat Yan Project became a creative way to reignite connection with community and culture. 

Eric Chengyang’s practice integrates storytelling with visual arts and hybrid digital media. Coming from a multilingual Chinese-Canadian background, their works explore the themes of symbiotic duality and paradox, with a focus on the intersections and proximity between the East and the West. The Dawat Yan Project is a collaborative continuation of these themes.

The Dawat Yan Banquet is created collaboratively by Eric Chengyang & Mariam Magsi (Dawat Yan Project), with Amin Alsaden, Karina Iskandarsjah, Niloufar Salimi, and Abdullah Qureshi.

Amin Alsaden is a curator, educator, and scholar of art and architecture, whose work focuses on transnational solidarities and exchanges across cultural boundaries. With a commitment to advancing social justice through the arts, Alsaden’s curatorial practice contributes to the dissemination of more diverse, inclusive, and global narratives, by decentering and expanding existing canons, and challenging hegemonic knowledge and power structures. In the Dawat Yan Banquet, he examines some intersections between food, space, and the notion of home.

Karina Iskandarsjah is an Indonesian-born artist and curator based in Tkaronto, interested in topics around cultural hybridity, geopolitics, technology, and ecologies. Responding to the topic of “florals and banquet”, Birdfeed (Part 1): Ficus is the start of an exploration of plant genuses as a way to form connections across different cultures and histories. With immigrant narratives as the central focus, this video installation weaves together plant research, poetry, theory, and the artist’s personal journal entries.

Niloufar Salimi (b. Shiraz, Iran & based in Toronto) uses drawing and minimal mixed media to form narratives that live in the interstices of certainty and ambiguity. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Salimi’s daily drawing practice has concentrated on the old, wild apple trees outside her apartment window. “One window for seeing/ One window for hearing/ One window for reaching into the heart of the earth” (Forough Farrokhzad). Through her unique artistic touch, Nilou is sharing her story of "fruits and banquet" in the project.

Abdullah Qureshi is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator. Rooted in traditions of abstraction, he incorporates gestural, poetic, and hybrid methodologies to address autobiography, trauma, and sexuality through painting, filmmaking, and immersive events. His ongoing doctoral project, Mythological Migrations: Imagining Queer Muslim Utopias, examines formations of queer identity and resistance in Muslim migratory contexts. Qureshi is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University, Espoo, and Faculty at OCAD University, Toronto. In the Dawat Yan Banquet, Abdullah is exploring the intersections of queerness, South Asian visual and cultural histories, and hosting.

For requests for Verbal Description, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and/or live captioning for online and onsite programming, please provide three weeks notice in advance of the event date. The AGO will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made with less than three weeks notice. Please note that automated captioning is available for all online programs. For onsite visits, the AGO offers these supports for an accessible visit. Please contact us to make a request for these or other accessibility accommodations. Learn more about accessibility at the AGO.


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