OCAD University

OCADU’s Art Creates Change speaker series opens

with Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra


(Toronto — September 27, 2010) The Faculty of Art at OCAD University (OCADU) launches Art Creates Change: The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series with a talk by filmmakers Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra, in conversation with Richard Fung, on Wednesday, October 13 at 7 p.m.

Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra’s presentation “Documentaries from Jamia Nagar” asks the question, “What are the dilemmas faced in making documentaries about one’s own neighbourhood when that community is a loaded site of refuge, stereotyping and police repression?”

Alqadar and Mishra both graduated from the prestigious AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), which houses India’s only MA program in film and television. The MCRC and its host university Jamia Millia Islamia are located in the neighbourhood of Jamia Nagar, increasingly referred to as Delhi’s Muslim ghetto. As filmmakers with roots in Jamia Nagar, their complex and probing documentaries address both “insiders” and “outsiders” in raising difficult questions about gender, sexuality, class, religion and nation.

Alqadar will screen excerpts from Who Can Speak of Men, about women who cross dress, and Between Leaving and Arriving, which probes the infamous “Batla House encounter,” in which neighbourhood youth were killed by police. Mishra will screen from A House on Gulmohar Avenue, which uses her own story as the great granddaughter of Dr. Zakir Hussain, India’s first Muslim president and a founder of Jamia Millia Islamia university, to explore what it means to be a Muslim in India today, and Come, Walk Through Our Streets, produced with children from Jamia Nagar.

These screenings will be followed by a conversation on the ethics and politics of neighbourhood autoethnography with Richard Fung, Associate Professor in OCADU’s Integrated Media program, and Visiting Professor at the MCRC in 2009.

Alqadar and Mishra’s presentation is generously supported in part by the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

Art Creates Change: The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series

Ambarien Alqadar and Samina Mishra:
Documentaries from Jamia Nagar

Wednesday, October 13, 7 p.m.

OCAD University
Auditorium, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
www.ocad.ca | 416-977-6000

All are welcome and admission is free.

Art Creates Change: The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series will continue in 2011 with the following presentations:

Susan Buck-Morss
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7 p.m.
Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory in the Department of Government, and a member of the graduate fields of German Studies and History of Art at Cornell University. Her training is in Continental Theory, specifically, German Critical Philosophy and the Frankfurt School. She is currently researching and lecturing on politics and religion, theories of sovereignty, legitimacy and faith, and economies of political vision.

Wafaa Bilal
Thursday, February 10, 7 p.m.
The Chicago Tribune named Iraqi born Wafaa Bilal Artist of the Year in 2008 and called his dynamic installation, Domestic Tension, “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time.” Through his varied art practices of installation, photography and performance, and utilizing the interactivity of the Internet, “re-skinned” video games, or body tattoos, Wafaa Bilal provokes and challenges audiences to consider the absences that result from war and contemporary violence. His works are incisive and chilling, conceptually driven, and at the same time playful and full of mourning. Wafaa Bilal is Assistant Professor of Art at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

All events are free and open to the public, and take place in OCADU’s Auditorium.

About Kym Pruesse
“Kym [Pruesse] was complex, complicated and often challenged those around her to think profoundly and creatively.” — The Globe and Mail, December 8, 2010

An artist, educator, writer and theorist, Kym Pruesse is celebrated as an expert in popular culture, art and design history, visual activism, art criticism and curatorial practice. A part of the OCADU community since 1994, Kym taught courses in media and cultural studies, contemporary theory, women in art, art criticism, popular culture and studio. She believed in a cross-disciplinary perspective and taught in both the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Liberal Studies at OCADU. She passed away suddenly in June, 2009. The Art Creates Change series commemorates Kym’s work at OCADU, as well as her contribution to the Toronto art community.

The Kym Pruesse Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student in excellent standing who shows a demonstrated interest in curatorial practice, art and design activism and/or popular culture. If you would like to make a donation in support of the scholarship, please contact Julie Frahar, Manager, Individual Giving & Alumni Relations, at 416.977.6000 Ext. 485.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

For more information, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

© OCAD University