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OCAD U student work on view at The Public Gallery

A photo of Par Nair's installation including an embroidered red sari and stamps.

Image: dear amma (2022), installation detail, by Par Nair. Photo by Par Nair.

OCAD U student work on view at The Public Gallery

Next time you’re in Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood be sure to swing by 58 Lansdowne Ave. There you will find dear amma, an installation by Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design student Par Nair displayed in The Public’s window gallery space.  

On view 24 hours a day until March 2022, the exhibition is the outcome of a Career Launcher, coordinated by OCAD University's RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD).  

Born in India, Nair explores themes of ritual, symmetry, hybridity and longing among diasporic people in her interdisciplinary work. A 2020 graduate of OCAD U’s Drawing and Painting program and a current MFA student, Nair examines the cultural loss experienced by immigrant communities in her videos, paintings, installations and photography.  

In the installation for The Public Nair foregrounds feelings of yearning and melancholia. The work includes intimate and nomadic objects that belonged to her mother. On display you’ll see a sari that Nair has embroidered by hand, her mom’s passport photo reproduced digitally and with oil paint as well as hand-cut stamps that have travelled across the world. Here the artist invites its viewers to consider assimilation and fragmentation among diasporic people. 

“I find the work that The Public does deeply inspiring. It is an absolute honour to be able to display my work in this space and be in conversation with the community it serves,” notes Nair.  
“I hope my installation can add to narratives of care and love, while acting as a decolonized safe space of healing where lived experiences of diaspora and excluded voices can be heard,” she continues. 

The Public is a community-focused, activist design studio based in Toronto that works alongside non-profits and grassroots organizations. Their gallery is a street-facing window space that features works that explore issues of social justice and anti-oppression. In addition to the gallery, The Public houses a studio from which they offer services that include graphic design, web development, co-creative workshops, strategic branding and creative campaigning. Their past clients include Women's Shelters Canada, Planned Parenthood Toronto and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.  

You can check out Par Nair's work on her website and on Instagram.