Veena (2016) is an installation in Saris are hung from the ceiling cascading onto the floor. Saris are a traditional form of dress in South Asia and consists of a single silken fabric that is five to nine yards long, and draped over a woman’s body. A video portrait is then projected onto the extended fabric which pans in and out of a young woman, focusing on specific aspects of her body.
The accompanying audio recounts the story of Veena, a narrative of an Indian woman sharing her experience of migrating to England many years ago. The voice of Veena comes from the Apple dictation accents from Apple inc. Veena is one of the available English readers who is said to have an “Indian English Voice”.
This installation aims to play with the viewer’s perception of authenticity and narrative. Visually the viewer is confronted with a feminine display of delicate patterned fabric and the visualization of a woman. Coupled with the audio, it is unclear if the voice of Veena is in fact a real human, a computer, or someone for whom English is a second language. These fluxes is meant to point to ideas of false nostalgia, orientalism and exotisicm that is often found in works from artists who come from diasporic communities.
Read Veena’s full narrative here.
Zinnia Naqvi is a visual artist based in Toronto and Montreal. Her work uses a combination of photography, video, writings, archival footage and installation. Naqvi’s practice often questions the relationship between authenticity and narrative, while dealing with larger themes of post-colonialism, cultural translation, language, and gender.
She received a BFA in Photography from Ryerson University, and is currently an MFA Candidate in Studio Arts from Concordia University. Her work has shown in Canada at the Ryerson Image Centre, Gallery 44, the Koffler Gallery, Articule, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery and others. Internationally she has shown at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Abron’s Art Center in New York and the 2017 Karachi Biennale.
See more of Zinnia’s work at http://zinnianaqvi.com