Writer-in-Residence: Zinnia Naqvi

Function Magazine is excited to announce our first writer in residence, Zinnia Naqvi, a 2019 New Generation Photography Award recipient and an alumni of Ryerson Image Arts. Naqvi’s practice explores the relationship between authenticity and narrative, encouraging the viewer to interrogate her process. We are thrilled to open up a dialogue between Naqvi and current Image Arts students on themes of the family album, studio, and format in regards to visual culture in the next coming weeks.

Zinnia Naqvi is a visual artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her work uses a combination of photography, video, writings, archival footage and installation. Naqvi’s practice questions the relationship between authenticity and narrative, while dealing with larger themes of post-colonialism, cultural translation, language, and gender. Her works often invite the viewer to question her process and working methods.

Naqvi’s works have been shown across Canada and internationally. She received an honorable mention at the 2017 Karachi Biennale in Pakistan and was an Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of EMILIA-AMALIA Working Group. She is a recipient of the 2019 New Generation Award organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada in partnership with Scotiabank. She has a BFA in Photography Studies from Ryerson University and is currently an MFA Candidate in Studio Arts at Concordia University.

More on Zinnia Naqvi

On pressing pause

Zinnia Naqvi, May 2020

It seems silly to continue to write to you about making when you have just been forced to stop making. To stop is sometimes even harder then it is to start. Especially when you have just started to get that ball rolling, to find your momentum. Now all of a sudden everything has been ground to a halt.

This is a feeling I have become familiar with.

Last year at about this time, I had been working extremely hard on producing two exhibitions for Contact Photo Festival. One was a new public project, and the process of working on this project was the most difficult circumstances I had faced before. I had gotten into a conflict with one of the organizers from the onset, and this had really shaken me. I had been extremely stressed for months, not sleeping well, constantly going over details in my head. Finally just when I had finished all the work and was getting excited to celebrate it, I became very ill. A week before the shows were about to open, I was hospitalized for severe pneumonia and flu.

As I sit here now and smell the spring air wafting through my window, I remember the same smell coming in at this time, when I was sick. The illness took hold from out of the blue. I didn’t have any previous health conditions and had never been this sick before. The doctors didn’t understand how someone my age, in good health, could become so sick so fast.

All images © Zinnia Naqvi 2020.