Home » The Rise of Cambridge, Waterloo: Shirin Neshat

The Rise of Cambridge, Waterloo: Shirin Neshat

Is Cambridge/Waterloo the new arts capital of Canada?

With rumours of the Venice Biennale crossing the pond, the Musagetes Foundation, the excellent Cambridge Galleries – currently showing a nice exhibit of Italian design maverick Enzo Mari‘s work – and the Perimeter Institute, the region is getting behind the arts in a way that leaves other regions in the dust.


Enzo Mari: 16 Pesci Wooden Puzzle (Sedici Animali). Image: nova68.com

This year, the Perimeter Institute continues its excellent series of talks, which last year hosted filmmaker Peter Greenaway, by bringing in Iranian-born photographer and filmmaker Shirin Neshat.


The artist Shirin Neshat. Image: kopenhagen.dk

Art Talk with Shirin Neshat at Perimeter Institute
Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

Order the ALMOST SOLD OUT tickets online HERE or call the Perimeter Institute at 519.883.4480 (2-5 p.m. Monday to Friday)


Shirin Neshat, Untitled (Rapture), 1999. Image: asuartmuseum.asu.edu

Shirin Neshat is well known for her series Women of Allah, a collection of photographs showing the faces, hands and feet of Iranian women enveloped in chadors, cradling guns and wearing lace-like filigreed script of Farsi poetry across their exposed skin.

Neshat’s powerful art is characterized by a visual lyricism and elegant beauty that is always captivating and occasionally confusing.

My own work tends to have a very sharp knife, but in a quiet way,” she explains.

As part of her Perimeter Art Talk, Neshat will show scenes from her newest feature-length film which is a work-in-progress.

Shirin Neshat is represented by Barbara Gladstone Gallery. Please click HERE for gallery website.

4 Responses to “The Rise of Cambridge, Waterloo: Shirin Neshat”

  1. Alf Bogusky says:

    Hey thanks for the nice ink on the great art activity in our area. We are all proud of our efforts. Though one thing in your article is a bit short- you left out any mention of Kitchener which is at the center of that matrix of cool arts communities. Literally and figuratively. There are three cities working in synergy. Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge!

    Its KW/AG (Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery) in partnership with the Perimeter Institute which is doing the fabulous visual art lecture series which brings Shirin Neshat and so many other fine artists. And KWAG is in Kitchener along with many other great Kitchener visual arts orgnaizations, artists and activities! (CAFKA, Globe Studios, Open Ears Festival, Render at UW, Artery Gallery etc. to name but a few)

    Cheers and thanks again for your good insight. Remember for the future that if you propose that the centre is here, (and indeed we and our colleagues in the surrounding cities all modestly share that view) Kitchener is at the centre of it all that!
    Alf Bogusky
    Director
    Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery

  2. Murray Quinn says:

    If charging $20 to attend an artists talk is what it takes to be considered the ‘arts capital of Canada’, then Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge can have it. I just attended a weekend of talks in Grande Prairie, AB, featuring some of Canada’s finest artists and arts writers (including Robert Enright, who is hosting the Neshat talk), and it was absolutely free. The KWAG talks at the Perimeter Institute sound more like a perk for the privileged.

  3. Thanks to both the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery and the Perimeter Institute for organizing what was truly an inspiring lecture by Shirin Neshat. It was truly worth the drive from Toronto on a very cold night.

    Neshat’s work is powerful, poetic and beautiful, and while deeply personal also speaks to global issues and concerns. We too rarely get the opportunity to hear internationally recognized artists speak so honestly and personally about their work.

    The arts community needs a variety of venues and opportunities to engage and participate in the arts. While it is wonderful that some of these events and opportunities are free, there are costs associated with inviting artists to our communities, as well as in planning and organizing public events. From the energy that was evident in the theatre following Neshat’s talk, I would venture to say that most if not all of the 200 individuals in attendance felt that they were privileged, not because they were able to afford the $20 ticket, but because they were able to spend two and half hours in what felt like an intimate conversation with one of the most interesting contemporary artists of our time.

    Angela Brayham
    Director / Curator
    Brayham Contemporary Art

  4. Murray Quinn says:

    My comments around the $20 fee to attend the Neshat talk have nothing to do with the energy and excitement that I’m sure were evident following this event; rather, the issue is one of accessibility. As a publicly funded institution, KWAG has an obligation to provide equal opportunities to all of it constituents, and charging a $20 fee for this event is high enough to make it exclusionary. Lectures and talks are an important part of any museums education program, and should be free and open to all. The fact that the talk ‘felt like an intimate conversation with one of the most interesting contemporary artists of our time’ is all the more reason to make these types of experiences available to everyone, rather than it justifying the admission fee.

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