Shelly Bahl

Shelly Bahl

Shelly Bahl is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, educator, and decolonizing art trailblazer. She has been leading and participating in BIPOC and feminist artist-run culture in Toronto and NYC for over 25 years. She is a founding artist member of SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) and ZEN-MIX 2000: Pan-Asian Visual Arts Network in Toronto. She was the inaugural director of SAVAC from 1997-1999.

Bahl was born in Benares, India, and is currently based in New York City. Bahl received her BFA (Visual Art and Art History) from York University, Toronto, and her MA (Studio Art) from New York University. Her interdisciplinary work in drawing, painting, sculpture/ installation, performance, photography and video has appeared in many solo and group exhibitions in North America and internationally. Currently, she is the Visiting Artist/ Co-Curator of the Be(Coming) The Museum project at the Lahore Museum in Pakistan.

Her art practice explores the strange and surreal aspects of cultural hybridity and old and new forms of colonization. She is interested in the global transmission of iconographies and other forms of visual culture. She also investigates the surrealistic experiences of women who lead enigmatic trans-cultural lives. These narratives are based in facts and fictions rooted in specific cultural histories, which she then re-contextualizes and re-imagines.

Her artwork can be viewed at:


Archive Creation Residency - Reflection
Rungh’s Archive Creation Residency virtually gathered artists Serena Lukas Bhandar, Farheen Haq, Shelly Bahl and Zinnia Naqvi as they reflect on conversations about memory, archive, family, relations, and intergenerational knowledge exchange.
Tracing Contours: Canadian South Asian Contemporary Arts 1990s – 2020s
Shelly Bahl, Farheen Haq and Jordan Strom in conversation with moderator Zool Suleman at the Libby Leshgold gallery at Emily Carr University February 9, 2023.