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Archive Creation Residency

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.
Image by Zinnia Naqvi. Farheen Haq, Shelly Bahl and Zinnia Naqvi meet in Toronto to talk about the residency. March 18, 2023
Image by Zinnia Naqvi. Farheen Haq, Shelly Bahl and Zinnia Naqvi meet in Toronto to talk about the residency. March 18, 2023.

Screen shot by Farheen Haq. Rungh Archive Creation Residency (virtual) with Serena Lukas Bhandar, Shelly Bahl, Zinnia Naqvi, Farheen Haq, and Zool Suleman. March 17, 2023.
Screen shot by Farheen Haq. Rungh Archive Creation Residency (virtual) with Serena Lukas Bhandar, Shelly Bahl, Zinnia Naqvi, Farheen Haq, and Zool Suleman. March 17, 2023.
The artists in the Archive Creation Residency focus upon the text and image of “In My Mother’s Image” by Sur Mehat from The Roots Issue, Volume 2, No. 1 & 2 (July 1993) as a site for future creative work to be produced by the residency artists.

Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_
Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_.
Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_
Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_.
Image
Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_.
Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_
Zinnia Naqvi and Shelly Bahl – In process – Rungh Archive Creation Residency – Posted July 30 @Instagram by @zsnax_.
Image Credit: Shelly Bahl – screen shot #1 – Rungh ‘zine’ launch event – November 9, 2023
Image Credit: Shelly Bahl – screen shot #1 – Rungh ‘zine’ launch event – November 9, 2023.
Image Credit: Shelly Bahl – screen shot #2 – Rungh ‘zine’ launch event – November 9, 2023
Image Credit: Shelly Bahl – screen shot #2 – Rungh ‘zine’ launch event – November 9, 2023.

Shelly Bahl

This artist residency at Rungh has been a journey back into my own development as an artist and the parallel and intertwined development of a revolutionary South Asian Canadian arts community. 30+ years of arts, activism, and rigorous inquiry and analysis. Our intergenerational group of four artists has been looking backwards and forwards, as these vital shifts to the landscape of Canadian art are still underfoot. 30 years later, it’s sobering to see that many of the conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion are still the same and that significant decolonization efforts have resulted in glacial change, but I am inspired by the groundwork that has been built by my elders and peers, and upon which the next generations can continue to build.

The framework for our residency is inspired by Rungh’s Roots publication, Volume 2, No. 1 & 2 (July 1993). It frames my own artistic goals of producing art within community. A community that is intersectional, widespread, and critical to my understanding of myself as an artist over the years. I have always been searching for roots, and it’s taken time to realize that I, and we, were planting communal seeds.

Farheen Haq

Being a part of Rungh’s Archive Creation Residency has been an important experience of artistic community building for me. In digging through the Rungh archive there is so much inspiration, deep reflection and relevant questions for artists and communities today. This is an archive that needs to be shared and discussed. Through rich conversations with artists Serena Bandar, Shelly Bahl and Zinnia Naqvi and Rungh director Zool Suleman, I have been moved by the depth of inquiry and praxis documented in the Rungh archive. I have also felt part of something bigger and less alone.

The process of this residency has been key in helping me to remember that the work I do and my experience as a racialized artist is not mine alone. Over the course of this residency, I have had the opportunity to hear other artists' experiences of working in the art world, with their struggles and joys of working through content about family, identity, and their different locations within communities. This has been very affirming. I have appreciated the intergenerational age range of the artist team.

We remarked again and again that so many of the issues covered in early issues of Rungh magazine were so topical, even though they were published 30 years ago. A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. What this residency has done for me is to help me locate myself within something bigger. Being with Zinnia, Serena, Shelly and Zool over this past year has reminded me of the power of artistic communities and spaces that bring us together to remember, share and create.

Zinnia Naqvi

This residency with Rungh has been a valuable time for us to gather and consider the words of many figures who were groundbreaking in South Asian Canadian Art, and shaped the communities we work in today. It is so amazing to see their reflections and unwavering criticism in print, which is such a rare commodity today. I find it startling to read that many of the concerns of artists 30 years ago are the same as ours, and have not progressed as much as we would have hoped. The conversations between myself, Serena, Farheen and Shelly were invaluable moments to voice our collective experiences, insights, worries and hopes for the future.

Serena Lukas Bhandar

In this empowering residency, I've felt so engaged and held and seen as an artist and writer of the South Asian diaspora not just by my fellow residents, but also through the words of the physical issues themselves from the Rungh archive. Reading the experiences of queer and otherwise marginalized desi folk in Canada in the 1990s reminds me that, though our cultures and communities have changed in some ways, there are so many stories and knowledge in our past writings that immediately speak to our lives today. This residency has also underlined for me that the relationships we cultivate with peers and mentors are truly what produce us as artists capable of producing meaningful art.