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Awardee: Mariam Ghani

Visual Arts, 2015

Mariam Ghani’s work spans video, installation, performance, photography and writing, and frequently turns on memory, history, language, loss and reconstruction. Ghani’s projects often engage with places, ideas or institutions over long periods of time, and she maintains several long-standing collaborations: the experimental archive Index of the Disappeared (with Chitra Ganesh, since 2004), the video series Performed Places (with choreographer Erin Kelly and composer Qasim Naqvi, since 2006) and the Afghan Films online archive (with Pad.ma, since 2012). Exhibitions and screenings include the Rotterdam, Berlinale and CPH:DOX film festivals, dOCUMENTA (13) in Kabul and Kassel, the Sharjah and Liverpool Biennials, the Dhaka Art Summit, the National Gallery in DC, the CCCB in Barcelona, the Guggenheim in NYC, and solo presentations at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Indianapolis Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, and MoMA in New York. Recent texts have been published by Ibraaz, Paper Monument, OR Books, and Triple Canopy. Ghani teaches at CUNY and is a visiting artist at Yale Law School.

http://mariamghani.com

Project: What We Left Unfinished

During the years of Afghan Communism (1978-1991), Afghan filmmakers shot five fiction features that were never edited or screened. From remnants of these unfinished films, and from the stories of how they were commissioned, produced and canceled by various iterations of the Afghan Communist state, we can reconstruct both the truth of how the state existed and acted in those moments, and also its fictions, desires, fears and imaginaries. In What we left unfinished, Ghani reconnects the original filmmakers with their unfinished works to produce a film about filmmaking that plays on the gaps between the world on-screen and the lived histories around the films. What we left unfinished also considers what it might mean to finish the unfinished projects of the past—both artistic and political—in the present.