Abedar Kamgari, Artist – Hamilton, Toronto

Abedar Kamgari is an artist, curator, and arts worker based in Hamilton and Toronto. She makes performance art, sculptures, textiles, and videos. She intentionally engages tactile, repetitive, and labour-intensive artmaking strategies to reflect on contexts and conditions of displacement and diaspora. Recent projects explore body memory, complicated inheritances, border spaces, and the idea of distance. Her current research is inspired by a play written by her father, feminist writings, archeological ruins, and relationships to land.
Abedar holds a BFA (2016) and MFA (2022) in interdisciplinary studio and has performed, screened, and exhibited her work across Ontario. Her piece, Facing the Fortress, is currently on view 24/7 at 506 Dotzert Court in Waterloo as part of CAFKA.23. Upcoming projects include an exhibition at Artcite Windsor from August 18 to September 30 and an installation with Nuit Blanche Etobicoke on September 23.

  1. Mulberries

One of my favourite summertime activities is to snack on mulberries during nighttime walks. I love how the fallen fruit coat the soles of my white sneakers, staining them purple. I love waiting for my eyes to adjust so I can discern the ripe berries in the dark. I love the smell of them. I even love the way tall trees in my neighbourhood taunt me with juicy berries on branches agonizingly out of reach.

  1. Scaffolding

I am obsessed with scaffolding! It’s everywhere I look, yet it looks different every time. I first began noticing scaffolds at historic sites I would visit on road trips with my dad. Sometimes the scaffold would stay up for decades, seemingly without any movement on a supposed restoration project. Other times, the scaffold would appear comically large in comparison to the meagre ruins that remained. I started to wonder whether the surviving monuments were more important or these elaborate structures that surround and maintain them?

  1. Public iron pour

A few weeks ago, the Canadian Society of Contemporary Iron Arts (CSCIA), a new collective of artists working with cast iron, hosted an outdoor iron pour at the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology. They melted down old radiators in their cupolette furnace (nicknamed Ruby) and poured bright red liquid iron into a variety of moulds – including simple scratch tile moulds that kids and adults could carve. It’s so amazing to experience complex and labourious art processes such as this in the public sphere, for both entertainment and education.

  1. Crows

(photo: Charlit Floriano)

I spent some time in Halifax recently and was thrilled to see crows everywhere. Crows are beloved creatures in Iranian culture and appear often in stories and songs. Every time I hear one caw-cawing away, I imagine it has just come home from school and is telling me about its day.

  1. Old maps

I have been researching old maps as a way of broadening my imagination of the function and look of maps. The image above is a circular world map (c. 1154) by Arab geographer Mohammad al-Idrisi, with south oriented at the top. The world is surrounded by ocean and ringed by mountains. The image below is a Circular Ch’onhado (“All Under Heaven”) world map from about 1800 that depicts both the known geographical earth and imagined heavens. This particular type of map is unique to Korea and emerged in response to the proliferation of Western geographical knowledge.

(Source for map images: Clarke, Victoria and Rosie Pickles, ed. 2020. Maps. London: Phaidon Press)