Sara Niroobakhsh | Nava Waxman

Join us on Friday, May 10, 7 – 9 PM, for the opening of Sara Niroobakhsh: Zaghareet and Nava Waxman: Choreographed Marks. Artists will be in attendance. RSVP at

Sara Niroobakhsh, Zaghareet, 2017, film still. Courtesy of the artist and Ghada Khunji.

Sara Niroobakhsh: Zaghareet

May 4 – September 2, 2019

Ululations, known in Arabic as zaghareet, are loud, rhythmical, high-pitched howls capable of expressing lamentation, joy or reverence. When presented by multiple voices, zaghareet recall the pagan worship of hidden gods that play just beneath the surface of our collective consciousness. Their piercing sound transports us to a time when language was at its source and the truths of the universe were expressed elementally. In Niroobakhsh’s interactive, multi-channel video installation, looping and overlapping videos of women performing zaghareet respond to the movement of the visitor. This installation is part of Niroobakhsh’s ongoing exploration of globalizing femininities through her engagement with contemporary cultural practices in Iran and the Arab Middle East, and their intersection with social, political and archetypal arenas.

Curated by Mahmoud Obaidi

About the artist and curator

Iranian-born artist Sara Niroobakhsh is internationally recognized for her performative and visual concepts that engage the globalizing feminine psyche. Working in video, photography, painting and with found objects, Niroobakhsh evokes the feminine realm as she draws from the personal, mythological and cultural. She explores themes of beauty, isolation and fertility. Recent exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held at the Czech China Contemporary Museum in Beijing, La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and South Korea’s CICA Museum.

Mahmoud Obaidi is an Iraqi-Canadian artist and curator. After leaving Iraq in 1991, he obtained his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph and went on to complete diplomas in new media and film at institutions in Toronto and Los Angeles. Obaidi’s work may be found in many private and public collections and has been exhibited in museums and galleries globally, including the National Museum of Bahrain, Musée de l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul in Quebec. Through his curatorial work, Obaidi explores the hyphenated experiences of the next generation of global Middle Eastern artists.

Nava Waxman, Theatrical place for the unearthed, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Nava Waxman: Choreographed Marks

May 4 – September 2, 2019

Markham-based artist Nava Waxman presents a series of photographic works exploring the performative aspects of painting. Incorporating elements of performance, dance and visual arts, she uses the camera to document her staged performances. Employing theatrical strategies, she introduces objects into her performances as props, adding layers of meaning and visual cues to her work. Waxman is interested in ideas of movement, temporality and space in the creation of mark making gestures, and uses variation, repetition and sequence to establish a visual rhythm in her practice.

Curated by Anik Glaude

This project is part of right here | right now, an initiative to help foster the work of contemporary artists in York Region by providing them with exhibition opportunities and ongoing professional development. We would like to thank Suzy Lake for her participation in this mentorship program.

This exhibition is part of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

About the artist and curator

Nava Waxman is a Markham-based artist born in Beer Sheva, Israel. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Saint Louis University Museum of Art, St. Louis, Missouri; St. Stephen’s Cultural Center, Rome; and Walnut Contemporary, Toronto. Waxman holds a Bachelor of Social Science and Communication from The OPEN University of Tel-Aviv and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at York University.

A Franco-Ontarian, originally from Northern Ontario, Anik Glaude is the curator of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. She holds an MA in Museum and Gallery Studies from Newcastle University, UK and a BFA from the University of Ottawa. She has curated over twenty exhibitions, including Brendan Fernandes: In Position, Mother Tongue and Xiaojing Yan: Out from among the tranquil leaves which received the 2018 OAAG Exhibition Installation and Design Award.

Public Programs

Summer Exhibitions Opening Night | Sara Niroobakhsh and Nava Waxman
May 10 | 7 – 9 PM | Free
Join us for the opening of our new exhibitions with refreshments, an engaging gallery tour and more. Artists will be in attendance. RSVP

Lunch and Learn | Nava Waxman
May 15 | 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Free for Members, Non-Members $5 at the door. RSVP

Varley Art Gallery of Markham
216 Main Street Unionville
Markham, ON, L3R 2H1
905.477.7000 ext. 3261
@VarleyArtGallery | |

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is a municipal gallery with a vision to be a cultural hub in the City of Markham. We inspire local and national audiences to engage with art, both historical and contemporary, by presenting high quality and well-researched exhibitions as well as educational and artistic programs that are relevant to the communities we serve. We produce exhibitions that support the work of contemporary artists. Specifically, we support artists from York Region and seek to broaden access to the arts for diverse artists and communities.

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is an accessible venue.

Mon. (Jul. – Aug.) | 11 AM – 4 PM
Tue., Wed., Fri., Sun. | 11 AM – 4 PM
Thurs. | 11 AM – 8 PM
Sat. | 10 AM – 5 PM

Admission is FREE to all exhibitions.

Media Contact
Bowie Fan | 905.477.7000 ext. 3275 |