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Shaheer Zazai: SForEtoE
October 2023 – March 2024

Shaheer Zazais striking digital carpets transform imagery from ancient tribal carpet weaving from Afghanistan using a perhaps surprising tool: the ubiquitous computer software Microsoft Word. Rather than tying knots per square inch, Zazai makes thousands if not millions of manual keystrokes to compose his digital carpets, which mimic traditional Afghan weaving designs. Zazai has reconfigured SForEtoE (2021) especially for the Evergreen Cultural Centre lobby windows to incorporate the unique architectural features of this building. Inspired by the distinctive surfacewith its colourblock glass panels and silver mullionsZazai emphasizes the connection between the digital pixelated grid and the physical carpet grid by integrating Evergreens windows into this public artwork.

Images: Installation view of Shaheer Zazai: SForEtoE, exhibition at the Art Gallery at Evergreen, Evergreen Cultural Centre, 2023. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography.

About the Artist

Shaheer Zazai is an Afghan Canadian artist with a studio practice in both painting and digital media. His works focus on exploring the development of cultural identity in the present geopolitical climate and in the Afghan diaspora.  

Zazai received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University, Toronto, in 2011. He is a recipient of Ontario Arts Council grants and was a finalist for EQ Bank’s Emerging Digital Artists Award in 2018. Zazai has had several solo and group exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto; a group exhibition at Doris McCarthy Gallery, Scarborough, Ontario; and a solo exhibition at Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, New Brunswick. He will participate in an upcoming summer exhibition (2023) at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. 

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