A common icebreaker asks of us: share two truths and a lie.
- According to the quiz results out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, I am a magpie.
- In grade ten, a province-wide aptitude test suggested “curator” as my number one career option.
- Aisle Seat > Window Seat > Middle Seat
When we saw mynah birds dancing around in the sprinklers that kept the parks across Dubai unnaturally verdant, we counted them:
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.
Across the varied curatorial methods, three questions tend to be in motion:
How am I caring for this work so it can carry forward to tell its story again?
How am I being courageous in how I’m pulling together the stories these works crave to tell?
How am I thoughful of the audiences and their complexities in coming to these works?
I’ve been drawn to mobile methodologies as a form of research-creation, particularly for me, walking as a way of reconnecting with land and working through grief. I’m particularly interested in how we choreograph ourselves out of cycles of pain into rhythms that nurture, support, and support an ecology that is sustain, in context of how the land remembers.
I haven’t seen a mynah bird in a long while. The last time I remember circling a roundabout in Dubai, I was 12 years old. But for the last few months in Whitehorse, I’ve been running into magpies.
Magpies are putzers.
Magpies fuss and adjust.
I think magpies would make excellent curators.
Civics (0.5 credit), Careers (0.5 credit)
I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with my grandpa. Like many conversations, I didn’t know it was important at the time. We were sitting by his rose garden. He was drinking tea, reading one of the many local newspapers that just got dropped off. He took off his glasses and asked me, “how do you ask someone of their family name in Marathi?”. I responded in my broken Marathi. He nods, and asked, “now, how do you wish them our new year’s greetings?”
That memory to me, is inked hands from reading the newspaper in the humid monsoon season.
That memory to me, is the gentle fragrance of the roses in bloom.
That memory to me grounds me in the teachings in my family, around relations and relationality, and the importance of markings across lifecycles.
These teachings continue to be nurtured twenty years later, and more recently, I’ve been able to translate them into my restless curatorial interests around how preservation and fermentation have taught me the importance of slowing down, being in sync with the lifecycles that the seasons and the land bring along, and finding groundedness in that intention. In some ways, preservation and fermentation serve me in adopting what I can in terms of a land-based arts practice. It allows me to practice patience with myself.
I’m disciplined as an urban planner.
I remember in my first week of university, I knew I would never work as an urban planner.
I remember telling myself, “this makes sense as where you need to be right now”. It helped me move through it.
In hindsight, I understand why I stuck with it. I saw the study of urban planning as a way to understand the context in which our world is built in. It allowed some sense-making around the vast questions of public memory and belonging that critical geographers investigate. I don’t think that sense-making felt very satisfying, especially not when I was told repeatedly, “we plan for land-use, not people”.
Thinking through our relationship to place, and what it tells us about how we belong was fostered for me at a young age. Every summer, our family would take up an airplane row, me at the window seat, my mom in the middle seat, and my dad in the aisle seat. My mom and I would strain our necks peeking out the window, trying to name familiar sights. She trained my eye to be observant, to be in tune with the everychanging rhythms of a place. She instilled in me, that if I was feeling out of that rhythm, to find water. Sit with water. Listen to how it is moving, and what is is telling us. Water helps ground us.
In third year of planning school, I learned that water was meant to be managed, controlled, and regulated. I’m worried that our relationship with our non-human relations is rotting.