What’s New at SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) in 2014


Looking Back at 20 Years

2014 is set to be a milestone year in the history of SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre). SAVAC will celebrate twenty years of existence and ten years of Monitor: New South Asian Film + Video, SAVAC’s experimental film program. These two important and exciting landmarks in SAVAC’s history will serve as moments to pause and reflect on its contribution to the contemporary art world locally, nationally, and internationally. Additionally, this anniversary year will allow SAVAC to draw inspiration from its own history, to imagine possible futures.

We are proud to announce that the Ontario Trillium Foundation has awarded SAVAC three years of funding for its Mapping Genealogies, Building Futures project. The first year of the project will be focused on outreach to long-standing/established members of SAVAC and Desh Pardesh, a social-justice oriented arts festival that led to the ideation and formation of SAVAC. This outreach will culminate in interviews, which will be used to create an oral archive that explores themes around art, identity formation and social justice within our community. The Mapping Genealogies, Building Futures project will provide opportunities for meaningful and concrete engagement, inviting the membership of SAVAC into an active artist-run community. With the aid of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, SAVAC will be hiring an Outreach Coordinator to bring this project to fruition.

Monitor Turns 10

Monitor, SAVAC’s annual experimental film and video program, has carved out a unique place in Canada over the last decade. It has drawn participation from a growing community of international artists, curators and critics, initiating and extending dialogues around the shifting nature of South Asian politics, economies and landscape, through film and video. In its tenth year, there will be two components to Monitor: the annual on-screen program, as well as an off-screen component, in partnership with ASpace Gallery and Images Festival. In keeping with the theme of reflection, curator Shai Heredia has chosen works from the Monitor archive, asking each artist to reengage with their work from our contemporary social and political moment, through a reflective text that will compel new critical interpretations. The resulting exhibition, Monitor Reruns, looks to histories of South Asian film and video art in Canada, for insights into the attendant shifts in the politics, histories and identities that shape the South Asian diaspora and subcontinent.

Moving Forward

Within its organizational history, SAVAC has transformed from a grassroots arts collective that stemmed from an arts festival, to an institutionalized artist-run centre. Taking up the spirit of collectivity from which SAVAC originated, while accounting for the institutional nature of artist-run centres, SAVAC has introduced a non-hierarchical staff structure comprising three core positions: Executive Director, Artistic Director and Director of Communications.

In that vein, SAVAC is excited to announce the promotion of Aliya Pabani from Communications and Outreach Coordinator to Director of Communications. At a time when an organization’s ability to use networked media is becoming increasingly critical to building communities, it is important to value the role of communications toward that end. The communications person serves the aim of supporting an organization’s breadth and maintaining its vitality, by engaging with potential audiences before the programming even occurs. Given that objective, Aliya has been redesigning the SAVAC website to be more user-friendly and responsive across multiple platforms. She has increased our social media presence and devised other communications strategies to engage younger members who are more familiar with networked and digital media. Aliya’s new role as Director of Communications will allow us to have a more integrated approach to engaging with our membership as well interacting with our audiences.

SAVAC’s 2014 is going to be action-packed. This year’s programs will highlight lessons learned over the past two decades of identity-based arts production and institutional history in order to establish SAVAC within the trajectory of artist-run culture in Canada. This year will be full of reflection and building for the future. We are excited to to implement an innovative organizational structure, in order to present thought-provoking programming that will invite contributions to an ongoing discourse around identity-based art production.

SAVAC would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years.

Here’s to twenty more!

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