By Wendy Elliott
Tazeen Qayyum was not sure what to expect visiting Canning.
Before the Toronto-based artist brought her work to the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, she went first to Google.
“When I did the research, I found Canning has a population of 800,” she said. “It’s amazingly beautiful.”
Qayyum conducted a workshop on miniature painting when she was at the centre recently.
“They were very interested,” she said of the group.
A Grade 5 class from Coldbrook School also visited the gallery on a school tour and were fascinated by what Qayyum calls the “bug aspect.”
“A dead cockroach motif is repeated in my work to simultaneously attract and repulse; commenting on human rights violations and fatalities as a result of globalization and war of our times,” she said.
One parent pointed out to her that Nova Scotian children are not familiar with cockroaches, so the Pakistanti–born artist commented, “you have a different audience where you are.”
After 10 years in Canada, Qayyum has been painting insects since 2002. She came to Canada a decade ago.
“It still goes on. I still keep finding things to say,” she said.
“I borrow the language of entomology, and mimic insect museum displays, using display cases, real entomology pins and labels, to explore how categories and classifications, used in archiving practices, are similar to political propaganda.”
Qayyum appreciated the fact that her arts centre hosts brought her on a tour around the Wolfville and Canning area.
She received her BFA in visual arts from the National College of Arts Lahore, Pakistan in 1996. Her work has been shown internationally in both solo and group exhibitions.
Her art has been featured at the Sotheby’s and the Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction in New York.
Qayyum was also awarded a UNESCO bursary to work and exhibit in Vienna.