Lights on the Exchange Artist Spotlight #2

Sit down with Faisal Anwar, a hybrid artist, curator Karachi Biennial 22, and creative technologist who is lighting up the Exchange.

Introducing Faisal Anwar, a hybrid professional who works at the intersection of art, design, innovation, and emerging technologies. He is an idea person, a dreamer who lives and breathes in experimental spaces, always searching for ways to connect with others and the world around him. Through his work, Faisal is constantly exploring and questioning the role of art and artists in contemporary times.

Becoming an artist is a lifelong journey, as Faisal knows. His journey started when he was young and growing up in Pakistan. His mother, who was unable to continue her studies, introduced him to art and encouraged him to pursue higher education. He went on to study at the National College of Arts in Lahore and graduated with a degree in Communication Design. This experience helped shape his perception of the world and gave him the confidence to explore different forms of artistic expression, such as performance and experimental puppetry.

After moving to Canada with his wife, Tazeen Qayyum, who is also an artist, Faisal began to focus on interactive art. He attended the Interactive Art and Entertainment program at the Canadian Film Center (CFC Media Lab), where he had the opportunity to collaborate with experts from academia and practice. The CFC Media Lab was instrumental in shaping Faisal’s artistic practice and allowed him to explore and create digital narratives and interactive storytelling.

Faisal’s work is all about connecting people who are separated by geography, time zones, social status, and cultural barriers. He begins each new project by posing questions for himself and his audience, using new technologies and the digital space to facilitate this exchange. Faisal believes the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way art is perceived, created, and viewed, and he sees this as an opportunity to have an engaging dialogue that reflects these shifts. He believes that art should be an active process, with audiences and communities playing a role in its creation.

Faisal Anwar
Faisal’s piece “A Place I Call Home”

Faisal finds inspiration in the times we live in, the integration of technology into our lives and the shifts in human behaviour that come with it. He is always fascinated by the flawless elements in nature and the complexities of urban spaces, digital encounters, and the consequent changes in human behaviour. He’s inspired by the works of artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, David Rokeby, and Refik Anodol, to name a few.

One of Faisal’s favourite projects was the Labverde Residency in the Amazon rainforest in 2019. He was awarded this residency to research and work with scientific climate data. With a group of artists and scientists, he lived in the deep rainforest for ten days, which was a unique and life-changing experience. This project allowed him to combine his passion for art and environmentalism and to create a piece that reflected his concerns about the impact of climate change on the world.

The piece Faisal is presenting for Lights on the Exchange, “A Place I Call Home”, invites people to share old or new cell phone pictures utilizing the tag #APlaceICallhomeProject to construct a collaborative wall of memories. The images collected under the hashtag will be projected as an interactive, large-scale piece in the Exchange District.

In his words, this piece “is an experimental responsive, dynamic work that uses modern communication technologies and the power of images to examine how objects, spaces, and encounters shape memories, real or fictional, and their effects on the perception of what a ‘home’ is. It also recognizes how personal experiences construct identities, reveal how we know someone or form an association with the city and render new ways of understanding cultures, time, and life.”

Faisal is excited to be bringing new narratives and stories to the Exchange District.  You can view his piece A Place I Call Home at the south wall of 492 Main Street and learn more about the project here.

Or check out more of his work here:

Innovation lab:
Artist Collective:
IG: faisalanwarstudio

A Place I Call Home is curated by Manufactering Entertainment and proudly supports United Way Winnipeg, whose donors help create a welcoming community for newcomers and refugees. By giving today, you’re opening the door to opportunity for everyone who calls Winnipeg home. Donate now.