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THE CLASS OF 2021: Nadia Mariyan



Nadia Mariyan

Concordia University


Drawing from poet Ed Roberson and his radical departure from the romantic landscape tradition, To See the Earth Before the End of the World places a sense of urgency on recognizing our rapidly evolving ways of experiencing life. Moving away from its intended use, I face the webcam both outwards and closer inwards, straying away from the normative display of the physical self on webcam. I specifically focus on the haptic nature of experience, and how that physicality is transforming while we increasingly live our day-to-day lives on screen. Importance is placed on the disconnection of our senses when on screen and attempts to express our longing for touch. I push haptic, physical experiences through the screen medium. I display a longing for a physical dimension of screen experience. I question our new reality, our new relationship to reality, our new screen sensibility.


Sound plays a role in our experience of physicality. I draw from composer Miya Masaoka’s use of biofeedback to produce “plant sounds” in real-time on a modular synthesizer. I extend this exploration of nature versus machine with the function of using my noisy 2011 MacBook laptop and it’s built in microphone to pick up the sounds of my exploration into the garden.


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Nadia Mariyan grew up in Tkaronto and later moved to Tiohtià:ke to complete a BFA at Concordia University. They have since lived on the unceded traditional territories of the Lkwungen-speaking peoples. Nadia currently lives in-between.


Nadia’s visual art practice often engages with the environment, relationships to landscapes, and with issues of (un)belonging to place. Themes of migration, movement, and transformation between time and space are apparent in their work. Nadia is influenced by their background of coming from a English-Settler heritage on one side of their family and a Trinidadian multiracial heritage on the other. Nadia is also informed by their position of being a non-binary person and not a single being. They are interested in the complexities of individuation and refer to collectivity by often alluding to the influences that impact their thought processes and inform their work.


In Nadia’s practice, images and other objects are often re-purposed and re-edited as Nadia believes that the past informs the present as much as the present informs the past. Nadia’s personal archival images become malleable objects and their interpretations change over time.


Within photography, Nadia sometimes shoots large format analog as the time involved and the physicality of the format are important in their own process of understanding their positionality. The method of ‘colourizing’ their black and white negatives speaks to the subjectivity of photography and of experience more broadly. Nadia often projects their work onto various surfaces to create ‘other worlds’ that point to the variations of the self-existing in a space and as a tool to determine their own landscape in the midst of uncertainty.


1. In the Garden #1

2. In the Garden #2

3. In the Garden #3

4. In the Garden #4

5. In the Garden $5

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