Pansee Atta is an Egyptian-Canadian visual artist, curator, and researcher currently living and working on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabe nation in Ottawa. Her work examines themes of representation, migration, archives, and decolonization using a variety of new media.
Previous residencies include the Impressions Residency Award at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the SparkBox Studio Award, and at the Atelier of Alexandria. Previous exhibitions have taken place in collaboration with SAW Video in Ottawa, at Galerie La Centrale Powerhouse and Z Art Space in Montréal, the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and other contemporary Canadian arts spaces. Her curatorial projects include UTOPIAS, a community-based performance art festival in Kingston, Ontario, and Home/Making, an exhibition at the Canada Council Art Bank. Her ongoing research and activist practice centers community-based responses to colonial projects of collection, display, study.
Contact at: pansee [dot] atta [@] gmail.com
I am drawn to archives of violence: museums, bodies, cities, texts, and the absences in them are all repositories of memory and trauma, and it is only by re-imagining them that we can begin the reparative work of global decolonization. Using a diversity of new media forms, I strive to insert my body and those of others who labour, struggle, reproduce, and resist into historical canons and liberatory futures in which they are currently unwelcome. The archive may be unyielding, but I envision my work in the small fissure that must form before it gives way.
This practice becomes a way of stripping back the soft-focus appeal of nostalgia, nationalism, and social order to meditate on the violence they can inflict. It is also a way of tracing family histories, genealogies of my own and those of pernicious social constructs to draw attention to their origins in readily-consumed global visual cultures. These strange, distorted images become a way of thinking and feeling through my own misrepresentation and erasure, untidily considering both complicity and resistance in diverse cultural spheres.