Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Personal archives, public imperatives : in conversation with Zinnia Naqvi
Thursday, February 15, 2024 | Kalina Nedelcheva
Lens-based artist and filmmaker Zinnia Naqvi and I met by chance during the 2023 Mayworks Festival where she presented 'The Professor’s Desk' (2023), a project that told the stories of four cases of discrimination in Canadian universities. At the time, I was a Teaching Assistant at OCAD University and the outgoing Executive Director of Graduate Studies for the OCAD Student Union; the name of Naqvi’s exhibition piqued my interest due to my political involvement with the institution and my desire to research and work toward better futures for students and faculty. Part of my job was to navigate and mediate conflict, to anticipate and strategize campaigns, and to work toward building a more equitable academic and workplace environment. To do my job effectively meant that I needed to nurture 360-degree awareness—to analyze present conditions, to acknowledge the past, to plan for the future. Naqvi’s 'The Professor’s Desk' looked at the past but projected into the future.