The Day After

Featuring texts by Maryam Jafri with contributions by Jean Genet, Kapwani Kiwanga, Helihanta Rajaonarison, S.N.S. Sastry, Jürg Schnieder, students and researchers from the University of Toronto, an introduction by Christine Shaw, and black and white archival photographs throughout


This micropublication was produced on the occasion of Maryam Jafri's exhibition, The Day After, January 13 - March 6, 2016.

Curated by Mélanie Bouteloup and Virginie Bobin

Conceived by Bétonsalon - Centre for art and research, Paris, France, co-produced by Tabakalera, San Sebastian, Spain, and presented by the Blackwood Gallery


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The Day After takes root in Maryam Jafri’s ongoing project Independence Day 1934-1975 (2009-present), an installation composed of photographs taken on the first independence day in former European colonies across Asia and Africa between 1934 and 1975. The photos are sourced from the countries themselves (in order to highlight, in the artist’s words, “how post-colonial states in Asia and Africa preserve the founding images of their inception as independent nations”) and display striking similarities despite disparate geographical and temporal origins, revealing a political model exported from Europe and in the process of being cloned throughout the world. The installation gathers images collected from 29 Asian and African archives, juxtaposed according to a specific grid around categories of events. In her arrangement, Jafri emphasizes the generic character of the rituals and ceremonies held during the 24-hour twilight period when a territory transforms into a nation-state. The grid, reminiscent of both photo-conceptualism and the storyboard medium, is broken, disturbing the ideological order at play in the images and suggesting non-linear readings.

Artist Biography

Maryam Jafri is an artist working in video, performance and photography, with a specific interest in questioning the cultural and visual representation of history, politics and economy. Over the last years, she notably investigated the connections between the production of goods and the production of desire (Avalon, 2011); the elaboration of historical narratives through a post-colonial perspective (Siege of Khartoum, 1884, 2006); the effects of globalization on working conditions (Global Slum, 2012) or the political stakes of food networks (Mouthfeel, 2014). Informed by a research based, interdisciplinary process, her artworks are often marked by a visual language posed between film and theatre and a series of narrative experiments oscillating between script and document, fragment and whole. The Day After is her first solo exhibition in Canada.

Previous solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Basel, Bétonsalon (Paris), Gasworks (London), Bielefelder Kunstverein (Bielefeld), Galerie Nova (Zagreb), Beirut (Cairo), the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (Berlin), and Malmö Konst Museum (Malmö). Her work has also been featured extensively in international group exhibitions, including at Beirut Art Center, 21er Haus (Vienna), Institute for African Studies (Moscow) and Contemporary Image Collective (Cairo) in 2015; Camera Austria (Graz), Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), CAFAM Biennial (Beijing), Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (Miami) in 2014; Museum of Contemporary Art (Detroit), Mukha (Antwerp), and Blackwood Gallery (Mississauga) in 2013; Manifesta 9 (Genk), Shangai Biennial and Taipei Biennial (Taipei) in 2012, among others. She was an artist-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation in London in 2014, as part of the program "The Politics of Food". In 2015, she was a part of the Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennial and the Götenburg Biennial. She lives and works between New York and Copenhaghen.


Texts by Maryam Jafri with contributions by Jean Genet, Kapwani Kiwanga, Helihanta Rajaonarison, S.N.S. Sastry, Jürg Schnieder, and students and researchers from the University of Toronto

Introduction: Christine Shaw

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The Blackwood Gallery would like to thank Bétonsalon – Centre for art & research, Tabakalera, Films Division of India, The African Photography Initiative, and Kamel Lazaar Foundation, as well as all the researchers and contributors to the exhibition.


The Blackwood Gallery is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Department of Visual Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga.



Related Projects

The Day After
January 13 - March 6, 2016
Maryam Jafri
Curated by Mélanie Bouteloup and Virginie Bobin