an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 20-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Liam Maloney. Location: Toronto, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2020.

MEET with artist Tazeen Qayyum curated by TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.

Cover quyyum
1
HOW DO YOU PUT AN END TO WAR?
2
We think this military operation will end it but it’s actually giving birth to more underground organizations, more radicalization.
3
THE MORE YOU’RE TRYING TO ERADICATE IT, THE MORE IT SPREADS AND ADAPTS.
4
And everything you do to stop it has the opposite effect.
5
IT’S LIKE US TRYING TO GET RID OF HOUSEHOLD COCKROACHES. THEY BECOME IMMUNE TO PESTICIDES.
6
I find them fascinating. They represent our fear of cultures and people we don’t understand and are universally rejected. I also saw them as a way to address the issue of human life being reduced to nothing.
7
I built entomology boxes for my cockroach paintings, with labels that follow the universal rules used by entomologists. There are very specific ways of noting the country, province, location, dates, and collectors. In one work, I documented 10 days of civilian casualties in Iraq through these somewhat cryptic labels.
8
COCKROACHES FOR ME DON’T REPRESENT GOOD OR EVIL. THEY COULD BE THE OPPRESSOR OR THE OPPRESSED.
9
The scientific name for the household cockroach is Periplaneta americana, because an American scientist labeled it. But it’s not native to America: it immigrated through the slave trade.
10
I’M TRYING TO UNDERSTAND OUR SHIFTING ROLES AND THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF VIOLENCE.
11
12
TRAINING AS A MINIATURE PAINTER CHANGED ME.
13
I trained for four years in Lahore, which has the most prestigious art school in Pakistan. It’s rooted in traditional art but also shaped a whole new generation of contemporary artists such as Shahzia Sikander.
14
The only way you learn miniature is by copying masters. You sit for hours, working on one painting for months. You have to be or become a perfectionist.
15
I love the storytelling in miniature painting. There are all these small elements that are symbolic or have hidden meaning. But where I derive my pleasure from is really the final steps, when you go into the finest details, like the tiny legs of an insect.
16
WHEN YOU’RE DOWN TO THE ONE-HAIRED BRUSH, YOUR FOCUS IS IN THE TIP OF THAT BRUSH...
17
...THERE’S NO MARGIN FOR ERROR. AT THAT POINT, YOUR BREATHING ALMOST STOPS.
18
Repetition is a part of the process. Even in the slightest one-inch square, you’re just repeating a stroke for a great length of time. Repetition is powerful. In many religious rituals, it’s used as a way to gain enlightenment.
20
THERE’S A CONNECTION BETWEEN REPETITION & UNDERSTANDING. IT GIVES YOU ANOTHER WAY OF THINKING.