12Gates & PAAFF's Contemporary Video Art Exhibition 2022

Experimental, Contemporary video art
South and South-West Asia, North Afrika (SSWANA)

The 4th iteration of the Contemporary Video Art Exhibition celebrates contemporary video art—that is, contemporary art using recorded moving images—created by artists from or about South and South-West Asia, North Afrika (SSWANA). This 4th edition of the juried show will be co-presented by Twelve Gates Arts (12G) and the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF). Subjects and themes for the exhibit include queer, controversial, poetic, abstract, political, philosophical, uncensored – anything that stretches beyond conventional. We look forward to producing a thought-provoking and inspiring exhibit to follow the well-received exhibits in 2015, 2016, and 2019, which drew submissions from contemporary artists across the globe.

About the selectors, producers, curators, and jury:

Ayesha Ali Ahmed is a writer and freelance editor living in Chicago. She has a background in film editing, curation and arts journalism. Ayesha graduated from the London School of Economics with a MSc in Media and Communications and has consistently worked in creative fields since then. Her primary focus in all of these has been to use visual storytelling to raise and enhance understanding of the origins of social stigmas that relate to health, literacy, and cultural mores, particularly for women in the South Asian context.

Jenna Hamed is an artist and art worker based in Queens. Hamed obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master’s Degree in Arts Politics from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her work centers collaboration and public engagement through performance, image-making, and poetry.

Mehrin (Mir) Masud-Elias, who writes under the penname Mir Elias, is a poet, writer, lawyer and immigrant in the US from Dhaka, Bangladesh. She currently serves as the general counsel of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine. She has published poems in collected editions and journals and written essays for a Leeway Foundation grant-funded food blog. Her current collections of experimental poetry, Natural Alien and Apocalypsia, are in the submission process for poetry prizes. Mir is a co-founder of Twelve Gates Arts, a non-profit transnational arts organization as well as a member of the Board of Pasión y Arte, a contemporary Flamenco dance company. She co-hosts and curates the bi-monthly 12G Poetic Circle at Twelve Gates Arts. She is the recipient of the 2021 Peregrine Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Mir is a graduate of Amherst College (BA), Columbia Law School (JD) and the University of Pennsylvania (MBE, SCAN Certificate), and also completed coursework at CALTECH in Theoretical Physics.

Bhairavi Mehra is the Program Coordinator at Twelve Gates Arts. She was born and raised in Bombay, and graduated from Oberlin College in 2021 with a major in Cinema Studies and minors in Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. Bhairavi has found herself invested in work that is community and relationship-oriented, and is interested in how storytelling can be used to unearth obscured histories and transform our socio-cultural realities.

Atif Sheikh is co-founder of 12G and resident curator. Sheikh has curated art exhibitions such as "Not so black & white" 2010, "Cinephiliac" 2013, perform(art)ive 2015, Lived Experiences 2016, "I Bear Witness" 2016, "Take It Like A ... ; Contemporary Trends In The Aesthetics Of Violence” 2019, and co-curated "New Asian Futurisms" at Asian Arts Initiative 2019 and "Breathing Room" at Leonard Pearlstein Gallery 2020. He was on the jury for Women’s Voices Now Film Festival twice, on Fleisher Art Memorial’s Wind Challenge Exhibition in 2019, and 12G Contemporary Video Arts Exhibition since 2015.

Anula Shetty is an award-winning filmmaker and new media artist. Her recent work involves creating innovative, socially engaged participatory media art projects with communities using Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and mobile apps. Current projects include "Places of Power," an immersive documentary about people and places of belonging and power in North Philadelphia, and "Cosmic Egg," a poetic feature documentary about the desire for procreation set against the surreal landscape of assisted reproductive technology, egg harvesting and surrogacy in Mumbai.
Her work has been screened widely at festivals and museums including the Museum of Modern Art, The Flaherty Film Seminar, National Museum of Women In the Arts, and the Pacific Film Archive.

Jaret Vadera is a transdisciplinary artist whose work examines how images colonize the ways we see the worlds around and within us. Vadera hacks different visual systems, and reconfigures them to rupture, self-destruct, or open up parallel ways of seeing. His work is influenced by decolonial theory, science fiction, and the study of impossible objects.
In parallel, Vadera has worked as a curator, organizer, and writer on projects that focus on art as a catalyst for cultural change. Jaret Vadera lives and works between Brooklyn, Montreal, and New Delhi.

Arzhang Zafar is a writer and film programmer based in Philadelphia, currently serving as a programming director for the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Arzhang is originally from the Bay Area and has a background in video art and both critical and creative writing.

To be considered for 12G & PAAFF's Contemporary Video Art Exhibition, the filmmakers must describe how their submitted work relates to the SWANA region in the cover letter section.

All works must be under 20 minutes.

Please include a brief biography of the artist/filmmaker, and full details of the work including title, length, date of production, synopsis.

Works must have been completed within the past 2 years.

You may submit more than one work.

There is a submission fee of $7.00 USD. If this poses a barrier for you, please contact us via 12gArtFilm@twelvegatesarts.org to request a fee waiver.

You certify that you have full authorization for the use of the music in the submitted work.

You certify that you have full authorization to enter the submitted artwork into this festival.

You hold 12G & PAAFF's Contemporary Video Art Exhibition harmless from any damages to the submitted material, and harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from your entry.

All artworks selected for the festival grant 12G & PAAFF's Contemporary Video Art Exhibition the rights to use stills, and press materials from the film/work for promotional purposes.

Selection for the festival will be made by the Jury Committee.

Submitting your work to 12G & PAAFF's Contemporary Video Art Exhibition entails that you have read, understand, and agree to the submission guidelines listed above.

Twelve Gates Arts (12G) is a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organization created with the aim to showcase international multidisciplinary arts bound by the sensibilities of diasporic identity, especially the South Asian identity, and to create and promote projects in the community that cross geographic and cultural boundaries.

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  • Shirin Maleki

    It was a great experience to be a part of even though I could not be there in person.

    September 2022