Zainub Verjee was invited to speak at an event remediating the second wave feminist archive, collaborating with students, activists and scholars called the Laboratory of Feminist Memory Bar.
The Laboratory of Feminist Memory which is part of a research centre at Ryerson University called the Studio for Media Activism & Critical Thought. The Laboratory of Feminist Memory is a multiracial, intergenerational research collective that is preserving and remediating some of the second wave feminist media archive.
An important member of the Women in Focus Society in Vancouver, an influential organization of the second wave of Feminism in Canada (1970s-90), Zainub spoke about her work and the recent passing away of an important feminist Saba Mahmood.
“Talking of the youthfulness, especially when we are speaking of the intellectual work where our arguments have just reshaped some major premise of a well held assumption, a sudden death is more than a bolt from blue! It’s a loss we cannot bear but endure with the best way to heed the intellectual legacy that this powerful thinker – Saba Mahmood has left us with. Focusing on the particular work–Politics of piety–as it is so crucial and critical to our understanding of how to best address the pious women who follows her religion on her own volition yet is subjugated under the liberal premise as part of suppression.
Anthropologist Saba Mahmood, who died on March 10, 2018, of pancreatic cancer, aged 56, changed the course of scholarship in two main areas: feminist thinking and secularism. She challenged the foundations that undergird that assumption in the first place, and by shaking the core of liberal feminism, a core that has a way of re-emerging in modified form, again and again in scholarship and public discourse alike”
Zainub’s talk titled, Three Watermelons, One Hand: the Feminists read things from when they were young(er), she also spoke about one of the most critical events of the second wave feminism in Canada–In Visible Colours– invoking the works of Lubaina Himid and Nora Patrich. Nora designed the winning poster for In Visible Colours, the groundbreaking film festival and symposium “In Visible Colours” held in 1989 in Vancouver, BC. The festival featured films and video works by International Women of Colour and Third World Women. I spoke about my connection with Lubaina in 1980s recently in an interview with Rosemary Heather while talking about the making of In Visible Colours. This was part of the same discourse that my peers in UK were articulating that offered a political agency to their practice.
The 2018 Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts Laureate, Midi Onodera also spoke at the event. Interestingly, In Visible Colours had showcased, Midi Onodera’s work, the Displaced View (1989) which launched her reputation as a thoughtful, daring filmmaker at a time when there was very little diversity in Canadian art.