Patching Seas of War: Convivial Culture and the Joy of Defiance

When and Where

Friday, December 02, 2022 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm
William Doo Auditorium
New College
45 Willcocks, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7


Patching Seas of War is an interdisciplinary, participatory, art-based research exhibition and symposium which patches memories and stories of state violence, conflict, war, and resistance across the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas. Through cultural production, curation, discussion and analysis, the exhibit aims to document, memorialize, and address the destructive effects of state violence and oppression from Iran, Kurdistan, Lebanon to Palestine.

Culture is a significant site for struggle in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and a central space for politics and expression. In the MENA region creating culture in the context of colonialism, imperialism, occupation, heteropatriarchal violence, and fundamentalism has been an essential creative and curating tool in opposition to dominant structures of power.

The exhibition also explores the pleasure, the Joy of Defiance, in women and gender nonconforming people’s stories. In this multi-art-exhibit, the artists conceptualize pleasure as a “public feeling” generated in moments of convivial encounter. Drawing from Laleh Khalili (2016), here, pleasure exceeds the individual’s psychic or corporeal enjoyments, and translates into the kind of enjoyment that arises from collective practices. For Paul Gilroy, such activities are the makings of “convivial culture” that sustain and inspire life and resist the melancholia of political losses and compliance to power.

This exhibit and symposium will include:

  • Photography of Kurdish women fighters
  • Poetry, a short-story, and illustrations reflecting on the experience of women political prisoners in Iran
  • A short-documentary on Lebanese responses to the port explosion in Beirut in 2020
  • Poetry and visual art on Palestine’s place in Lotus: Afro-Asian Writings
  • A political discussion on “Women, Life and Freedom”: Revolutionary Feminist’s Hope in Iran and Kurdistan today

This project is led by: Dr. Chandni Desai, Dr. Shahrzad Mojab and Dr. Dina Georgis

Participating Artists Include: Shahrzad Arshadi, Shokoufeh Sakhi, Raghed Charabaty and others



Jackman Humanities Institute, New College, Women and Gender Studies Institute, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education


45 Willcocks, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7