Video: Stages Speaker Series | Abbas Akhavan

On May 25th, 2017 Plug In ICA presented an artist talk by Abbas Akhavan who is the 6th speaker as part of our 2017 Stages Speaker Series.

Akhavan’s practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of Akhavan’s research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in his practice. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.

Abass Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), TFVA finalist prize (2012), The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014), the Sobey Art Award (2015), and the Fellbach Triennial Award (2016). His recent solo exhibitions include, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2017); SALT Galata, Istanbul (2017); David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF), London (2017); FLORA, Bogota (2016); Mercer Union, Toronto (2015) and Delfina Foundation, London (2012). His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016); Wellcome Collection, London (2016); Beirut Art Centre, Beirut, (2015); Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2014) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011).

This artist talk with Abbas Akhavan is part of Stages Speaker Series, which is offered in anticipation of Stages: Drawing the Curtain, a constellation of temporary public artworks to be launched in August 2017. This large-scale public art project asks artists to locate a site within the city of Winnipeg from which to contemplate the stage – its function as a platform; its meaning as a point of attention; and its physical design. Directed by their individual interests and material preferences, the artists will build sculptural ‘stages’ ranging in shape and form, connected as platforms for audiences to occupy, physically engage with and contemplate.

In keeping with the drive of Stages to bring art beyond our walls, all talks for Stages Speaker Series will be held at an off-site location. This presentation will be held at the former Globe Cinema, 3rd floor, Portage Place Shopping Centre, 393 Portage Ave, Winnipeg.

*Artists for Stages: Drawing the Curtain include: Abbas Akhavan (Toronto), Pablo Bronstein (London, UK), Erica Eyres (Glasgow, Scotland), Kara Hamilton (Toronto), Federico Herrero (San José, Costa Rica), Toril Johannessen (Tromsø, Norway), Divya Mehra (Winnipeg), Krista Belle Stewart (Vancouver) and Ron Tran (Vancouver).

**Previous talks from Stages Speaker Series are now online at

Stages Speaker Series and Stages: Drawing the Curtain are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through its New Chapter Program. With the support of The Winnipeg Foundation and key sponsors Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson.

Our community partners include Winnipeg Tourism, Alliance Française Manitoba, Urbanink, Cityplace Mall (Triovest), Portage Place Shopping Centre and Fillip, CKUW, Alt Hotel, and Alpha Masonry.