New Works by Riaz Mehmood

August 24 to September 30 

Riaz Mehmood 


What is the first thing you would want someone to know about your homeland? Where do you start when trying to convey what this place means to the people who have lived there for generations? How do you distill a lifetime of senses, memories and emotions, as well as a history that has left deep and lasting marks? 

Edmonton based artist Riaz Mehmood strives to capture the lived complexity of his homeland Khyber Paskhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Raised in Pakistan, he immigrated to Canada in 2000 and decided pursued a career as an artist. Working in printmaking, video, computer programming and installation, he introduces viewers to the Pashtun people: their history, culture and traditions. 

Through his work, Mehmood is really offering a re-introduction - pushing back against the newsreels of war torn landscapes and the stereotypes of Pashtun peoples crafted through colonialism, conflict and ideologically driven political narratives. While military conflict, loss and absence are a reality imposed upon the region, they are not the only defining characteristic of the people. Mehmood’s work mirrors the whole spirit of the region today – balancing loss with optimism. The next generation of Pashtun communities are using joy and celebration as vital tools of resistance – proudly reclaiming their identity and embracing their rich heritage on their own terms.  

Working in collaboration with community partners, family members, craft artists and scholars who continue to live in Khyber Paskhtunkhwa, Mehmood’s work is inspired and guided by their resilence. The first thing that he’d like us to know of his homeland is its heart. Mehmood shares a vision of beauty, love and community. Beyond the scars, this is a place steeped in rich traditions, with a powerful drive to dance towards the future. 


Image credits: Riaz Mehmood, Kawtaray/Pigeons, video, 2020;  Riaz Mehmood, His rules were different than ours, installation, 2020.