P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Mariam Ghani, 2001


Mariam Ghani is the child of immigrants from Afghanistan and Lebanon

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MFA in Media Arts at School of Visual Arts

MARIAM GHANI is an artist, writer, filmmaker and teacher. Her work in video, installation, photography, and performance operates at the intersections between history, memory, place, identity, language, loss, and reconstruction.

Mariam was born in New York to an Afghan father and Lebanese mother. She has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from NYU and received the Fellowship for her MFA from SVA.

Recent solo and collaborative exhibitions include the Queens Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Saint Louis Museum of Art, the Anchorage Museum, Ryan Lee Gallery in NYC, the Rogaland Kunstsenter in Stavanger, the Gatchina Museum in Saint Petersburg, and the CCCB in Barcelona. Major periodic exhibitions include dOCUMENTA (13), the Sharjah Biennials 10 and 9, the Dhaka Art Summit, and the 2005 Liverpool Biennial. Screenings include MoMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the National Gallery in DC, the Berlinale Expanded Forum, CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, and the Rotterdam Film Festival. Publications include Creative Time Reports, Foreign Policy, Ibraaz, Manifesta Journal, the NYRBlog, Triple Canopy, and the 2015 anthologies The Gulf: High Culture, Hard Labor and Dissonant Archives. Recent interviews have appeared in Democracy Now, Scope, [wherever], M - arte y cultura visual, Modern Art Notes, St. Louis Public Radio, France 24, Al Jazeera America, and the NY Times.

Mariam has collaborated with Chitra Ganesh since 2004 as Index of the Disappeared, an experimental archive of renditions, redactions, deportations and detentions; with choreographer Erin Ellen Kelly and composer Qasim Naqvi since 2006 on the series Performed Places; and with media archive collective Pad.ma and the Afghan national film institute since 2012 on the Afghan Films online archive. She is also a member of the Gulf Labor activist collective.

Mariam has been an artist in residence at LMCC, Eyebeam Atelier, Smack Mellon, the Akademie Schloss Solitude, and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, and has received grants from Creative Capital, Art Matters, NYSCA, NYFA, the Experimental Television Center, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Turbulence, and the Longwood Digital Matrix. She currently teaches in the Social Practice program at Queens College, CUNY, and is a Robina Foundation Visiting Artist at the Yale Law School.

  • MFA Media Arts | School of Visual Arts 2002
  • BA Comparative Literature | New York University (NYU) 1999
Select Publications
  • “52 Weeks and Engaging by Disengaging,” with Haig Aivazian, in The Gulf: High Culture, Hard Labor, ed. Andrew Ross. OR Books, 2015.
  • “Salon-e-Girdbad / Salon of the Whirlwind” in Utopian Pulse: Flares in the Darkroom, ed. Oliver Ressler & Ines Doujak. Pluto Press, 2015.
  • “Towards a Visual Language of Resistance: Notes on the Disappeared,” with Chitra Ganesh. Bare Acts: The Sarai Reader 05. Edited by Raqs Media Collective. New Delhi: Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 2005.
  • “Unwritten Histories & the Digital Divide: On Critics, Archives and Networks.” Arts & Leisure. New York: e-flux / Art in General, 2005.
  • “Divining the Question: An Unscientific Methodology for the Collection of Warm Data.” Viralnet, Issue Viralzerosix. Los Angeles: Center for Integrated Media, CalArts, 2006.
  • “Seeing the Disappeared,” with Chitra Ganesh. Pavilion Issue 10-11: What Was Socialism, and What Comes Next. Bucharest: May 2007.
  • “Afghanistan: Between the Tiger and the Precipice.” FUSE 30th Anniversary Issue: Cultural Change in Real Terms. Toronto, October 2007.
  • “Notes on the Disappeared (04-08).” One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature. Edited by Zohra Saed & Sahar Muradi. University of Arkansas Press, 2010.
  • “Introduction to an Index,” with Chitra Ganesh. Radical History Review No. 111: Historicizing 9/11. Chapel Hill: Duke University Press, 2011.
  • Afghanistan: A Lexicon, with Ashraf Ghani. Hatje Cantz and dOCUMENTA (13), 2011. Excerpted in the New York Review of Books online, September 2012.
  • “From the Rubble.” Filmmaker Fall 2011, Vol. 20, #1. New York: IFP, 2011.
  • “To Not Wait for the Archive,” with Shaina Anand, Faiza Khan and Ashok Sukumaran. Mousse No. 34: An Issue About Documenta, Summer 2012.
  • “Filming the Many Afghanistans.” Co-published by Creative Time Reports and the New York Review of Books online, January 2013. Republished, Art Asia Pacific online, April 2013; HIVE, April 2014.
  • “Notes from a Boycott” in Manifesta Journal 18, November 2014.
  • “Field notes for ‘What we left unfinished’: The artist and the archive.” Ibraaz, Platform 006, December 2013. Republished in Archival Dissonances: Knowledge Production and Contemporary Art (London: IB Tauris), 2015.
  • “Parable of the Garden.” Creative Time Reports, October 2013. Co-published as “Afghan Bloom” in Foreign Policy.
  • “The Islands of Evasion: Notes on the Politics and Poetics of International Art English.” Triple Canopy, June 2013.
Work History
  • Artist
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