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Burnaby artist uses art to tackle xenophobia, Islamophobia

You can meet Taslim Samji and view her work online as part of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society's interCONNECTED project

A Burnaby artist is among those featured in a project designed to showcase Pan Asian artists.

The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, which presents the explorASIAN festival in May each year in recognition of Asian Heritage Month, is showcasing the work of Burnaby’s Taslim Samji. Her work was featured as part of the interCONNECTED project, a digital art exhibition community project designed by the society to showcase Pan Asian artists through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2020, more than 15 exhibitions and many artist "spotlights" have been digitalized and archived through the interCONNECTED project.

Samji's work is available for continued viewing in an online gallery

Samji – who was born in Tanzania, with roots from India, and grew up in Vancouver – is known for her work in curating thought-provoking exhibitions that showcase the work of immigrants and female Muslim artists in response to xenophobia and Islamophobia.

“In an age of individualism, corporate greed and xenophobia, my work presents an alternate perspective through a unique lens,” Samji said in an introductory video about herself. “My work explores diversity through various lenses, with the intention to strengthen community at all levels.”

She describes her work as both abstract and interdisciplinary.

“I’m always searching for different ways to present the work,” she explained.

Samji is a member of the Burnaby Art Gallery advisory committee, and she’s a strong advocate for the inclusion of BIPOC artists in the City of Burnaby’s permanent art collection and its public art collection.

Samji is currently working on a coming-of-age memoir that examines race, gender and the impact of colonialism on identity.


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