Online Exhibition

Char Bagh


Faisal Anwar (Pakistan/Canada)

Best viewed on full screen mode.
Press ‘F11’ to view in full screen on Windows.
Press ‘Command-Shift-F’ in Mac OS X. 

Installation view on the facade of the Aga Khan Museum Toronto, Nuit Blanche 2016 , Photo credit: Salina Kassam

The term ‘charbagh’ refers to the Persian/Islamic-style quadrilateral garden divided by walkways or flowing water into four smaller parts with axial paths intersecting at the garden’s centre. This highly structured geometrical scheme is a powerful metaphor for the organization and domestication of the landscape and a symbol of socio-political territorialisation.

Using the internet, open network data and patterned geometry, Charbagh is an ever-evolving, dynamic digital garden that grows over time with incoming streams of large public data. The project examines today’s socio-political realities – questioning changing human behaviours, and the ways we access and interpret information; how data generated in social media documents our modern history and blurs the line between facts and fiction.

For this festival, the data is collected from different cities and time zones through thematically curated hashtags via Instagram. 

“The idea of creating a digital garden using social media and big data furthers Faisal’s ongoing interest in re-imagining nature and organic forms in light of technology” – Zulfikar Hirji, Curator, Writer, Associate Professor York University Toronto. 

Charbagh is much more than just an architectural form or a participatory art – it is a symbol of coexistence and sustainable living for contemporary times.

How to Participate?

To participate, please use your Instagram account, select any #tag from the list below and respond to the corresponding question with your picture/post/#tag. Once the project is live, click on the link above to experience CharBaghLive. Experience the growth of CharBagh with other participants. Engage further by changing title colours by clicking individual tiles.

#CharbaghTechnology: What is the role of technology in your life? What devices do you use most frequently, and what kind of impact (positive or negative) do they have on your life?

 #CharbaghHeritage: What does heritage mean to you? Is it rooted in your family history or the culture of your community? Do you have your own personal idea of heritage?

#CharbaghCommunity: What community do you belong to and identify with? Your ethnic/linguistic community? Your community of friends?

#CharbaghNature: How would you visualise your connection with nature? How does nature affect your psychological state and/or creative instincts? What do you do to preserve nature?

Thanks for taking part in the artwork CharBagh!

Tête-à-tête with Faisal Anwar on

Interactive Art in the age of technology
Nov 28, 2020 / 17h30

The artist will discuss his artistic process, focusing on data driven art and the ethical use of social media. He will also discuss the possibilities for creating dynamic interactive art on digital platforms. The video of the conversation will be posted here on Nov 28, 17h30. The same will be streamed live on Facebook accounts of Alliance Française in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Faisal Anwar is an interactive new media artist/producer from Pakistan, living and working in Canada. His practice explores socio-political spaces, which intrigues the mind and emotion by multiple layers of participatory experiences. His projects often bring together art, culture and technology in an odd configuration to explore our perceptions towards private versus public spaces, surveillance and social interactivity in modern urban cultures. He has showcased his work across the globe, including exhibitions at Canvas Gallery, KHOJ, Harborfront Center, Aga Khan Museum Toronto, Nuit-Blanche Toronto, Karachi Biennial etc. 
Follow the Artist on: Website: http://faisalanwar.ca/ and Instagram: faisalanwarstudio