Is It A Good Time? – Mana Contemporary. Curated by Maryam Faridani & Nicky Ni


Artists! As you are probably being bombarded by loads of calls for submission at the moment, to save you some time, if the above hashtags apply to you or interest you, continue reading.

Every person in the U.S. is probably feeling that their life has been drastically affected by the events of 2020. COVID-19 struck, not only coinciding with other natural disasters but also further complicated by a chaotic government. If coping with situations such as the fear for traveling, lack of job security, as well as enduring the distance from family members and hometown is hard enough for a regular citizen, one should remember that these conditions are but a constant struggle that every immigrant has to cope with on a daily basis. And now, the pandemic-induced governmental policies cast additional threats for them, from stricter restrictions on work visas, policy changes for asylum seekers, to attempting to oust foreign students and to cut off their lifeline communication.

To create room for reflecting and sharing these struggles and hardships, we are organizing a multi-day online screening Is it a Good Time? that showcases works made in 2020 by non-citizen immigrant artists based in the U.S. This is not the first time we are collectively under lockdown, but it is the first time that such experiences are massively expressed and shared through the Internet. How do the Internet and other smart technologies help or impede communication across different time zones? How have our lives, after moving online, become more or less lively and authentic? The goal for this show is to provide a space where immigrant artists are supported, celebrated, and given an opportunity for showing their experimental moving image works to the public.

We are pleased to announce that Daisy Desrosiers, Director of Artist Programs at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College, will be the Guest Juror of the submissions. She will be reviewing all submissions together with the curators, Maryam Faridani and Nicky Ni.

Some suggested themes:

  • The lockdown experiences
  • The experience of displacement, international travels, border, jet lag, and adjusting to different time zones
  • Fake news, conspiracy theories and misinformation
  • COVID-19 triggered racism and xenophobia
  • Life after the pandemic and envisioning the “new normal”

Non-US citizen artists primarily based in the U.S., regardless of legal status. You are also eligible if you are currently barred from coming back to the U.S. due to the pandemic.

Moving image works made or completed in 2020 (short videos or films under 20 mins, video-performances, experimental videos, animations, GIFS, etc.) We understand and share all the difficulties of art making in the midst of the pandemic and therefore will also consider good works-in-progress. It is hard enough to be a human, let alone a foreign artist stuck in a pandemic.

Submission deadline is November 30th 2020. Online screening will take place from January 8th to 10th 2021.

Selected works will be presented in an experimental online screening and showcase on Mana Contemporary’s Website.

Daisy Desrosiers is the inaugural Director of Artist Programs at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College. An interdisciplinary art historian with a background in independent curatorial work, Desrosiers’s current research focuses on the cultural, post- colonial, and material implications of the use of sugar in contemporary art. From 2012 to 2017, Desrosiers was the director of Battat Contemporary (Montreal, Canada) where she oversaw the collection along with collaborations with living artists resulting in exhibitions, publications, residencies, and site-specific projects. In 2018 she was the inaugural recipient of the Nicholas Fox Weber curatorial fellowship, affiliated with the Glucksman Museum (Cork, Ireland) as well as a curatorial fellow-in-residence at Art in General (Brooklyn, NY).

Maryam Faridani is an Iranian artist currently living in Chicago. By using moving images, installations and performance, she tries to explore how technologies today lead to creation and maintenance of a particular set of social conditions as the environment of that technical system. Humor is an important aspect of her work as she finds it to be an effective way to talk about matters that are usually dark and bitter. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019 and holds a BFA in Theater from the Art University of Tehran. She is the recipient of the Define American artist fellowship in 2020.

Nicky Ni graduated with an M.A. degree in Art History and Arts Administration from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago She has a general research interest in new media and moving-image art forms, with a particular focus on computer-based art that involves real-time simulation. Her secondary interest is in the reception of contemporary Chinese art in a global context. Ni is co-founder of LITHIUM, a Chicago-based gallery dedicated to time-based art, and is currently working with an all-female team to rebrand LITHIUM into TNL (aka. The Neu Lithium), a completely online platform that reports on and supports new media art. Previously, she worked as Curatorial Assistant at Conversations at the Edge and as Graduate Distribution Assistant at Video Data Bank. Nicky Ni is originally from Beijing, China.

Please let us know if you have any questions or you need further information. You can reach us at