Mandy Merzaban (Canada/Egypt/UK) is an artist, writer and curator. Working between imbricated artworlds in the global north and south, her professional history has involved researching and exhibiting modern and contemporary art of the Arabic speaking world. Mandy’s current interdisciplinary, feminist research practice confronts issues of culpability, sexism, emotional labour and vulnerability in the art world. This methodology is used to critique understated, neo-colonial power differentials that control how underrepresented art is codified in transnational art narratives.

As a Brooks Fellow in partnership with Tate and Delfina Foundation, Mandy will work with Tate’s Research and Interpretation team to identify and reckon with how it has perpetuated racism, imperialism, and white supremacy in its collection. How can more inclusive measures both expand the purview of how we think about transnational art practises and also problematically re-affirm the exclusive dominance of a Western museum’s interpretive power? What are the institutional power dynamics involved in negotiations about inclusion? Through parsing the language of legibility and objectivity as a form of coloniality, she will be working to bring in intersectional feminist, and emotional dimensions into this complex enquiry. Additionally, she will be involved in organising relevant conversations and workshops around this investigation that are mindful of the disproportionate, often implicit hierarchical practice around who gets selected to discuss diversity and inclusion in the art world.

Previously, Mandy was the founding curator of the Barjeel Art Foundation between 2009 and 2018. She is a graduate of the History Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as part of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. Her current work builds on on-going research presented in her thesis Scripting Inclusion (2021), which raises questions around the tiers of power that control how artistic canons are formed, with a focus on the Arabic speaking world. Previously she completed a masters in Cultural Translation at the American University of Paris (AUP) advised by translator and notable author Kate Briggs, working within modes of experimental translation.

In her artistic practice, Mandy also explores similar themes to those of her curatorial one. Through drawing, poetry and photographic practises, her work probes the power dynamics of codification by considering the histories of colonialism that underlie descriptions of the botanical world.


The Brooks International Fellowship Programme




Spring 2022 and Summer 2022


Please note all residents’ biographies are accurate at the time of their residency.