Jude Abu Zaineh


Jude Abu Zaineh (Kuwait/Canada/USA) is an interdisciplinary Palestinian artist and cultural worker whose practice relies on the use of art, food, and technology to investigate meanings of culture, displacement, diaspora, and belonging. She examines ideals of home and community while working to develop aesthetics rooted in her childhood spent in the Middle East. She received a BA in Communications and Visual Arts (2014) and an MFA (2019) from the University of Windsor and is currently pursuing a PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her work has been exhibited at venues across Canada and internationally, including Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, Dublin Castle, Museum of Glass, Ontario Science Centre, Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto), Art Windsor-Essex, Centro de Cultura Digital, and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. She is the recipient of awards, fellowships, and grants including a William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists (2020); two SSHRC Doctoral Awards from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2020 and 2021); and residencies from the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and Cultivamos Cultura. Abu Zaineh is a 2022 Museum London and Media City Film Festival Southwest Seen commission artist. She lives and works in Troy, New York and Windsor, Ontario.
ONLINE SCREENING DATES: July 10–August 10, 2023 FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: FORMations, 5 min, 2023

FORMations, 5 min, 2023

FORMations reflects the natural ecology of Southwestern Ontario’s food and flora. Sampling the earth, indigenous and collected plant species, and leftover foods, it examines constant evolution within an ever-shifting cultural and geographical landscape. The petri dish environment makes visible the invisible by encouraging microbial and bacterial communities that naturally exist within food and our overall surroundings. This enclosed environment makes metaphorical connections to often ignored or erased narratives, and the layered complexities of hybrid existences that many newcomers (human and nonhuman species) experience in their respective, evolving habitats.

FORMations is a visual nod to the artist’s cultural heritage, referencing geometric forms found in Southwest Asia and North African architecture and Islamic art, while acknowledging the larger landscapes, foods, resources, and diverse ecosystems in Southwestern Ontario. It also references As The Crow Flies, Museum London’s artist garden by Ron Benner.


I focus on themes of diaspora, culture, and identity politics in my work. I’m constantly exploring the nuances of language, translation—the failures of translation—because of my interdisciplinary approach. Sometimes that manifests in text (Arabic/English), and sometimes it’s more illustrative, depending on the medium and topic at hand.—Jude Abu Zaineh

Watch an interview with Jude Abu Zaineh about her work In the Presence of Absence at AWE on CBC

Watch an interview with Jude Abu Zaineh on PBS

Southwest Seen features new commissions made by three artists with meaningful connections to Southwestern Ontario, and whose practices reflect this region’s diverse culture and history. Outdoor-facing projections from Museum London’s Centre at the Forks, overlooking the Deshkan Ziibi (Thames River), occur during hours of darkness from December 2022–August 2023. 

Southwest Seen features these newly commissioned moving image artworks by Calla Moya (Canada), Racquel Rowe (Barbados/Canada), and Jude Abu Zaineh (Kuwait/Canada/USA). Museum London acknowledges support from the Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects Program at the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario. Special thank you to the London Ontario Media Arts Association, and Southwest Seen jury members Christine Negus, Evond Blake (aka MEDIAH), Anahí González Terán, and Amanda Myers/Kitaay Bizhikikwe.

All stills, photographs, and artwork for FORMations (2023) courtesy of Jude Abu Zaineh.  Screening co-presented with Museum London.