The starting point for the video Mariam Jafri Vs. Maryam Jafri is an image of my sculpture, Anxiety, that has been turned into a stock photo for licensing on the Getty Images website, without my prior knowledge or permission. Getty Images is the largest stock photo agency in the world. Getty took the photograph at Frieze Art Fair in London in October 2017. The voiceover traces the work’s trajectory from a readymade sculpture for sale at an art fair to a stock photo for licensing online and finally, to a video commissioned by a Kunstahalle, a space meant to guarantee the autonomy of art. The work reflects upon the role of originality, artist labor and copyright in our culture of sampling and remixing. The video’s title references the caption accompanying the photograph which misspells my name. The title also references an earlier work I made in 2012, called Getty Vs. Ghana which examined the unauthorized copyrighting of African independence day photographs by multinational stock photo agencies, including Getty Images and Corbis.

Mariam Jafri Vs. Maryam Jafri (2019), single screen, HD video, 9:11 minutes.

Co-commissioned by TAXISPALAIS Kunsthalle Tirol and Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver

image: video still


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