Artangel appoints Mariam Zulfiqar as its new Director

Artangel has announced the appointment of Mariam Zulfiqar as its new Director.

Mariam brings to Artangel a vision that combines exceptional, ambitious artistic projects with a focus on social and environmental issues that are critical to its present and future. She comes to Artangel from Forestry England, where she has been leading its National Arts Programme, focusing on the intersection of the arts, environment and ecology. She has worked as an independent curator for Chiswick House and Gardens and was the curator of the acclaimed programme of events and art commissions Bring into Being, which broadened audiences and charted a new direction for the historic 18th century site. Previously she was Deputy Director and Chief Curator for UP Projects and raised the organisation’s national and international profile overseeing programmes such as Constellations, an artist development programme and This Is Public Space, a digital commissioning strand that explores the internet as a site for art.

Projects she has curated independently include touring the UK canal network on The Floating Cinema, an award-winning structure commissioned by UP Projects (2017); Changing Places, a nation-wide touring exhibition marking the 70thanniversary of Indian Independence at sites of historic significance across Britain for Film and Video Umbrella (2017/18); Merzbank (2013) digital commissions exploring the legacy of Kurt Schwitters; and The Palace That Joan Built for Art on the Underground (2014/15), a multi-site cross-disciplinary commission inspired by the legacy of pioneering theatre director Joan Littlewood. Alongside working with diverse UK based artists, Mariam has consistently championed the work of international artists, commissioning and presenting artworks by practitioners who live and work in South Asia, the USA and the Caribbean.

Mariam studied Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, and Design and Public Art at Chelsea College of Art. She has lectured at the Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths College, University of Richmond USA London Campus, and McGill University Barbados Campus. She was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Fund 2013 for research into the intersection of heritage, environment and contemporary art production in Barbados.

Mariam will take up the position of Director in January 2022 and will focus on developing the future vision of the organisation. James Lingwood and Michael Morris will stage their final programme of commissions throughout 2022 and early 2023.

Jenny Waldman, Chair, Artangel said:

“In Mariam Zulfiqar, the Board of Trustees is delighted to have found a unique and exciting creative leader. Mariam’s appointment signals a bold new direction for Artangel and a new chapter in its development, combining a clear commitment to artistic ambition with a recognition of the social and environmental issues that challenge contemporary life. As we face the future, the need for ambitious, visionary ideas has never been greater.

“As Artangel embarks on its next 30 years, it is exciting to be building on the remarkable legacy created over the past three decades by its Co-Directors, James Lingwood and Michael Morris, working with exceptional artists and staff colleagues. Artangel has generated some of the most widely discussed art of recent times and is amongst the most consistently admired cultural organisations, respected by artists and audiences alike in Britain and beyond. We believe Mariam has the sensibility and imagination to carry this legacy forward.”

Mariam Zulfiqar said:

“I have been following the work of Artangel since I went to see Michael Landy’s Breakdown in Oxford Street in 2001. At the time, I was studying Public Art at Chelsea College of Art. Since then, Artangel’s work has continued to exemplify what ambition and excellence looked like in this area of the arts. To be appointed Director of an organisation I admire greatly is an honour, and I am excited to bring my focus on social and environmental issues to its future programming.

“The exhibitions and commissions I have curated always seek to create new relationships between people and site. It has been a privilege to work with communities and organisations across the country and to witness first-hand the transformative role the arts can play in our daily lives. I am delighted to bring my experience to the team at Artangel and look forward to working with them on a programme that is reflective of our contemporary times and the distinct challenges it places on artists and wider society.”

James Lingwood and Michael Morris, Co-Directors, Artangel said:

“We’re delighted that Artangel’s Board of Trustees have appointed Mariam Zulfiqar to lead the organisation into the future. We greatly look forward to welcoming Mariam in the new year and working together closely in the transition between our final year of commissions in 2022 and the realisation of her new vision for Artangel from 2023 onwards”