The Art Matters Conversations


Art Matters is the Winnipeg Arts Council‘s exploration into the relationship between citizens and the arts through public events, lectures, and other programs. 

Click here to see our Art Matters videos

The Art Matters Conversations feature artists, critics, and thinkers from around the world, giving Winnipeg’s citizens the opportunity to think about why Art Matters in their own lives. 

Mira Nair in conversation with Brenda Austin-Smith

8:00 pm Thursday April 14

West End Cultural Centre

Tickets $15 available at the West End, Winnipeg Arts Council, or online

 Mira Nair makes films that are, according to Entertainment Weekly, "funny, rueful and sexy." Salaam Bombay! won 25 international awards, including two at Cannes, for best first feature and most popular entry. Her other films include Mississippi Masala (with Denzel Washington), Vanity Fair (with Reese Witherspoon), The Namesake (with Kal Penn), and Monsoon Wedding, which Roger Ebert called "one of those joyous films that leaps over national boundaries and celebrates universal human nature."

Raised in India, schooled at Harvard, and living in New York City, Nair uses her natural grasp of identity conflict to make films that explore race, gender, inter-generational strife, cultural appropriation and displacement. A poignant speaker, she captures beautifully the tug of competing worlds felt by millions of immigrants around the world.

From her debut film, the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! to her Amelia Earhart biopic, Amelia, Nair has established herself as one of the most formidable directors working today. Her most recent film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is a striking commentary on identity, immigration, and terrorism. Her next film, The Queen of Katwe, will star Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong'o. It is based on a book by Tim Crothers about Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.

Away from the camera, Nair has mentored as part of the Rolex Protege Arts Initiative and her company, Mirabai films, established a non-profit, Maisha, in support of screenwriters and directors in East Africa and South Asia.

Follow Mira on Twitter @MiraPagliNair

Brenda Austin-Smith is Head of the Department of English, Film, and Theatre at the University of Manitoba. She teaches courses in the Art of Film, Cult Film, Film and the City, and Film and Realism. She is the co-editor (with George Melnyk) of the essay collection “The Gendered Screen: Canadian Women Filmmakers.” She writes essays on film and literature, and is especially interested in the experiences of people who weep at movies.

Follow Brenda on twitter @basmith


Previous Art Matters Conversations have included author Gary Shteyngart, music critic Alex Ross, humorist and actor John Hodgman, filmmaker and actor John Waters, and author Sir Salman Rushdie.