We Look at Animals Because


This publication is produced in conjunction with the exhibition We Look At Animals Because, curated by Toleen Touq and Nahed Mansour and co-presented by Critical Distance Centre for Curators and SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) in Toronto in 2018. Featuring work by: Quratulain Butt, Khaled Hourani, Maha Maamoun, Smriti Mehra, Huma Mulji, Ed Panar, Alex Sheriff, and Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

Conceived as a response to John Berger’s 1977 essay “Why Look At Animals,” the exhibition features artists that take animals as their subjects, and artworks that investigate the complex relationships between human and animal.

As an interpretative exercise for this publication, Touq and Mansour have looked at the animals depicted by the exhibiting artists and reimagined their artworks through observations and descriptions in relation to selected passages from Berger’s essay. Following his unmatched ability to encourage his readers to look, and look again, this book is an invitation to our readers—young and old—to similarly question the dynamics between imagination and power through playful eyes. Information on the artists and the exhibition is provided in the second section of this publication, followed by a reprint of the full essay by Berger as originally published in his 1980 collection of critical writings, About Looking.


Quratulain Butt

Khaled Hourani

Maha Maamoun

Smriti Mehra

Huma Mulji

Ed Panar

Alex Sheriff

Andrea Luka Zimmerman


Toleen Touq

Nahed Mansour


Softcover, perfect-bound, with thermography, digitally printed interior


94 pages



Publication date




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