Arts and culture

Exhibition: Glacial Movements and the Ghaib


Exhibition: Glacial Movements and the Ghaib

The Daphne Oram Gallery is pleased to showcase “Glacial Movements and the Ghaib“. The exhibition runs from Monday 18 September 2023 – Tuesday 9 January 2024. All are welcome! This exhibition has been co-curated by Melanie King, Photography lecturer and artist and Paul Russell, curator.

About the show

Glacial Movements and the Ghaib explores the history and politics of water bodies. It considers the flow of water, fluidity and how water interacts with the land. The project contemplates the precarity and beauty of vast natural formations such as glaciers and rivers.

The exhibition, resulting from an all-female expedition that took place in September 2022 by members of Lumen Studios and Pak Khawateen Painting Club features art works produced on that expedition including journals, videos, sound, photography and painting.

The expedition

The expedition focused on some of the largest glaciers in Pakistan, which are continuously shifting and changing shape. The glaciers are also a water source for rivers in south Asia, and form part of the ‘Third Pole,’ one of the largest ice reserves in the world. The collectives visited four of the glaciers in Hunza district, named Passu, Shishper, Battura and Gulkin. In addition to visiting the glaciers, the collectives explored local towns that are directly affected by glacial lake outbursts and rely on them for a water source.

“we were very much influenced by James C Scott”

Melanie King

The collectives have been influenced by the work of James C Scott: The Art of Not Being Governed. An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, a text focused on Zomia, a region between the mountains of Cambodia and Afghanistan. This area was a place for refuge from repressive states. These communities migrated to the mountains to remain stateless, and resist falling into the trap of slavery, working to produce and toil on the land of agrarian states. In contrast to this, the mountains housed small egalitarian communities.

The Glacial Movements and the Ghaib (Ghaib is the Urdu word for Unseen) project shows the precarity and beauty of living with glaciers. While these mountains are no longer spaces of refuge, they have developed into tourist destinations, which has brought exponential wealth with the price of climate change and global warming.

The expedition was funded by the British Council’s ‘New Perspectives 75 Years of Pakistan’. Versions of this exhibition have been shown at VM Gallery Karachi, Tagh’eer Lahore and COMSATS University, Islamabad in Pakistan. This is the first exhibition produced from the expedition within the United Kingdom.

About the artists

Lumen is an art collective, focused on themes of astronomy, light and ecology. Through art commissions, exhibitions, and seminars, we aim to raise a dialogue about how humanity understands existence.
Pak Khawateen Painting Club is focused on the history and politics of water bodies, flow of water, fluidity, bodies blocking water and bodies moving along water.


Amna Hashmi / Saba Khan / Saulat Ajmal / Zohreen Murtaza / Louise Beer / Melanie King / Rebecca Huxley

Special related events:

Head here for more info on a special sustainable photography workshop AND, to coincide with the Canterbury Festival, a one off Saturday Gallery Opening with drinks reception: 12 until 3pm, Saturday 21 October. Very limited spaces on the workshop left, please book in advance.

Read more about Melanie King’s photographic processes in her blog: Making photos with tea! by Melanie King – Arts and culture (

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