“A Day in the Life” with Calgary-based Visual Artist Shahaan Ahmed Shah

Originally from Quetta, Pakistan, Shahaan Ahmed Shah is a gifted artist, whose work spans the visual arts, theatre and filmmaking. In each of these disciplines, Shahaan applies his keen observational skills and sensitivity to the medium to create poetic narrative works. Through Shahaan’s collages, prints, performances and films, we learn to appreciate the simple moment, the rich textures of our surroundings and the beauty of humanity. Using an intuitive approach, without a predetermined story or structure, Shahaan allows the narrative to evolve as the work requires it to. In this way, the works avoid didacticism; they do not tell us what or how we should think or feel. Instead, they take us on a journey during which we discover our own position within the story he creates. In a world in which there is so much division and anger, Shahaan reminds us of our common humanity. We sleep, we eat, we work, we dance and we sing. In a world, in which there is so much division, he reminds us that difference does not need to mean rancour. Shahaan’s work allows difference to build a vibrant, celebratory space that offers the opportunity for understanding and suggests a way to peace.

-Written by Jennifer Eiserman, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art History, University of Calgary.

Shahaan Ahmed Shah
Self Portrait of Shahaan Ahmed Shah (2023)
Shahaan Ahmed Shah
Theatre performance at National College of Arts Auditorium (2017)
During a shoot in Alberta (2022)
A photograph during a shoot in Balochistan (2023)
During the shoot of All Among Us in Rawalpindi (2023)
Studio in Calgary (2023)
Shahaan Ahmed Shah
Portrait (2022)
Shahaan Ahmed Shah
In the studio (2023)


Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in the West Hillhurst community of Calgary, a nice and accessible neighbourhood in Calgary.

What do you do?

I work as a visual content creator and multimedia producer. As a visual artist and independent poetic documentary filmmaker, I explore poetic documentary cinema to understand and translate the concepts of originality and the intricate nuances of human drama. My approach involves recognizing time as both the artist and the catalyst, infusing my films with a distinct perception of reality.

What are you currently working on?

My work relies on travel to gain cultural diversity. Currently, I am identifying which regions and places to travel to once I have sufficient finances. My creative process begins with intuitive filming and expanding my cultural vocabulary once I know my travel destinations. The narrative is later shaped on the editing table, based on the experiences gained during the filming period.

Where can we find your work?

My independent films, artworks, and cultural prints are available on my website. Also, for collaborations and projects, I can be reached there or through my Instagram.


About Emilea Semancik 91 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: