Foam 3h: Hira Nabi – How to Love a Tree: Wild Encounters

Press release | Amsterdam, August 2023

This autumn, Foam will present How to Love a Tree: Wild Encounters, an exhibition by emerging Pakistani artist and filmmaker Hira Nabi (Pakistan, 1987), in the Foam 3h exhibition space.

How to Love a Tree: Wild Encounters is an ongoing project launched in 2019. It is an investigation into the disappearance of ecosystems and environments rich in flora and fauna. Using varied forms of media including moving images, audio, text, performance, cyanotypes, silkscreen prints, and rubbings, the individual chapters of the study highlight colonial influences and geographical changes with their lasting effects. Nabi's work comes about through her engagement with the environment situated in Pakistan: former colonial hill stations in and around the towns, villages and surrounding blue pine forests of Murree, and the Galiyat region.

forrest and sunshine

A still from Wild Encounters, 2023

© Hira Nabi.

hands holding flowers

A still from Wild Encounters, 2023

© Hira Nabi.

still from the video trees in blue background

A still from Wild Encounters, 2023

© Hira Nabi.

Nabi sees these places as ecosystems that are crumbling, with a history marked by colonial rule. She focuses on making remnants of this painful past visible in what are now tourist destinations in the hills. Here, traces of exploitation mingle with expressions of capitalism, while the deterioration of the environment continues. With the project, she asks, "What happens during destruction? What does the aftermath entail? What does disappearance look like? What traces does it leave behind? What is the texture of rot, debris and ruins?"

Foam presents the Wild Encounters chapter, part of How to Love a Tree, a mosaic of video footage on three screens. Nabi's engaged art project explores the complex connections between exploitation, history and identity. She shows that narratives of history and the environment are deeply intertwined, influenced by patterns of domination and neglect.

About the artist

Hira Nabi is an emerging Pakistani artist and filmmaker. She confronts and challenges anthropocentric assumptions centred on humans, which are deeply rooted in (Western) art and philosophy. Through her focus on the environment and everyday stories, she seeks a greater interconnectedness through her art. She thus provides a broader testimony to contemporary times, rather than focusing exclusively on human experience. Her work goes beyond human action and experience to recognise the natural world around us, including plants, animals and ecosystems, as entities in their own right. By combining critical enquiry with a personal aesthetic vision, she demonstrates the next generation's ability to resist mass populism and reclaim individuality.

Her work has been featured in a number of group exhibitions including Colomboscope in 2019 and Lahore Biennale in 2018. Other venues where she has shown include: SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Johann Jacobs Museum, Zurich; Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi; Extra City, Antwerp; MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Cambridge, MA; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; and the New School, New York. She has been featured at film festivals such as CPH:DOX, Sundance, AFI DOCS, Rencontres Internationales and Dokufest. She was awarded the 2020 Next Generation Prince Claus Award and was nominated for the IDA Short Documentary Award (2021) and the Han Nefkens Foundation Award (2020). She lives and works in Amsterdam and Lahore.

About Foam 3h

Discovering, interpreting and presenting talent has been an important part of Foam's content policy since its foundation. Foam has therefore developed several platforms for talented artists to show their work to the public. Foam 3h is one of those platforms, focusing exclusively on showing the work of talented photographers from home and abroad with a structural exhibition space in the museum.

Foam 3h: Hira Nabi – How to Love a Tree: Wild Encounters can be seen from 22 September – 26 November 2023 at Foam. Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 hrs, Thurs/Fri 10.00 – 21.00 hrs.

Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+ 31 (0)20 5516500

Note to editors

For more information and visual material please contact the Press Office of Foam via

This exhibition is made possible with the support of the Van Bijleveltstichting, the Leeuwensteinstichting, het Mondriaan Fonds and Kleurgamma Fine Art Photolab.

see more