Diaspora Pavilion Artists Roundtable

Diaspora Pavilion Artists Roundtable Discussion

Please note that due to Covid-19 and in compliance with government guidelines we have decided to postpone this event until further notice. Please subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on social media for updates on how we are staying in touch with our network digitally. 

Speakers: Shiraz Bayjoo, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Paul Maheke, Erika Tan & Zadie Xa 
Moderators: Adelaide Bannerman & Jessica Taylor

International Curators Forum is holding a roundtable discussion with artists engaged with the 2017 and forthcoming iterations of the Diaspora Pavilion project. The discussion will reflect on the 2017 Venice exhibition and the capacities of artistic and curatorial practice to complicate and interrogate diaspora as a concept and lived experience. The talk will highlight the approaches that the ICF team has adopted for the next iteration of the project to create a more sustainable and site specific programme of peripatetic research, exchanges and international events, set to unfold between 2020 and 2022. 

The first Diaspora Pavilion programme was launched in 2016 to support ten artists over two years in a professional development capacity and showcased their work alongside nine mentor artists in the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition, which was held in Venice during the 2017 Biennale and curated by David Bailey and Jessica Taylor. The success of the first Diaspora Pavilion exhibition led to a re-staging of a selection of the artworks at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the UK in 2018 and has motivated a period of research and development undertaken by the ICF team as a means of developing a more sustainable and international exhibition model for the second phase of the project.

Diaspora Pavilion 2 will be an active, multi-site programme of exhibitions and events that will support and showcase the work of a group of international artists who engage with diaspora as a concept in their work. The programme will begin with an exhibition titled ‘I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney’ presented in collaboration with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Australia (16 April – 7 June 2020), which will create a dialogue between 3 UK-based and 3 Australia-based artists. With aims to hold further site-specific iterations of the project in Venice, London and the Caribbean between 2021 and 2022, the curators of DP2 are attempting to take a more critical look at the ways in which diaspora functions as a distinct sometimes provisional experience, nuanced economically, historically and regionally. This unfolding programme will interrogate and complicate the term diaspora through a series of conversations about the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of diaspora subjectivities through the works of a group of artists from around the world.


Shiraz Bayjoo (b. Mauritius; lives and works in London and Mauritius) studied Painting at the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff, and was artist in residence at Whitechapel Gallery during 2011. He has exhibited at Tate Britain and the Institute of International Visual Arts, London; 14th Biennale of Sharjah; 13th Biennale of Dakar; 21st Biennale of Sydney; and is a recipient of the Gasworks Fellowship and the Arts Council of England. His work is represented in the Sharjah Foundation collection, UK Government collection, and French National collection, as well as private collections both in Europe and Asia. Born in Mauritius, Bayjoo’s work focuses on the Indian Ocean and the European historical legacies that have shaped the region. Bayjoo has been a visiting lecturer and critic at universities both in Europe and the USA, most notably the Courtauld Institute, Central St. Martin’s college of Art, MONASH university Australia, and Princeton University (forthcoming) USA. Bayjoo is participating in the Diaspora Pavilion 2 programme.

Kashif Nadim Chaudry (b. Nottingham, United Kingdom; lives and works in Nottingham) is informed by his family heritage in tailoring which has influenced and focused his practice around the importance of materiality and craftsmanship. His work is characterised by the working, shaping and moulding of physical objects through the use of elaborate textile-based techniques to create monumental installations from fabric and found objects. Negotiating his identity as a British born gay man of Pakistani Muslim heritage much of Chaudry’s work questions how people choose to position themselves in the world. It is increasingly the sculptural and three-dimensional possibilities within his work that address the idea of positioning power, the sacred and the ceremonial. Recent exhibitions include Swags & Tails as part of the Asia Triennial, Manchester, UK (2014) and The Three Graces, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2016). Chaudry will exhibit in ‘I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney’ at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in collaboration with ICF.

Paul Maheke (b. Brive-la-Gaillarde, France; lives and works in London, United Kingdom) completed a MA in Art Practice at l’École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy in 2011 and a programme of study at Open School East, London/Margate in 2015. With a focus on dance, and through a varied and often collaborative body of work comprising performance, installation, sound and video, Maheke considers the potential of the body as an archive in order to examine how memory and identity are formed and constituted. Selected solo exhibitions include Levant, Ludlow 38, New York (2019); OOLOI, Triangle France, Marseille (2019); Diable Blanc, Galerie Sultana (2019); A fire circle for a public hearing, Vleeshal, Middelburg (2019). Selected group exhibitions and performances include Sénsa (performance with Nkisi and Ariel Efraim Ashbel), Abrons Art Center, New York, Performa 19 and Meetings on Art, 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Elements of Vogue, Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City (2019); Transcorporealities, Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2019); Le Fil d’Alerte, Fondation d’entreprise Ricard, Paris (2019); Get Up, Stand Up Now, Somerset House, London (2019); The Distance is Nowhere (performance with Sophie Mallett) ICA Miami (2019); Meetings on Art, 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Maheke exhibited in the 2017 Diaspora Pavilion.

Erika Tan leads a practice that is primarily research-led and manifests in multiple formats, with a leaning towards moving image, referencing distributed media in the form of cinema, gallery-based works, internet and digital practices. Evolving from an interest in anthropology and the moving image, her work is often informed by specific cultural, geographical or physical contexts. Her research interests focus on the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artefacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movement of ideas, people and objects. She is currently the Stanley Picker Fellow in Fine Art; Decolonising Arts Institute Associate Researcher, UAL; and a lecturer on the B.A. Fine Art, 4D Pathway, Central Saint Martins, UAL. Her work has been exhibited, collected and commissioned internationally including: A Place in the World, NUA Gallery, Norwich; Unrealised Commission, National Gallery, Singapore; On Attachments and Unknowns, Sa Sa Bassac, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Artist and Empire (Tate Touring, National Gallery Singapore 2016/7); Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You (NUS Museum, Singapore 2014); There Is No Road (LABoral, Spain 2010); Thermocline of Art (ZKM, Germany 2007); Around The World in Eighty Days (South London Gallery / ICA 2007); The Singapore Biennale (2006); Cities on the Move (Hayward Gallery, London). Recent curatorial projects: Sonic Soundings/Venice Trajectories and an instigator of FLOW, 3 days of events at Asia-Art-Activism, Raven Row. Tan exhibited in the 2017 Diaspora Pavilion. 

Zadie Xa (b. Vancouver, Canada; lives and works in London, United Kingdom) explores the overlapping and conflation of cultures that inform self-conceptualisation identities and notion of self through performance, video, painting and textiles. Her layered textile works are sites for exploring contemporary identity construction and performance through cultural sampling, informed by her own experience within the Asian diaspora. Xa’s intricate, hand sewn wearable and performable garments stitch together a range of personally relevant imagery sourced from music, digital space, fashion, and art history. Xa has developed a system of personalised semiotics that propose entirely new images and objects, creating a personal visual language for articulating nuanced Asian identity narratives, which are frequently situated within fantastical or supernatural realms. Recent solo exhibitions include Meetings on Art performance program for the Venice Biennale open week (2019), Child of Magohalmi and the Echos of Creation, Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan (2019) and Soju Sipping on a Sojourn to Saturn, Galeria Agustina Ferreyra, Mexico (2018). Xa will exhibit in ‘I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney’ at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in collaboration with ICF.


ICF was founded in 2007 to publicly promote the work of cultural practitioners, and to encourage and develop artistic and curatorial practice and discourse about contemporary visual art across all forms. ICF does this through commissioning new works, exhibitions, public programmes and events. ICF also promotes and supports the professional development and public visibility of cultural practitioners through programmes that include public exhibitions and events, mentoring and masterclasses. The 2016-18 programmes Diaspora Pavilion and Beyond the Frame were nationally and internationally notable for their innovative proposals and approaches to addressing professional development and cultural diversity. Both programmes were presented in partnership with University of the Arts London, and were co-directed by David Bailey, Mark Crawley, Nicola Green and Peter Clayton. Other ICF projects include: Tactical Interventions (Venice, Kassel, Munster, Istanbul in 2007), The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age (Sydney Biennial in 2010), Caribbean Pavilion (Liverpool Biennial in 2010), Black Diaspora Visual Art (2011-2), Curating the International Diaspora (London, Gwangju, Sharjah, Barbados and Martinique 2016-7), Sensational Bodies (2017) and Migrating Cities (2019). ICF is currently developing the Diaspora Pavilion 2 programme (2019 – 2021).

Image: Zadie Xa, Child of Magohalmi and the Echos of Creation, live performance as part of Art Night London (2019) Devised with and performed by Iris Chan, Jia-Yu Corti, Mary Feliciano, Jihye Kim and Yumino Seki, percussion: Jihye Kim, choreographed by Jia-Yu Corti and Yumino Seki; photo: Matt Rowe.

Presenting Partners: 

Supporting Partners: