Events

Blue Skies: A Conversation Series

Jillian Mayer - You'll Be Ok (2014)


Blue Skies – A Conversation Series

Jillian Mayer - You'll Be Ok (2014)

Earlier this year, during the height of the global pandemic and mandatory isolation, ICF sought to continue contact with and support of its network in myriad ways – one of which was a new strand of activity titled Blue Skies.

Initiated as a conversation series, Blue Skies fostered one-to-one and group conversations led by practitioners working across multiple disciplines on a proposed topic that could take into account the immediate and long-term impact of Covid-19 upon creative practice, personal and/or public life.

If participants also felt it possible, we welcomed speculations and encouraged hearing about identifications of foreseeable changes that they would like to pragmatically cohere – the parameters constituting what those desired changes were or could be, left open for interpretation. In the midst of (and exacerbated by) the Covid-19 lockdown, the world was also confronted with the glaring reality of the inequalities embedded in our societies, which several participants in the conversation series have chosen to address in their analysis of our current moment and possible futures.

Blue Skies commences with 14 conversations from participants based in Africa, Australia, Europe, India, South America, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, to be published in different audio-visual formats supported with closed captioning and downloadable transcripts between July and September 2020. These and future conversations will form a public, collective dialogue around the capacity for this moment to elicit change.

Image: Jillian Mayer, You’ll Be Okay video still (2014). Courtesy of David Castillo Gallery.

Rujunko Pugh & Marie-Therese Png

hold a conversation between their respective locations in Sydney, Australia and Oxford, UK about Afro-Asian perspectives, reflecting on this historic period of COVID-19 and BLM.

Rujunko Pugh & Marie-Therese Png

hold a conversation between their respective locations in Sydney, Australia and Oxford, UK about Afro-Asian perspectives, reflecting on this historic period of COVID-19 and BLM.

Simina Neagu, Valentina Bin & Andrea Phillips

speak about methodologies and practices for self-organisation in the UK arts sector, the future of art education, devaluation, de-professionalisation and rethinking art institutions as community centres.

Simina Neagu, Valentina Bin & Andrea Phillips

speak about methodologies and practices for self-organisation in the UK arts sector, the future of art education, devaluation, de-professionalisation and rethinking art institutions as community centres.

Season Butler & Françoise Vergès

are writers based in Germany/UK and France respectively. Their collaboration explores the potentials of truly internationalist, feminist, intersectional solidarities through dialogue and poetry.

Season Butler & Françoise Vergès

are writers based in Germany/UK and France respectively. Their collaboration explores the potentials of truly internationalist, feminist, intersectional solidarities through dialogue and poetry.

Jamila Johnson-Small & Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin

discuss the embodied emotional and psychic impact of conservatoire dance training and their wider research into marginalised forms of knowledge production and strategies for holding space without violence and cringe.

Jamila Johnson-Small & Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin

discuss the embodied emotional and psychic impact of conservatoire dance training and their wider research into marginalised forms of knowledge production and strategies for holding space without violence and cringe.

Naima Hassan & Anisa Daud

present a conversation on workers, wellbeing and care infrastructures in Nairobi and Oxford through an initial dialogue between the authors and six conversations with workers in both cities.

Naima Hassan & Anisa Daud

present a conversation on workers, wellbeing and care infrastructures in Nairobi and Oxford through an initial dialogue between the authors and six conversations with workers in both cities.

JAŠA Mrevlje-Pollak & Gorazd V. Mrevlje

are an artist and a psychiatrist, and a son and a father, whose conversation is a reflection on their relationship and recent events in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

JAŠA Mrevlje-Pollak & Gorazd V. Mrevlje

are an artist and a psychiatrist, and a son and a father, whose conversation is a reflection on their relationship and recent events in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Khaleb Brooks & Naeem Davis

are an artist and cultural curator based in London, UK. They will discuss the necessity for creating and nurturing ecologies of knowledge and support for the Black Trans community with a specific focus on trans masculinity.

Khaleb Brooks & Naeem Davis

are an artist and cultural curator based in London, UK. They will discuss the necessity for creating and nurturing ecologies of knowledge and support for the Black Trans community with a specific focus on trans masculinity.

Elijah Maja & Ibrahim Cissé with Dominique White & Adam Farah

participate in an open ended conversation that threaded provocations and questions together to explore current mind-states, strategies and thoughts on care and collectivity, alongside their individual practices.

Elijah Maja & Ibrahim Cissé with Dominique White & Adam Farah

participate in an open ended conversation that threaded provocations and questions together to explore current mind-states, strategies and thoughts on care and collectivity, alongside their individual practices.

Bhavisha Panchia & Leyya Mona Tawil (Lime Rickey International)

exchange ideas around the potentials of sonic disruption and noise as response to nationhood and displacement, and migration, through a series of conversations between Johannesburg and Detroit.

Bhavisha Panchia & Leyya Mona Tawil (Lime Rickey International)

exchange ideas around the potentials of sonic disruption and noise as response to nationhood and displacement, and migration, through a series of conversations between Johannesburg and Detroit.

Alex & Rory

are the anonymised names of an artist and a researcher based in the UK who have created space for a conversation around what change is necessary for reshaping the conditions of work and living for disabled and neuro-diverse people

Alex & Rory

are the anonymised names of an artist and a researcher based in the UK who have created space for a conversation around what change is necessary for reshaping the conditions of work and living for disabled and neuro-diverse people

Aidan Moesby & Claire Doherty

discuss leadership, change and the significance of context in curating and producing.

Aidan Moesby & Claire Doherty

discuss leadership, change and the significance of context in curating and producing.

Jillian Mayer & Adelaide Bannerman

The lead-image for the Blue Skies conversation series is a still from artist Jillian Mayer’s 2014 video 'You’ll Be Okay.' ICF approached Mayer to capture her reflection on the work itself, reviewing its original intent and it’s reading in the moment of the pandemic.

Jillian Mayer & Adelaide Bannerman

The lead-image for the Blue Skies conversation series is a still from artist Jillian Mayer’s 2014, video 'You’ll Be Okay.' ICF approached Mayer to capture her reflection on the work itself, reviewing its original intent and it’s reading in the moment of the pandemic.

Upcoming conversations:

 

Rubiane Maia & Tom Nobrega are artists from Brazil who have been experiencing the pandemic from abroad. Rubiane is based in Folkestone, UK, while Tom is currently stranded in Peru, trying to find a way to get back to Brazil. From these locations they will exchange perspectives and impressions about their daily lives, the experience of being a foreigner during these lockdown times, the complexity of communicating over distance and how the personal and the political often get indistinguishable when they think about how the political situation in their homeland, where Indigenous, Black and LGBTQI citizens live under a constant threat.

Vidisha Fadescha is an artist-curator & Jyotsna Siddharth is an actor, writer and activist based in New Delhi. They are building intersectional dialogues around caste and gender as Sive. They will discuss the idea of “normality,” systemic violence upon bodies manifested through citizenships and borders in context of the pandemic. Thinking of human rights and defence especially by womxn and LGBTQIA+ we believe are considered disposable, they unpack how these navigations are made with strictures of race, caste, gender and sexualities, also in the frontline response to Covid 19.

Blue Skies at the 2020 Fringe Arts Bath Photomarathon
 

ICF was invited to propose a theme for the 2020 Fringe Arts Bath Photomarathon, so as an extension of the Blue Skies Conversation Series we asked participants in the Photomarathon to respond to the proposal that “Blue Skies is a way of imagining the potential for change in the midst of all that we are facing as a society.” View the online exhibition of the photos submitted on the FAB website. 

The Blue Skies Conversation Series is made possible with Art Fund support 

Global Plantation Series

Shiraz Bayjoo, Extraordinary Quarantines No15

Global Plantation Series

This programme is a series of artist-directed digital discussions featuring Shiraz BayjooJasmine Togo-Brisby and Sancintya Mohini Simpson held between June and September 2020. The series was developed by Anna Arabindan-Kesson and Shiraz in collaboration with International Curators Forum to contemplate the global forms and meanings of the plantation historically, and in our contemporary moment.

A Land of Extraordinary Quarantines

When Mark Twain visited Mauritius in 1896, he described it as a Land of Extraordinary Quarantines, referring to the fear of disease transmission associated with ships transporting indentured laborers to the island. The dual image of the island as a space of quarantine and a plantation animates artist Shiraz Bayjoo’s multi-media practice, and the archives-in formation he creates. In this conversation Shiraz and art historian Anna Arabindan-Kesson will reflect on the convergence of extraction and confinement, of humans and natural world, of labor and memory in his Indian ocean landscapes. How does art help us understand the afterlives of these colonial histories, in our current experience of confinement, and provide alternative possibilities for working through this uncertain present?

Read conversation transcript.

Inheritance: Jasmine Togo-Brisby’s Plantation Histories

In this recording, Anna and Shiraz speak with artist Jasmine Togo-Brisby about her research and practice as it relates to an ongoing engagement with the history of the enslavement of South Sea Islanders on Australian sugarcane plantations in the 19th century, and the contemporary legacy and impact of the Pacific’s slave trade. The conversation addresses the generational reality of the plantation as home, the capacity of the archive to render plantation histories both visible and invisible, and the ways in which both Jasmine and Shiraz excavate family and public archives as a means of formulating new visual languages through which to make public these narratives.

Read conversation transcript.

Sites of Resistance, Sites of Care: A Conversation with Sancintya Mohini Simpson 

In this recording, Anna and Shiraz speak with Brisbane-based artist and researcher Sancintya Mohini Simpson, a descendent of indentured labourers sent from India to South Africa to work on colonial sugar plantations, whose practice addresses gaps and silences in the colonial archive and is engaged in wider narratives surrounding the indenture diaspora community. This conversation takes up the plantation as a site of resistance and connection, and the history of migration as a continual one. Sancintya speaks about the poetics of memory and the impossibility of the archive, the latter of which is created both intentionally through strategies of care and respect and as a consequence of lost languages and histories. Refusing Western expectations around the archive, Sancintya and Shiraz draw attention to the complexity of memorialising the stories and images of indentured labourers and presenting histories of trauma to an audience.

Read conversation transcript.

Artists Q&A with Shiraz Bayjoo, Jasmine Togo-Brisby & Sancintya Mohini Simpson

About the speakers: 

Shiraz Bayjoo 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.

Anna Arabindan-Kesson is an art historian and writer, who is jointly appointed as an Assistant Professor of Black Diaspora Art in the departments of African American Studies and Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. She has lived and studied in Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and England and prior to completing her PhD in African American Studies and Art History in the United States, Anna was a Registered Nurse. Her personal and professional background inflect her academic and curatorial work which focuses on the relationship of vision and visuality to histories of race, empire, and migration.

Jasmine Togo-Brisby is a fourth-generation Australian South Sea Islander, whose great-great-grandparents were taken from Vanuatu as children and put to work on an Australian sugarcane plantation. Togo-Brisby’s research examines the historical practice of ‘blackbirding’, a romanticised colloquialism for the Pacific slave trade, and its contemporary legacy and impact upon those who trace their roots to New Zealand and Australia through the slave-diaspora. Based in Wellington, Togo-Brisby is one of the few artists delving into the cultural memory and shared histories of plantation colonisation across the Pacific, her practice encompassing painting, early photographic techniques and processes, and sculpture.

Sancintya Mohini Simpson is an artist and researcher based in Brisbane, Australia. She is a descendent of indentured labourers sent to work, from India to South Africa, on colonial sugar plantations. Her work navigates the complexities of migration, memory and trauma through addressing gaps and silences within the colonial archive. Simpson’s work moves between painting, video, poetry and performance to develop narratives and rituals. Her practice is grounded in collaboration and community engagement, engaging in wider narratives surrounding the indenture diaspora community. Simpson’s recent solo exhibitions include New Old Archives, Milani Gallery, Brisbane (2020); Kūlī nām dharāyā/ they’ve given you the name ‘coolie’, Institute of Modern Art Belltower, Brisbane (2020); Echoes Over Oceans (with Shivanjani Lal), Firstdraft, Sydney (2020); Remnants of my ancestors, Boxcopy (Hobiennale), Hobart (2019); Natal’s Coolie Women, CARPARK, Milani Gallery, Brisbane (2019); and Bloodlines at Metro Arts, Brisbane and Blak Dot Gallery (Next Wave Festival), Melbourne (2018). Her work has been exhibited and performed at a number of institutions, most recently at the Museum of Brisbane (2020); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2019); and QUT Art Museum, Brisbane (2018). In 2019 she undertook a residency at 1Shanthiroad in Bangalore, India, awarded through Asialink Arts Creative Exchange. Simpson is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

Curator/Researcher in Residence at Art360 Foundation Engaging with the Archive of Aubrey Williams

Hope Strickland selected as Curator/Researcher in Residence

at Art360 Foundation in partnership with International Curators Forum 


We are thrilled to announce that Hope Strickland has been selected as Curator/Researcher in Residence at Art360 Foundation working with the archive of British-Guyanese artist Aubrey Williams. The residency is designed to encourage and facilitate new and dynamic readings of Williams’ work and practice through an active engagement with the archive.

Supported by ICF, Hope will review the materials – such as exhibition documents, photographs, personal correspondence, press clippings and political documents – in the archive and develop a new strand of research and analysis over the coming months.

Hope Strickland is a visual artist and ethnographic researcher from Manchester, UK. Her interests span feminist ecologies, the Black radical imagination and archival response: previous projects include an experimental documentary with the Windrush generation in South Manchester, using both archival materials and footage shot in a day centre for the Caribbean elderly. Hope will be commencing a practice-led PhD at UCL this September, exploring Haitian, female water deities as an opportunity for Black agency and watery resistance.

Through a nation-wide open call in May 2020 Art360 Foundation and International Curators Forum invited curators and researchers interested in engaging with and developing work around Williams’ archive to apply for the opportunity.

Born in Guyana, Williams is credited as being one of the most important post-war British painters, noted for bringing together a spectrum of visual references and cultural perspectives in his work. Trained as an agronomist, Williams held an array of interests from pre-Columbian iconography, classical music and ornithology, and was a founding member of the Caribbean Artists Movement.

Williams’ archive is currently held at Art360 Foundation in London, and work on it archive was underway before Covid-19, with documentation and reporting on the contents of the archive close to completion. Although physical access to the archive won’t be possible until social isolation measures change, Hope will utilise existing records to begin preliminary research remotely. The residency will continue with direct access to the archive at a future date and will run until February 2021.

Images: Aubrey Williams Archive (c) Aubrey Williams Estate. Photo: Art360 Foundation.

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.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS  

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.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL CURATORS FORUM (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: 

I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney


ICF and 4A present:
‘I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney’

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. 

Exhibiting artists: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa and Daniela Yohannes.
Curators: Adelaide Bannerman, Mikala Tai and Jessica Taylor.

I am a heart beating in the world is the first of a series of peripatetic international events that culminate in ICF’s Diaspora Pavilion 2 programme. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is collaborating with ICF to present this unfolding series that will interrogate and complicate the term diaspora. As the first project of the series, I am a heart beating in the world presents the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of diasporic subjectivities through the works of six artists based in Australia, the UK and Caribbean: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa, Daniela Yohannes.

Understanding diaspora as a distinct sometimes provisional experience nuanced economically, historically and regionally I am a heart beating in the world is as much an exhibition as it is a research project, underpinned by fieldwork and reviews of how artists, curators, theorists and institutions engage with diaspora as a topic. 4A’s biannual 4A Curators Intensive will be held alongside the exhibition in April bringing together early-career Australian curators alongside a UK based early career curator for a week-long professional development programme. The intensive will be facilitated through workshops, lectures, site visits and discussions.

Watch video interviews with the exhibiting artists

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (b. Port Kembla, Australia 1977 lives and works in Perth, Australia) is a sculptor whose practice explores the different ways that memory can inhabit and emerge from familial spaces. Drawing on the narrative capacity of animal archetypes, crafted objects and the human presence, Abdullah aims to articulate physical dialogues between the natural world, politics and the agency of culture. Recent exhibitions include The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2019), Dark Horizons, Pataka Art + Museum, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand (2017) and Magic ObjectAdelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Adelaide, Australia (2016).

Kashif Nadim Chaudry (b. Nottingham, United Kingdom 1976 lives and works in Nottingham, United Kingdom) 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. In relation, 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).

Lindy Lee (b. Brisbane, Australia 1954 lives and works in Byron Bay, Australia) has an expansive practice that explores her Chinese ancestry through Taoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism – philosophies that see humanity and nature as inextricably linked. Symbolic gestures and processes that call on the element of chance are often used to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence and the cosmos. Rather than singular visual statements, they are thoughtful objects where meaning emerges from sustained meditation. Recent exhibitions include the solo Lindy Lee: The Dark of Absolute Freedom, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, Australia (2014), and group exhibitions Divided Worlds: Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia (2018) and Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2012).

Leyla Stevens (b. Cooroy, Australia 1982 lives and works between Bali, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia) is an Australian-Balinese artist and researcher who works predominately within moving image and photography. Her practice is informed by ongoing concerns around gesture, ritual, spatial encounters, transculturation and counter histories. Working within modes of representation that shift between the documentary and speculative fictions, her work deals with a notion of counter archives and alternative genealogies. Recent exhibitions include her solo presentations Their Sea is Always Hungry, UTS Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2019) and Of Love and Decomposition, Firstdraft, Sydney, Australia (2016) and group exhibitions Breathing Room (collaboration with Woven Kolektif), Cement Fondue, Sydney, Australia (2019), BEAUT 19, Brisbane & Elsewhere Art UnTriennial, Brisbane, Australia (2018) and the John Fries Award, UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia (2018).

Daniela Yohannes (b. 1982 lives and works in Guadeloupe, in the French Carribean) is a British-Eritrean/Ethiopian artist who, since training, as an illustrator has meandered through several disciplines before becoming an artist. Since moving to the Caribbean two years ago, her surroundings have found their way into her creations. She describes her inspiration as that of the invisible; the forces and concepts that drive and surround us: unseen but constantly at work on our bodies and minds. Her paintings and recent moving image works are witness to the expression of nature; explorations of the intimate experiences that are shared only with the elements: earth, air, water, and space. She confronts themes of the unconscious, race, identity and ancestry, the ethereal nature of the cosmos and plurality of the individual – interrogating the nature of belonging and what constitutes that feeling of ‘home’ and the impact and consequences of alienation. Recent solo exhibitions include; The Fall: A Woman’s descent into the Unconscious, Addis Fine Art Project Space London, UK, (2019), Beyond Voudou, The Pikture Gallery Bangkok, Thailand (2010) and group exhibitions Influence Project, Real Music Rebels East Wing Takeover, Somerset House London, UK, (2018) and House of Wahala Project Texas, USA (2017).

Zadie Xa (b. Vancouver, Canada 1983 lives and works in London, United Kingdom) explores the overlapping and conflation of cultures that inform self-conceptualised identities and notions 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).

Images: Daniela Yohannes, Atopias: I Have Left that Dark Cave Forever, My Body has Blended with Hers (2019) Video still; photo courtesy the artist. 

Thirteen Ways of Looking / NAWM & ICF Curator in Residence at the Herbert

An animation of a butterfly between two heads

Thirteen Ways of Looking

An exhibition by Dr Sylvia Theuri, the New Art West Midlands & International Curators Forum Curator in Residence

at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry (2 October – 13 December 2020)

An animation of a butterfly between two heads

Image courtesy Shiyi Li (2020)

The title of this exhibition is inspired by Wallace Stevens’ poem ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ (1917). The thirteen verses of the poem each describe the presence and movement of a blackbird in a different way – creating multiple perspectives and viewpoints of the bird. The blackbird in the poem symbolises the importance of flexibility and fluidity in order to create space for multiple forms of experience, knowledge and understanding.

This exhibition borrows from Stevens’ approach, bringing together existing and newly commissioned artworks by thirteen artists and curators. Their working practices bring forward international, multicultural, multi-faith and feminist perspectives which shift very much like those of the blackbird in the poem.

Thirteen Ways of Looking explores different strategies of resistance that overlap and intersect in the physical spaces of the gallery and digitally online. They challenge where art belongs, where it’s experienced and who is being addressed.

The participating artists and curators are: Hira Butt, Eddie Chambers, Sonya Dyer, Andreana Fatta, Hyphen-Labs, Navi Kaur, Shama Khanna, Roshini Kempadoo, Shiyi Li, Farwa Moledina, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney and Matías Serra Delmar.

An exhibition curated by Dr Sylvia Theuri.

A New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curatorial Residency in partnership with and hosted by Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, in association with Coventry Biennial.

Images courtesy Garry Jones

The NAWM & ICF Curatorial Residency at the Herbert (August 2019 – December 2020):

Dr. Sylvia Theuri was appointed as New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curator in Residence in partnership with and hosted by the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in association with Coventry Biennial in August 2019.

Sylvia was selected for the post by a panel of arts professionals through an open call to curators based in and affiliated with the West Midlands. The post was made possible through partnership with the Herbert Art Gallery and International Curators Forum, as part of a New Art West Midlands programme supporting new talent and perspectives funded by Arts Council England. The partnership with International Curators Forum provided professional development support and mentorship for Sylvia, as well as access to international networks and contexts – part of a distinctive professional development package that aims to create pathways into future opportunities for Sylvia and for the artists involved.

At the time of the appointment Sylvia noted: “I am excited to have taken on the role of Curator in Residence and to be a part of shaping the developing arts and culture in the city of Coventry where I live and call home. It is of great importance that we foster the visibility of and engagement with the visual arts to new and varied audiences, by ensuring that visual art spaces are not seen as ‘uninhabitable spaces’ but rather as welcoming and comfortable”.

The exhibition features 6 artists who were part of a cohort of 20 early-career artists selected by ICF and NAWN to exhibit as part of the 2019 Coventry Biennial. Talking about working with those artists to produce new work relating to Coventry, Sylvia says: “I am very much looking forward to working with a cohort of New Art West Midlands 2019 artists to help shape their professional development across the course of the next year towards a new exhibition in 2020”.

Craig Ashley, Director of New Art West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to announce Sylvia’s appointment and look forward to working with her over the next 12 months. She brings a distinctive approach and perspective, with ambitions to support and reflect the region’s very best talent.”

 

 

 

All of the logos for the organisations involved in the project