Past Event

Enam Gbewonyo: agbegbɔgbɔ

Enam Gbewonyo: agbegbɔgbɔ

Henry Moore Institute, Leeds 

To mark the closing of Senga Nengudi’s first institutional solo exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute, on 17 February textile and performance artist Enam Gbewonyo delivered the performance piece agbegbɔgbɔ*. Meaning to breathe life or life force, agbegbɔgbɔ does so in a literal sense by once more activating Nengudi’s Sandmining piece.

The performance draws on the themes of Native American healing that inform this work and African tradition and ceremony that inform Nengudi’s Ceremony for Freeway Fets. Injected with symbology and cultural references particular to Gbewonyo’s heritage as a Ghanaian Ewe, the performance is both a response and a moment of pollination – the fusing of two cross-generational practices from polar worlds that are actually of the same mind and ethos.

Through this unison agbegbɔgbɔ becomes a symbol of endurance and journey both of the black diaspora and humankind. In real time it also provides a live healing space, enveloping its audience with the reverberating life force created by the energy of the performance.

Participating in this performance were Carmen Okome, a BA Fine Art student at the University of Leeds and Nii Kwartey Owoo, Director of Miishe African Music and Dance, Leeds. Okome’s practice focuses on expressions of identity and navigates the representation of the black female in current British culture through digital media, photography, painting, sculpture and performance. As Director of Miishe, Owoo’s heritage as a Ghanaian Ga underlies the original choreography he creates, fusing current global dance styles with the spiritual beliefs, storytelling and symbolism of the Ga people. Nii will bring agbegbɔgbɔ to life with live traditional Ewe drumming. 

*agbegbɔgbɔ – pronounced ag-bey-bor-bor

This event was a presented by HMI in collaboration with ICF. Enam participated in ICF’s Beyond the Frame programme (2016-2018). 

Images by Jerry Hardman-Jones

Migrating Cities

Migrating Cities 

Hong Kong 

ICF presented the project Migrating Cities in Hong Kong on 18 & 18 January 2019 in the Prison Yard of the Tai Kwun Art Centre. 
Curated by ICF Head of Programmes Jessica Taylor and Gabria Lupone, Migrating Cities included a film programme that brought together works by six international artists that address certain geopolitical, historical, cultural and economic relationships between specific cities and places. It explored narratives of global connections and exchange through the films of Larry Achiampong, Madiha Aijaz, Iván Argote, Mohau Modisakeng, Amie Siegel and Sam Smith.

Sam Smith’s film Lithic Choreographies examines the geological history of the Swedish island of Gotland, Larry Achiampong uncovers fragments of the forgotten empire of the United Kingdom in Relic 1, and Madiha Aijaz’s These Silences Are All The Words takes its lead from a series of conversations held in the Bedil Library in 2017, examining a range of topics in Pakistani history and culture. Mohau Modisakeng meditates on the types of migration to and from South Africa in his work Passage, Iván Argote digs an imaginary channel from Indonesia to Colombia in As Far As We Could Get, while Amie Siegel’s film The Architects moves through various architecture studios in New York City, gazing uncompromisingly at the highly networked production of global architecture.

ICF’s presentation in Hong Kong also included a newly produced sound work by conceptual artist Peter Adjaye entitled Sumsum in the entrance of the UAL Global Pavilion as part of his ongoing Music for Architecture project. 

Images: Larry Achiampong, Relic 1 (2017); Amie Siegel, The Architects (2014); Mohau Modisakeng, Passage (2017); Sam Smith, Lithic Choreographies (2018); Madiha Aijaz, These Silences Are All The Words (2017-8); Ivan Argote, As Far As We Could Get (2017). 

ICF was commissioned to curate this project by Chelsea College of Arts for the UAL Global Pavilion at Tai Kwun as part of the British Council Spark Festival. 

Beyond the Frame


Beyond the Frame 

Beyond the Frame was a two-year professional development programme for ten emerging UK-based curators. The programme involved one-to-one mentorship, five residencies at Iniva’s Stuart Hall Library and Metal Liverpool, networking opportunities with Arts Council Collection, Barbican Centre, Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery, and masterclasses with professionals such as Okwui Enwezor, Trevor Schoonmaker, Mark Nash, Gabi Ncgobo, Stefano Rabolli Pansera, Robert Storr, Hetain Patel & Skinder Hundal, Salah Hassan, Zoe Whitley & Hew Locke and Sally Tallant that addressed a range of subjects including fund raising, gallery management, specific curatorial projects and exhibitions, and curatorial skills development. 

The programme also included trips and site visits to major institutions, biennials and exhibitions including Haus der Kunst (Munich), Documenta (Kassel), Diaspora Pavilion & Venice Biennale, Sharjah Biennial & March Meeting, Berlin Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, New Art Exchange (Nottingham), Prospect New Orleans, Metal (Liverpool) and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. 

ICF also supported Beyond the Frame programme participants in realising their own projects in conjunction with the Diaspora Pavilion, such as Annie Kwan’s performance programme with her organisation Something Human in Venice in 2017, which included a performance with artist Libita Clayton in response to her work in the Pavilion and Katarzyna Sobucka’s collaboration with ICF on the closing programme of the Diaspora Pavilion, which included performances and screenings by four Polish artists in dialogue with the DP artists (two of which went on to be included in an event curated by Sobucka for her BTF x Metal residency in Liverpool the following year). 

Participating curators: Kat Anderson, Lisa Anderson, Azadeh Fatehrad, Enam Gbewonyo, Annie Jael Kwan, Sooree Pillay, Sunil Shah, Armindokht Shooshtari, Cynthia Silveira and Katarzyna Sobucka. 

Mentors: Adelaide Bannerman, Iwona Blazwick, Paul Goodwin, Skinder Hundal, Melanie Keen, Sally Tallant, Allison Thompson, Carol Tulloch and Zoe Whitley


Curated by Sunil Shah 

As part of the Beyond the Frame curatorial programme, Sunil Shah has undertaken a residency at Metal Liverpool, the result of which was a public screening and discussion programme at OUTPUT Gallery in Liverpool (27 – 30 September 2018) 

New York based artist/activist Sean Vegezzi’s film DMYCC (2017) was presented at OUTPUT gallery in Liverpool to initiate a dialogue about art in Liverpool and the space of its production and presentation. DMYCC documents 10 years of appropriating a disused, underground subway station in downtown lower Manhatten. In Vegezzi’s words, “DMYCC is an initialism that encompasses the physical space itself, the desire to gain access to it, and a shifting roster of efforts to install and enact a private recreational domain within it.”

Taking it’s setting as Liverpool’s Kazimier Gardens and its new gallery space, OUTPUT gallery, DMYCC (an acronym for Downtown Manhatten Youth Communty Club) is staged as a departure point for DLASC (Downtown Liverpool Art Space Conversation) in which local artists and cultural producers (speakers tbc) will be invited to discuss art spaces in Liverpool today and especially in light of the city’s high profile art institutions and its international biennial.

The Discussion event took place on 29 September (2-4 pm) with contributions from Danielle Waine, Sufea Mohamad Noor and Michael Lacey.

Sean Vegezzi, DMYCC, 2017

Sensational Bodies

Sensational Bodies

Sensational Bodies was an evening of performances and screenings by Adam Patterson (Barbados/Netherlands) and Rubiane Maia (Brazil/UK) curated by ICF curators Adelaide Bannerman and Jessica Taylor for the 2018 Jerwood Staging Series.

Adam Patterson presented a new performance, Bikkel (2018) and a film entitled Lookalook (2018), while Rubiane Maia premiered the performance This voice cuts me off, removing my feet from their place (2018) and screened Stones across the ocean: Northern hemisphere, part 1 (2017). Both artists explored the effects of colonisation on society and on the body through the establishment of power structures that breed violence, displacement and defensiveness. In their practices, both Patterson and Maia recognise the tendency to surround oneself with a cocoon or shell as protection against being trampled by these forces and consider forms of resistance, such as movement, understanding and love, that can enable them to learn to unlearn ways of seeing and being in these spaces in order to survive.

An interview between Adam Patterson and Jessica Taylor can be found here and an interview between Rubiane Maia and Adelaide Bannerman can be found here. 

Photos © Hydar Dewachi

Rubiane Maia
This voice cuts me off, removing my feet from their place. Performance in collaboration with Adelaide Bannerman (2018)

On January 15th 2018, Rubiane Maia committed to write every day for a year. It didn’t matter if only one word, one sentence, or several pages. She simply sat and wrote without having a definite direction. The performance ‘This voice cuts me off, removing my feet from their place’ initiated by the desire of weaving fragmented texts without beginning or end, into a personal narrative full of enquiries about life, memory, traumas and institutional power.

Stones across the ocean: Northern hemisphere, part 1. Film (2017) Throw a stone into the sea.

Repeat throwing. – Throw another stone into the sea. Repeat the act. – Repeating. – Repeat. – Stretch your arm toward the sky. – Throw this stone into the sea. – Gazing or observing the horizon. – Throw each stone into the sea with as much force as possible so they can continue their journey into the unknown. – Breathe. – Throw another stone into the sea so that together they can sail with less solitude. – Throw a lot of stones into the sea. – A deep breathing. – Repeat the gesture, relinquishing the state of fatigue, of immobility, and imagining that each stone will take the form of a small submarine cruising far away. – Distancing from the mainland. The video ‘Stones across the ocean’ was made in September 2017, five days before the birth of my son. In the folding of time between the present and my projected future.

Adam Patterson
Bikkel. Performance (2018)

Responding to particular constructions of masculinity, Adam Patterson presents a new performance entitled Bikkel. Its namesake referring to a man with an inauthentic strength or toughness, Bikkel adopts and re-imagines the motif of the sea urchin, depicting the spiked marine animal not as hard, brittle and defensive but as elastic and porous, with the capacity to be held and squeezed. Patterson’s approach to masculinity in this formation of Bikkel is inspired by Audre Lorde’s turn to love and softness as a means of survival and a tool of resistance against social expectations of gender.

Lookalook. Performance, digital video (2018). Documented by Logan C Thomas.

Lookalook documents a performative walk in Bridgetown, Barbados, using masquerade to characterise and personify the violence and (dis)possession experienced in being looked at, in being the object of another’s gaze. ‘Stinklook’ and ‘cut-eye’ are invoked by Lookalook, a monster born to give these mannerisms a sense of mythology.

Beyond the Frame: Masterclass with Gabi Ngcobo

Beyond the Frame: Masterclass with Gabi Ngcobo 


As the Beyond the Frame and Diaspora Pavilion projects came to an end in the summer of 2018, ICF organised two final trips to Berlin and Liverpool to attend the Biennials happening in those two cities, and opened those trips up to both the artist and curator cohorts as a means of providing important moments of exchange between the two groups.

In June 2018, Michael Forbes, Libita Clayton, Annie Kwan, Sunil Shah, Lisa Anderson and Kasia Sobucka travelled with the ICF team to Berlin to see the Biennial and to meet with the Biennial’s curator Gabi Ngcobo to hear about her experience of producing one of the most discussed exhibitions of the year. 

Ngcobo’s Berlin Biennial was titled We Don’t Need Another Hero and purported to be less preoccupied with providing answers and more intent on raising questions. Ngcobo has been working as a curator in South Africa since the early 2000’s and for the Berlin Biennial brought together a group of diverse curatorial advisors from different countries with a range of interests and practices. Our masterclass with Ngcobo was only a few days after the Biennial had opened to the public and she was still processing all that had happened that week, but she spoke openly with the group about the decisions and difficulties that went into and resulted from choosing not to present ‘a coherent reading of histories or the present.’ Her curatorial interest in ‘different configurations of knowledge and power that enable contradictions and complications’ echoed the aims of the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition and her discussion of this approach was an important learning moment for the group. 

In addition to this masterclass, the group met with ICF’s colleague Axel Lapp, who is the Director of the MEWO Kunsthalle in Memmingen, and Bhavisha Panchia, who provided a tour of her exhibition For the Record at Ifa Gallery. 

ICF x Liverpool Biennial 2018 Curatorial Residency

ICF x Liverpool Biennial 2018 Curatorial Residency


Curator Huma Kabakci was selected as a result of a nation-wide open call to undertake a curatorial placement working with the Liverpool Biennial team supported by ICF from May to September 2018 in lead up to the opening of the city’s 10th Biennial, entitled Beautiful world, where are you? 

Huma Kabakcı (b. in 1990, London, UK) graduated from BA Advertising & Marketing at London College of Communication in 2011, and later on graduated from her MA in Curating Contemporary Art at Royal College of Art, London. She worked and interned in various galleries, museums and auction houses, both in the UK and Turkey, including Sotheby’s New Bond Street (Contemporary Art Sales department), The Albion Gallery (London), Pera Museum (Turkey), as well as three major collection exhibitions she worked on in museums during the 2010 Ruhr & Pecs Capital of Culture project.

Since graduating from her MA Huma Kabakcı founded Open Space Contemporary and has been collaborating with various projects and organisations including Alt, Artkurio, Block Universe, IKSV, Open Dialogue Istanbul, The Art Department and SALT. Along with Block Universe, Open Space Contemporary co-commissioned Işıl Eğrikavuk’s performance titled “Pluto’s Kitchen” at the Ned and Shoreditch House as a part of Block Universe Performance Festival (26 April 2017 & 30 May 2017).

Huma’s recent curatorial projects include; Adventitious Encounters group exhibition (9-22 March 2018) with 20 international emerging and established artists which she co-curated and organised as Open Space Contemporary Founder and Ladies’ Paradise group exhibition (22 February- 12 April 2018) taking place at Grace Belgravia with four emerging female artists including Merve İşeri, Clementine Keith-Roach, Güneş Terkol and Sofia Stevi. Over the years, she has gained excellent knowledge in Turkish, Middle Eastern Contemporary Art and Emerging Contemporary Art in London and her curatorial interest lies in subjects such as; diaspora, cultural identity, gender, memory and the body.

She contributed to various publications including Guggenheim Blog, IAN, Ibraaz Online Publication and SYRUP Magazine. Huma currently lives and works between Istanbul and London.

Beyond the Frame: Masterclass with Trevor Schoonmaker

Beyond the Frame: Masterclass with Trevor Schoonmaker 

Prospect.4, New Orleans 

In February 2018, the Beyond the Frame curators travelled to New Orleans to see Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp and to meet with the exhibition’s artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker. During the masterclass, Schoonmaker offered the group deep insight into his wider practice, as well as his experience in curating the exhibition and its relationship to the surrounding city. Alongside Susan Hendricks he offered the group a tour of one of the exhibition sites, the Contemporary Art Centre of New Orleans, and provided a contextualised description of the ways in which he approached the triennial’s various locations. During the trip Kara Walker launched a new commission for the exhibition entitled The Katastwóf Karavan at the city’s Algiers Point, which the group was also able to attend. 

Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton

Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton

Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton was a re-staging of a selection of artworks from the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition held in Venice during the 57th Biennale at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 10 February to 29 April 2018.

Exhibiting artists: Larry Achiampong, Kimathi Donkor, Michael Forbes, susan pui san lok, Paul Maheke, Erika Tan and Abbas Zahedi.

Take a virtual tour the exhibition.

The Venice Diaspora Pavilion exhibition, curated by David Bailey and Jessica Taylor, was conceived as a challenge to the prevalence of national pavilions within the structure of an international biennale and takes its form from the coming-together of nineteen artists whose practices in many ways expand, complicate and even destabilise diaspora as term, whilst highlighting the continued relevance that diaspora as a lived reality holds today.

The pavilion formed part of the 22-month professional development programme designed to deliver mentoring and professional development by ten selected mentors for twelve UK-based emerging artists whose work engages with the topic of the diaspora. During the length of the project, these practitioners took part in group forum, one-on-one mentoring sessions and group masterclasses. The selected participants and eight of the mentors showcased their work in the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition in Venice from May to November 2017. 

All of the emerging artists participating in the Diaspora Pavilion professional development programme were invited to exhibit in Wolverhampton. The seven artists who chose to include work in the West Midlands exhibition chose to do so with a mixture of existing and new works. 

The Wolverhampton exhibition was curated by Jessica Taylor and was supported by Arts Council England and the Art Fund. The Diaspora Pavilion programme was presented in partnership with University of the Arts London and was co-founded by David Bailey, Nicola Green, Peter Clayton and David Lammy. Images courtesy Steph Hargreaves. 

Diaspora Pavilion Closing Program

Diaspora Pavilion Closing Programme

24 – 26 November 2017 | Palazzo Pisani, Venice

To mark the closing of the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition in Venice, ICF produced a weekend-long closing programme of performances, screenings and talks in collaboration with 
Arts Territory and with the support of the Art Fund.

Programme participants: Barby Asante, Libita Clayton, Kimathi Donkor, Michael Forbes, susan pui san lok, Griet Menschaert, Katarzyna Perlak, Joanna Rajkowska, Justyna Scheuring, Erika Tan and Abbas Zahedi

After Venice, a selection of artworks were exhibited at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton

Performance programme: 
Libita Clayton, Untitled (2017) – a performance gesturing towards sites of othering and reckoning, punt holes and time traveling sinkholes. A short presentation of text, broken notes and ectoplasm. 

Barby Asante, A Declaration of Independence (2017) – a new performance within an on-going episodic project, the first chapter of which began in the Diaspora Pavilion, which involves the collection and archiving of narratives and stories from women of colour.

Abbas Zahedi – MANNA from Below (2017) – a lecture performance. 

susan pui san lok – Mobile Chorus (2005/2014/2017) – a 3-minute, 5-part instrumental score, for 5 or more voices, with the single lyric, golden, realised through occasional unrehearsed performances. At Diaspora Pavilion, Mobile Chorus will take place within the artist’s installation, Untitled (Pavilion). 

Erika Tan – Sonic Soundings/Venice Trajectories (2017) – a walking tour using the Sonic Soundings app which enables users to experience a sonic landscape of interventions posed throughout Venice by several practitioners including Diaspora Pavilion artists Larry Achiampong, Abbas Zahedi, Barby Asante, Libita Clayton and susan pui san lok as well as Beyond the Frame curators Annie Kwan and Sunil Shah.

Katarzyna Perlak – Vulnerable (ongoing) – showcases recordings done both in studio and in public spaces, in London and in Harlow where Arkadiusz Jozwik was killed in hate crime on 27th August 2016, shortly after the Brexit vote. The work reflects upon the relationship between language, power structures, social mobility and vulnerability. Presented by Arts Territory. 

Griet Menschaert – Strolling through the grass on the other side (2017) – a meeting a conversation between the artist and visitors during which those involved learn about themselves and the other. Presented by Arts Territory.

Justyna Scheuring – Interval (2017) – a response to Post-Brexit xenophobic attacks targeting poles living in the UK, featuring singers Agnieszka Podubny and Robin Paley Yorke 

Screening programme:
Barby Asante – A Declaration of Independence(2017) 

Erika Tan – A Presentation by Proxy (2014) 20:12 – is part of an on-going project around Halimah, who lived and performed in the Malayan Pavilion during the Empire Exhibition in 1924. The film takes up ideas around digital repatriation, finding a voice, and the slippage between artist as maker or performer, between subject or object and between history or art.

Abbas Zahedi – Me, Myself & A.I. (MANNA, a digital archive) (2017) – builds upon Abbas’ work in the Diaspora Pavilion and pulls together the narratives presented in each of the elements of his installation. MANNA refers to the process of transformation, which he himself has undergone to cope with the affective outcomes of his neo-diasporic predicament.

Joanna Rajkowska – The premiere of a new film, Two Men and a Mattress (2017), 8:39 – which started as a film about Brexit but grew into a narrative about an inexplicable urge that drives people to their own destruction – in collaboration with Arts Territory

Kimathi Donkor – The Searchers (2011) 2:32 and 439 New Cross Road (2015) 19:10

Michael Forbes – Red Neck Run (2002) 7:43 and Nigger Rage (2002) 11:22

susan pui san lok – Trailers (2015) 4:00 samples the title sequences, trailers, theme songs and publicity shots for twenty out of some forty film and television adaptations of Louis Cha/Jin’s The Condor Trilogy (1957-61). The work intercuts these with Google street views, weaving together fantasies of fight and flight, in diaspora.

The Diaspora Pavilion exhibition was curated by David Bailey and Jessica Taylor. The Diaspora Pavilion professional development programme was presented in partnership with University of the Arts London and was co-founded by David Bailey, Nicola Green, Peter Clayton and David Lammy.