Past Event

ICF x Liverpool Biennial 2018 Curatorial Placement

ICF x Liverpool Biennial 2018 Curatorial Placement 

May – September 2018 

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 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 restaging of a selection of artworks from the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition held in Venice during the 57th Biennale at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in 2018 (10 February – 29 April 2018).

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. 

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

The exhibition was curated by Jessica Taylor and was supported by Arts Council England and the Art Fund. 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.

Artist in Residence: Ewan Atkinson

Artist in Residence: Ewan Atkinson 

ICF invited Barbados-based artist Ewan Atkinson to undertake a three-week research residency in London in November 2017. Part of Ewan’s research involved visiting Munich to attend an ICF-supported conference at Haus der Kunst on the work of Guyanese painter Frank Bowling, and the remainder of his research was conducted in London. 

At the end of his residency Ewan produced an exhibition of new and existing work in the Cookhouse Gallery at Chelsea College of Art, which included a series of posters, installation and drawings. These pieces belong to an on-going body of work entitled The Neighbourhood Project. 

“The Neighbourhood Project investigates the development of persona and character within the social boundaries that might define or confine a community. Conflicts between community and the individual are explored and interrogated.  What value systems control idealized social roles and moral positions?  Who keeps these ideals in place?  Using The Neighbourhood as an object of study, I examine the production of meaning, and how it creates or hinders an individual’s sense of self.” – Ewan Atkinson 

Only In Your Imagination is a series of posters produced by The Governing Body, The Neighbourhood Tourism Authority, to advertise The Neighbourhood as a viable tourist destination.  The project enlisted the help of a few Neighbourhood residents, who dutifully attempted to play their part in aid of the greater good. While it must have been seen as an obvious move and a lucrative opportunity, the  effectiveness of the initiative remains unmeasured. However, there is evidence that suggests at least some interest was expressed (see letter). There seem to have been attempts to reach a varied audience, the discovery of editions in languages other than English suggests this. However, awkward translations raise questions about the success of such efforts. Posters one through ten were found in early 2015. Later that year, posters eleven and twelve were discovered accidentally, along with rare bilingual versions featuring text in Spanish and Guarani. In 2017 an unidentified informant aided in the discovery of a Polish collection. 

In addition to his series of posters, Ewan also exhibited another series entitled The Honesty Policy: Neighbourhood Election Ephemera, alongside postcards and a new series of drawings made while on the residency. 

During his residency, Ewan held a masterclass for BA and MA Fine Art students at Chelsea College of Art and was invited to present a public lecture by TrAIN (The Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation), during which he discussed his practice and wider Neighbourhood Report project. 

About the artist: 
Ewan Atkinson was born in Barbados in 1975. He received a BFA in the U.S.A. from the Atlanta College of Art and an MA in Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados.  He has exhibited in regional and international exhibitions including the 2015 Havana Biennial, the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, and “Infinite Islands”, a survey of contemporary Caribbean art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.  Atkinson has been an educator for over 15 years. He is currently the coordinator of the Studio Art BFA programme at the Barbados Community College and is a co-founder of Punch Creative Arena, an independent curatorial initiative.

The Sea is History: Art and Black Atlantic Cultures. A Symposium around the work of Frank Bowling

The Sea is History: Art and Black Atlantic Cultures

A Symposium around the work of Frank Bowling, Haus Der Kunst, Munich

On 20 October 2017 ICF collaborated with curator Okwui Enwezor on a symposium at Haus der Kunst in Munich as part of the exhibition Mappa Mundi. The exhibition was a comprehensive survey of monumental and mid-sized paintings by the distinguished Guyanese-born, British painter Frank Bowling.

The goal of this symposium, entitled The Sea is History: Art and Black Atlantic Cultures, was to examine the intersection of the artistic, theoretical, literary, and cultural dimensions of Bowling’s practice. Invited participants, ranging from literary scholars, cultural theorists, and art historians to artists, will bring into sharp focus the ways in which the Black Atlantic continues to inform the production of art today by a new generation of artists.

Speakers included theorists and writers J. Michael Dash and David Scott, artists Sonia Boyce, Ellen Gallagher and Isaac Julien, curators Allison Thompson and Mark Nash, writer and art historian Courtney J. Martin. 

Film screenings included Isaac Julien’s Paradise Omeros (2002) and Steve McQueen’s Ashes (2014). 

Beyond the Frame: Masterclass with Mark Nash & Okwui Enwezor

Beyond the Frame: Masterclass with Mark Nash and Okwui Enwezor

Documenta, Kassel

The Beyond the Frame programme travelled to Kassel to tour documenta 14, after attending a talk by the exhibition’s artistic director Adam Szymczyk in Munich earlier in the year. Documental 14 spanned thirty-five venues in Kassel and included works by over 140 artists, several of which were placed outdoors in public space. The group spent three days experiencing the exhibition, and was able to visit the documenta archives as part of a masterclass with Mark Nash, who was on the curatorial team for documenta 11. Publication has always been an important part of the legacy of the documenta exhibitions and having access to the catalogues from all 14 editions enabled the group to better grasp the legacy of the contemporary iteration that they would go on to see during the trip. 

Each documenta takes its character from the ideas and concept of its artistic director, and is therefore not only a forum for current trends in contemporary art, but a place where innovative and standards-setting exhibition concepts are trialed. In 2002 Okwui Enwezor was selected as artistic director of documenta 11, which he developed as multi-site programme that rested on five ‘transdisciplinary’ platforms presented across four continents. Nash, Enwezor and artist Isaac Julien sat down with the Beyond the Frame cohort to discuss this ground-breaking model and each of it’s five platforms (Vienna/Berlin, New Delhi, St. Lucia, Lagos and Kassel). The group was able to ask about the logistics, challenges and public response to documenta 11, and the ways in which the current documenta related to and diverge from the model presented in 2002. 

Diaspora Pavilion

The 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 in 2017 during the 57th Venice Biennale, a re-configuration of which was installed at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in 2018 with a combination of new works and those shown in Venice by seven of the artists.

Programme participants: Larry Achiampong, Libita Clayton, Kimathi Donkor, Ray Fiasco, Michael Forbes, susan pui san lok, Paul Maheke, Khadija Saye, Erika Tan, Barbara Walker and Abbas Zahedi 

Mentors: Sokari Douglas Camp, Ellen Gallagher, Nicola Green, Joy Gregory, Isaac Julien, Dave Lewis, Hew Locke, Vong Phaophanit & Claire Oboussier and Yinka Shonibare MBE 

Venice exhibition:
10 May – 26 November 2017
Palazzo Pisani a Santa Marina, Venice

Exhibiting artists: Larry Achiampong, Barby Asante, Sokari Douglas Camp, Libita Clayton, Kimathi Donkor, Michael Forbes, Ellen Gallagher, Nicola Green, Joy Gregory, Isaac Julien, Dave Lewis, Hew Locke, susan pui san lok, Paul Maheke, Khadija Saye, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Erika Tan, Barbara Walker and Abbas Zahedi

Download exhibition booklet here

Details on the Wolverhampton exhibition can be found here 

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. Funding support came from Arts Council England, Bloomberg Contemporaries and the Art Fund. 

Image credits: 1. Barby Asante, As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence: For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adoja (2017). 2. Paul Maheke, The River Asked for a Kiss (to Pateh Sabally) (2017). 3. Michael Forbes, Untitled (2017). 4. Barbara Walker, Transcended (2017). 5. Larry Achiampong, Sunday’s Best (2016). 6. Kimathi Donkor, Portrait of the Artist Helping with Enquiries: 1984 (2005) and For Moses Had Married an Ethiopian Woman – Number 12:1 (2015) and Barby Asante, As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence: For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adoja (2017). 7. Khadija Saye, Dwelling: in this space we breathe (2017). 8. Hew Locke, On the Tethys Sea (2017) and susan pui san lok, Untitled (Pavilion) (2017). 9. Kimathi Donkor, Bacchus and Ariadne (2004). 10. Abbas Zahedi, MANNA: Machine Aided Neural Networking of Affect (2017). 11. Isaac Julien, The Leopard (Western Union: small boats) (2007). 12. Erika Tan, The ‘Forgotten’ Weaver (2017). 13. Ellen Gallagher & Edgar Cleijne, Osedax (2010). 14. Yinka Shonibare MBE, The British Library (2017). 15. Abbas Zahedi, MANNA: Machine Aided Neural Networking of Affect (2017). 16. Barby Asante, As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence: For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adoja (2017).
Photos courtesy: Francesco Allegretto.

Curating the International Diaspora & Beyond the Frame: Sharjah 2017

Curating the International Diaspora and Beyond the Frame: Sharjah

March 2017

Curating the International Diaspora is a project that involves working with curators and artists from culturally diverse backgrounds across five countries between March 2016 and March 2017. By attending and participating in events in London, the Caribbean, Sharjah during the Sharjah Biennial and Gwangju during the Gwangju Biennial, a group of arts practitioners were able to experience and engage with some of most relevant projects and professionals addressing contemporary art and curatorial practice, and to network with a global artistic community, thus offering exceptional opportunities for professional development.

Curating The International Diaspora was an integrated 24-month programme that builds upon ICF’s expansive existing international networks, cultural partnerships and expertise. The project established new knowledge in the relationship between the study of cultural diasporas and contemporary curating, made possible by a programme of focused public events to be held in the UK, the UAE region, South Korea and the Caribbean between 2016 and 2017.

Curating The International Diaspora saw the development of different programmes at each site that took the shape of public conferences and programmes, exhibition and biennial tours, workshops and studio visits with artists to collectively explore three themes:

  1. What is the impact of cultural diasporas on the field of contemporary visual art curatorship in particular? 
  2. Which patterns of migration have been evident in the field of contemporary art curating? 
  3. How have contemporary curators represented diaspora through their projects?

After attending the Sharjah Art Foundation’s 2016 March Meeting and exploring the arts landscape in Barbados and Martinique, to build upon the discourse produced during the Curating the International Diaspora symposia in London and Gwangju, the project participants from South Korea travelled to Sharjah for the 2017 Biennial as the last stage of the year-long project. They were joined by the Beyond the Frame cohort, thus facilitating a network of exchange between two of ICF’s most ambitious curatorial programmes. 

Sharjah Biennial 13 featured over fifty international artists and involved an ambitious opening programme of performances and lectures by practitioners such as Cooking Sections and Raqs Media Collective, that the group were able to attend. In addition to the Biennial, the group was given a tour of the exhibition Ahmed Morsi: A Dialogic Imagination at the Sharjah Art Museum by the artist and curator Salah Hassan, and met with the team at the Maraya Art Centre. 

Sheena Rose ‘Island and Monster’

Sheena Rose ‘Island and Monster’

Royal Academy, London

On 27 February 2017 ICF commissioned artist Sheena Rose to present a new performance entitled Island and Monster at the Royal Academy Academician’s Room. Sheena’s performance was developed in response to sketches that she has making to express her conflicted feelings of belonging and displacement, which emerged with her return to the Caribbean after completing an MFA in North Carolina. To reckon with her changing relationship to her home, Sheena became both the island and the monster, looking in from outside as a way to negotiate this return. After the performance, Sheena was in conversation with ICF Head of Programmes Jessica Taylor. 
To read a review of this event by writer Liz Lydiate, see the ICF blog here. 

Sheena Rose is a Barbadian artist, whose practice involves mixed and new media, including animation, drawing, painting, performance and video. Sheena has exhibited internationally at institutions such as MoCADA, Queens Museum, Turner Contemporary and Residency Gallery. She has represented Barbados in the Havana and Jamaica Biennials. She has been awarded residencies at Alice Yard (Trinidad), Greatmore Art Studio (Cape Town, South Africa), Tembe Art Studio (Moengo, Suriname), and OAZO-AIR (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Art Omi (Ghent, New York) and The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Florida). In 2016 Sheena performed as part of the ICF conference Curating the International Diaspora in Gwangju, South Korea during the Gwangju Biennial.

Sheena’s work has been included in art fairs, film festivals and auctions such as Prizm Art Fair, Third Horizon Film Festival and Rush Philanthropic Foundation Arts Auction Art for Life. Her paintings are also on the cover of several books, including See Me Here: A Survey of Contemporary Self-Portraits from the Caribbean and the novel The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson, the latter of which was named the best book cover of the year by the Huffington Post and EPeople Magazine in 2015. In 2008, Sheena graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Art degree with Honours from the Barbados Community College and in 2016 she received her Masters in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Fulbright Scholarship.

Images: Sketches by Sheena Rose