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.