Emergence(y)

From an open call, Ort Gallery and ICF have appointed 2 emerging curators to work with the organisations and selected artists on a new project called ‘Emergence(y)’ during 2022. Following the turbulent year of 2020 and the ongoing covid crisis, the curators will explore the themes of Emergence, Care and/or Warmth. They will bring their own research interests and working methodology with them and they will also decide how they want to work together or what they want to create, whether that be an exhibition, an event, something online, a partnership with another gallery, or any other format of their choosing. 

Orphée Kashala is a Birmingham based curator. His curatorial practice promotes care, inclusion, empathy, equality and understanding by telling stories that explore and challenge our collective perception of the human experience.

Since 2020, Orphée has taken on the role of Creative Producer at Maokwo(a Belgrade Theatre springboard organisation based in Coventry) as part of the young leadership programme for emerging young artists from migrant backgrounds. Currently, Maokwo have partnered with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, where Orphée is co-curating an exhibition exploring key national collections, co-organising artists’ lead workshops, developing project ideas and curatorial skills, whilst also co-creating a new provision for artists in Coventry. In September 2021, he curated his first exhibition titled “Survivor’s Guilt” for the Coventry Migrant Centre, as part of Coventry City of Culture; which was an exploration of the bittersweet memories and lived realities of African migrants living in the UK via photography, videography, installation and poetry.

Sarah Francis is a Leeds based Artist Curator who focuses on bringing under-recognised artists and narratives to the public, using empathy and warmth to build self-confidence in creatives left behind by the mainstream system. Fascinated by complex possibilities lying dormant in ‘familiar’ environments, setting a challenging dialogue between cultural identity and the inner worlds which we as artists manifest within our work. This conceptual framework draws parallels between artists from differing socio-cultural worlds, whose work follows similar lines in metaphysical realms. Francis’ interpretation of the curator is that of a caretaker of other worlds, working in collaboration as the tour guide and storyteller, bringing these converging manifestations to our physical spaces.

Francis’ artwork centres around her neurodiverse and queer identity, building her own language and worlds to explore and understand ‘how I made me’; a reference to an early body of work that investigated her inner trauma and re-articulation of her current self. Her work has been shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery’s Art of Giving Prize, selected by Richard Billingham for Curator’s Choice Noise Young Talent 2009, and recognised in Aesthetica’s 100 Best Contemporary Artists in Europe. In addition to her work, Sarah Francis is the Founder and Director of Aire Place Studios, Leeds.

Artwork by Karen McLean at Ort Gallery

About International Curators Forum (ICF)
International Curators Forum (ICF) was founded by artists and curators in 2007 to offer a dynamic and evolving programme that responds to the conditions and contexts impacting creative practitioners through commissions, exhibitions, projects, publications and events. We provide tools and platforms for professional development and facilitate an open peer-to-peer network inviting participants to be part of a generative system of skills and knowledge transfer. Across all of our work, both critically and practically, we aim to challenge the barriers to equality and inclusivity within our industry.

Through all aspects of our programme we engage with diaspora as a critical framework through which we can address and complicate public discussion, test and explore new innovative curatorial models, and create space for artistic and discursive interventions into historical narratives and systems of representation. Based in London, ICF has conceived and produced projects with artists, curators and thinkers who engage with diaspora across the UK, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.

About Ort Gallery
Bridging gaps with Art and Warmth Ort Gallery is an artist-led exhibition space in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. We are on a social mission to challenge the traditional role of visual art spaces in Birmingham. We believe everyone should have access to high quality art experiences and aim to provide that standard. We contribute to making Birmingham more inclusive by actively rejecting the exclusivity often found in the visual arts sector. We celebrate the differences of all of our visitors, artists and staff for they are a part of our Ort community and inform our work. We are focused on investing in and engaging with community members of the Balsall Heath area that are often overlooked. We use our space to provide our community with art focused events, activities and volunteering opportunities. We believe that art holds transformative power for mental wellbeing, bridging community gaps and increasing employability. We believe that you are never too young, too old or too different to learn a new skill or engage with art. We are proud to provide exhibition opportunities to Black and Brown artists, those from working class backgrounds, the LGBTQ+ community and artists with disabilities.

Untitled design (1)