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Leyla Stevens, Safe Passage (2013), photographic diptych. Courtesy the artist.

Leyla Stevens, Safe Passage (2013), photographic diptych. Courtesy the artist.

Diaspora Pavilion 2 (2019 - 2023) is a series of peripatetic, trans-national exhibitions, events and exchanges taking place in Sydney, London, Venice and online presented by the International Curators Forum in partnership with a cohort of international partners including 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney), Campbelltown Arts Centre (Sydney), Block 336 (London), Whitechapel Gallery (London), VeniceArtFactory (Venice) and Contemporis ets (Venice).

Diaspora Pavilion 2: London featuring Kashif Nadim Chaudry and Sonia E. Barrett

Dates: March – June 2023 (upcoming)
Location: Block 336, Brixton

Curated by: Jessica Taylor
Presented by: ICF in partnership with Block 336
Supported by: Art Fund, Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Council England

Zot Konn – Yeman: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Venice featuring a new commission by Shiraz Bayjoo

Participants: Shiraz Bayjoo, Siyabonga Mthembu, Nicolas Faubert

Dates: 20 – 22 April 2022, daily performances at 12pm, 3pm & 6pm
Location: Groggia Theatre, Cannaregio, Venice

Curated by: Jessica Taylor
Presented by: ICF in partnership with Venice Art Factory and Contemporis ets
Supported by: Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Arts Council England

For ICF’s Diaspora Pavilion 2: Venice, Shiraz Bayjoo presented a new performance and installation in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert and Siyabonga Mthembu during the vernissage of the 59th Venice Biennale. This new commission, conceived by Bayjoo, featured moving image, sculptural installation, choreographed movement enacted by Faubert and vocal performances by Mthembu.

The title Zot Konn – Yeman brings together Mauritian Creole and the Bantu language Fang, merging the two African languages spoken by Bayjoo and Faubert’s ancestors. Translated as ‘they know – the wise’ the title refers to a collective questioning of existing systems of knowledge and an active pursuit of wisdom. The works in the installation feature still and moving images captured by Bayjoo of plants, archives and architectures found at Kew Gardens in London during a period of research that sought to interrogate the transplantation of species from Mauritius to the UK during colonial rule and their current place in the nation’s archives.

Bayjoo, with Faubert, has developed a five-chapter dance piece which is an unfolding bodily engagement with these plants, a navigation of the glass houses that hold them, and a response to the magnitude of such a collection. Faubert takes up the role of negotiator, tracing and moving with these dislocated plants and objects. Mthembu will respond to the installation through song, which will be performed live alongside a soundscape developed in collaboration with Nobuhle Ashanti. Together, these visual, spatial and sonic elements explore the emotional resonance and symbolism of these institutions and the practices of extraction and knowledge production upon which they are built.

The presentation of Zot Konn – Yemen in the Groggia Theatre alludes to the relationships between entertainment, the act of collecting, and the circulation of knowledge in the formation and preservation of Empires. The Theatre is located in one of the few publicly accessible parks in Venice.

Zot Konn – Yeman is informed by research Bayjoo undertook during a residency with Delfina Foundation and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with support from Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation.

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Shiraz Bayjoo, Zot Konn - Yeman, in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert & Siyabonga Mthembu, Diaspora Pavilion 2, Venice (2022)
Shiraz Bayjoo in collaboration with Siyabonga Mthembu and Nicolas Faubert, Zot Konn - Yeman (2022) Diaspora Pavilion 2: Venice
Shiraz Bayjoo, Zot Konn - Yeman, in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert & Siyabonga Mthembu, Diaspora Pavilion 2, Venice (2022)
Shiraz Bayjoo, Zot Konn - Yeman, in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert & Siyabonga Mthembu, Diaspora Pavilion 2, Venice (2022)
Shiraz Bayjoo, Zot Konn - Yeman, in collaboration with Nicolas Faubert & Siyabonga Mthembu, Diaspora Pavilion 2, Venice (2022)

Diaspora Pavilion 2: London featuring Andrew Pierre Hart and Mohammad Barrangi

Dates: 12 February – 12 March 2022, opening event 11 February 2022
Location: Block 336, Brixton, London

Curated by: Jessica Taylor
Presented by: ICF in partnership with Block 336
Supported by: Art Fund, Arts Council England

For Diaspora Pavilion 2: London, Andrew Pierre Hart transformed one of two galleries at Block 336 with the installation genre pain -ting ; An Ode to Brixton. Responding to Brixton, where Block 336 is based, the work is a part imagined and part physical experience; informed by Hart’s research in the area. Hart created a vibrant re-conceptualisation of painting through his expanded engagement with sound, still and moving image, performance, text, light and sculpture. The work offered opportunities to gather and contemplate, and it fostered a call and response with Brixton’s Afro-Caribbean community.

Mohammad Barrangi produced five, mural-scale works, using his signature paper transfer technique, that fill the walls of the entrance gallery. The works in The Mystical Creatures of Eden combine Persian calligraphy and motifs with scenes of nature from Barrangi’s birthplace, Iran. Significant female figures from his life and animals are reimagined for the other-worldly landscapes he creates. Barrangi has developed a visual language which moves across time and place and is a direct response to his experience of the world.

Both artists used this exhibition as an opportunity to think independently about storytelling and mark making as profoundly personal expressions that have the capacity to speak to the collective experience of diaspora. They re-composed the world as they experience it, layering characters, cultural references and memories, and generating a growing diasporic language. Their defiance of the parameters of printmaking and painting, and their embrace of the natural world and improvisation, are emblematic of the ways in which cultural cross-fertilisation can lead to a restructuring of what exists. This embrace of imagination and transformation took root in Diaspora Pavilion 2 at Block 336, where Hart and Barrangi breathed new life into real and imagined communities.

 

Exhibition Essays

The rhythm of diasporic language in the works of Mohammad Barrangi and Andrew Pierre Hart 
By Jessica Taylor

Disorderly Pronouncements
By Orsod Malik

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Mohammad Barrangi - The Mystical Creatures of Eden
Mohammad Barrangi - The Mythical Creatures of Eden (2021) ICF's Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented in partnership with Block 336.
Andrew Pierre Hart, genre pain -ting ; An Ode to Brixton (2022) ICF's Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented in partnership with Block 336 (2022)
Mohammad Barrangi - The Mystical Creatures of Eden (2021) ICF's Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented in partnership with Block 336
Vasiliki Papapostolou - Palingenesis for Bass n' Place convened by Andrew Pierre Hart for Diaspora Pavilion 2: London
Andrew Pierre Hart -genre pain -ting ; An Ode to Brixton (2022), ICF's Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented in partnership with Block 336
Mohammad Barrangi - The Mythical Creatures of Eden (2021) ICF's Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented in partnership with Block 336.
Andrew Pierre Hart - genre pain -ting ; An Ode to Brixton (2022), ICF's Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented in partnership with Block 336

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

Participants: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Daniela Yohannes, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Linde Lee

Dates: 22 May – 10 October 2021
Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre, on the land of the Dharawal people, in Sydney, Australia

Curated by: Adelaide Bannerman, Mikala Tai and Jessica Taylor
Presented by: ICF, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Campbelltown Arts Centre
Supported by: Arts Council England, Australia Council for the Arts, DCMS, British Council, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, NSW Government, Campbelltown City Council, Canada Council for the Arts

This group exhibition considered how the participating artists’ connections to ancestral homes are maintained and re-imagined through memories, myths and traditions. In the exhibition Lindy Lee explored the feelings of absence in the diaspora in the works Fire in the Immanence of Unfolding (2020), Fire and Dew (2020), and Quiescent Mind (2020), and engaged family photographs in Birth and Death (2002) and Twinning through jade bamboo (2015). Daniela Yohannes also incorporated family photos into her collages, a series of self-truths (2018), and offered a meditation on our relationships to ‘homelands’ in the film Atopias: I Have Left that Dark Cave Forever, My Body has Blended with Hers (2020). Leyla Stevens’ photographic diptych, Safe Passage (2013) and film, Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018) interrogate what is seen and unseen in the Balinese landscape.

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah exhibited two new sculptures, Buraq (2020) and Throne Room (2021), alongside Merantau (2016), all of which connect in different ways to his ancestry in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Kashif Nadim Chaudry presented two sculptures, Hareem (2010) and Cabal (2020), which consider the cultural and social forces that inform his experiences as a gay man of Pakistani heritage in the UK. Zadie Xa’s large tapestry works A Pilgrimage 2 Family Through the Portal of a Green Ghost and its counterpart A Pilgrimage 2 Family Through the Portal of a Blue Ghost (2019) and film installation Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation (2019) imagine new worlds informed by Korean creation myths.

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, bringing together early-career Australian and UK-based curators in a week-long professional development programme. The intensive will be facilitated in a hybrid format through workshops, lectures, site visits and discussions.

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Installation view, I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo: Kai Wasikowski
Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Buraq (2020) and Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Cabal (2020)
Zadie Xa and Benito Mayor Vallejo, A pilgrimage 2 family through the portal of a blue ghost (2019), installation view I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo: Kai Wasikowski.
Daniela Yohannes, a series of self-truths (detail) (2018), installation view I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo: Kai Wasikowski.
Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Hareem (2010) and Leyla Stevens, Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018), installation view I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo Kai Wasikowski.
Zadie Xa, Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation (2019), installation view I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo: Kai Wasikowski.
Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Cabal (2020), installation view I am heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo: Kai Wasikowski.
Daniela Yohannes, Atopias: I Have Left that Dark Cave Forever, My Body has Blended with Hers (2019), installation view I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre; photo: Kai Wasikowski.

Watch recorded conversations chaired by the exhibition curators with exhibiting artists Leyla Stevens, Daniela Yohannes, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Zadie Xa and Abdul-Rahman Abdullah.

Related Programming

Related Programming

Diaspora Pavilion 2: Sydney (Virtual Exhibition)
Zadie Xa: Diaspora Pavilion 2 Artist in Conversation
Leyla Stevens: Diaspora Pavilion 2 Artist in Conversation
Abdul-Rahman Abdullah: Diaspora Pavilion 2 Artist in Conversation
Daniela Yohannes: Diaspora Pavilion 2 Artist in Conversation
Kashif Nadim Chaudry: Diaspora Pavilion 2 Artist in Conversation