Emergent Art Space artist, Asmaa Youssef Elmongi, attended the March Meeting of the Sharjah Art Foundation, in Sharjah, UAE. Her report in three parts highlights talks and projects presented at the meeting from artists and curators around the world.
What follows is Part 2 of Asmaa's report. To see Part 1 click here.
March Meeting 2018: 'Active Forms' (Part 2)
'DAS Art Project' - Alper Turan. (Turkey)
Alper Turan, is the co-founder and curator of an independent art initiative based in Turkey, the DAS Art Project. The project consists of three undergraduate students who form a curatorial team that works with independent artists. DAS concerns itself mainly with transforming iconic and historical buildings into art spaces, through the creation of art exhibitions that adjust to the atmosphere of these places.
“We are not commercial art professionals, which is something that makes me feel honored” said Turan.
Their first project “Oxytocin” opened in October, 2016, in a famous building that was designed to be a guest house. Turan explained that it was hard to get permission to have an exhibition of 26 artists in this building. It was for only one day, which emphasizes the character of the exhibition as they are considered as guests for one day.
Their second exhibition “Decadence” was held in a building opposite to the first one. It was a hotel in the style of Turkish Orientalism. The organisers drew a parallel with the history of the hotel throughout two days, using some references of the hotel’s history and to some famous visitors, like Agatha Christie who stayed in the hotel in the past. (1)
'Lugar a Dudas' - Sally Mizrachi, Co-Founder (South America)
The next talk takes us to the north of South America, in Colombia. Lugar a Dudas, which means “A Place to Doubt” opened in 2005 with an attempt to respond to the needs of the Santiago de Cali art scene. It is an active local art hub, establishing networks, creative partnership, and achieving great impact. The place was initiated by Óscar Muñoz. Sally Mizrachi, one of he founders, mentioned that the art space has a particular emphasis on changing constitutional structures and producing a context for art that fosters exchanges of ideas. Their programs respond to specific needs of artists and public in the city, inviting groups and communities that are excluded from the institutional system to participate.
“Through Lugar a Dudas, we invited people to experience and use the spaces as a meeting point to discuss, reflect, or just to learn", said Mizrachi.
The space includes a documentation center, which is one of the largest in the country, exhibition rooms, a residence program with projections every week and workshops. The documentation center includes photocopies, publications curated on diverse subjects, and archiving materials Sally presented a picture that shows the main exhibition space. It is exposed to the street, and this is essential for everyday connection between the city and the artistic production. Another part of Lugar a Dudas is the rehearsal room, which is a platform for artists, collectives, photography materials, publications and initiatives. (2)
“One of the emergent challenges we face as an institution, is the implementation of international school of political thinking and its disciplinary processes”, said Mizrachi.
Naeem Mohaiemen, Visual Artist (Bangladesh)
Naeem Mohaiemen, a writer and a visual artist from Bangladesh, leads the talk back to art in the South of Asia. He considers museums platforms for history.
Naeem moved from Dhaka to New York in 1994, where he joined the magazine, Samar (South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection), which was launched in 1992, two years before he arrived, as a magazine of political and cultural debate with a South Asian focus. It aimed to foster debate and discussion within the South Asian community in the US. Samar was last printed in 2002, as people started questioning the value of a printed magazine. Therefore, some of the magazine went online. (3)
Naeem also presented and discussed the film “Mutiny: Asian Storm British Music”, directed by Vivek Bald. The film explores the Asian Underground movement in English rock in the 90s, which created music that integrated reggae and hip hop with Indian traditional and popular music, and discusses as well the experience of anti-Asian racism in Britain.
Naeem participated in the renown exhibition “Fatal Love”, at the Queens Museum in New York, which made visible the works of many South-Asian artists working in the United States.
(1) Full description of the project is published in Turkish on “art fulliving” http://www.artfulliving.com.tr/sanat/yozlasan-bir-pera-palas-dekadans-i-11216
(2) Find out more details and information about the rehearsal room on the website of “Lugar a Dudas” http://www.lugaradudas.org/#/educacion-sin-escuela/educacion-home An explanation of “Lugar a Dudas” initiative by Óscar Muñoz in a video published on the website of “SFMOMA” https://www.sfmoma.org/oscar-munoz-created-an-art-space-that-thrives-on-uncertainty/
(3) Full description of the magazine is published on “Samar Magazine” http://www.samarmagazine.org/about
Hope you have enjoyed reading about the 2018 March Meeting in Sharjah. Stay tuned next week for the conclusion of this series.