“The fact that I
am writing to you
already falsifies what I
wanted to tell you
how to explain to you that I
don’t belong in English
though I belong nowhere else.”
Gustavo Perez Firmat , Bilingual Blues
Think of a classroom in a global educational institute, and at the back two ‘foreigners’ sharing a look. A respected scholar rushes through colonialism, a celebrated lecturer utilizes other cultures, a well-intended student stumbles, in these moments the shortcomings of academia manifest themselves. One sighs in exhaustion, but then someone else hears it and it is recognized.
Art of ‘Whose’ People is a gathering of young artists from around the world who today reside in New York—each invited by one of this city’s institutes of art and education. Yet these artists who have been formed and function in the post-89 Neo-liberal world, remain concerned and committed to contemplating the contemporary politics of their ‘other’ geographies. As such they call upon their histories and three phases of interruption: the era of Colonialism and Imperialism; Decolonization under Nationalist/Socialist Revolts and the resultant totalitarian regimes; and ultimately the current slow process of recolonization under the politics of Global economy. Instantly politics meets its edge: nationality becomes a mere narrative and the utopia of humanist Globalism is corrupted by market. Thus the exhibition finds its core question where the subject audience, ‘the people,’ turns into a fabricated construct as political as it is social.
Art of ‘Whose’ People is a meeting point. On its own, each piece in the space is a focused exploration of the artists’ concerns regarding their own context. Summoned together, they communicate beyond their borders and while main- taining all their specificities, they share their deepest anxieties. In the occasion of this show, the space will be utilized as a stage for workshops, lectures, performances, celebrations, and remembrance to honor, activate, and further these conversations. The organic ever-changing program is to be announced.
Setare S. Arashloo, Cati Bestard, Delphine Fawundu, Alvaro Keding, Adam Liam Rose, Rocío Olivares, Shahzia Sikander, and Zou Zhao (Xi Xi)