We are excited to host a series of talks as part of the online exhibition 'Begin Again'. We are handing over the platform to these talented and powerful speakers. They will be given a day to take over the Guts Gallery Instagram Stories and will host a talk that evening via Instagram Live or Zoom.
STUDY AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Sunday 16th August 7pm
What does it mean to study, and how might we free ourselves from constraints on our imagination? In this conversation, Yaa Addae and Gilberto Rosa work through the different registers of education. They explore how one can decolonise the world when we have been born into, and operate within, the violent systems it perpetuates. They then discuss how we can dream beyond this.
Yaa Addae, also known as yaa the plant, is a Ghanaian-British multidisciplinary strategist. The emancipatory potential of play is central to her practice, as is dreamwork. Rooted in indigenous African invention, Yaa works to reimagine cultural infrastructure and expand the means of producing art histories. Drawn to collective knowledge-making, Yaa co-birthed 'Black Diaspora Literacy: From Negritude to Drake' with frequent collaborator, Muna Mohamed. Supported by Tufts University's Experimental College, 'YANA' designed and brought to life a ten-week course on the interconnectedness of Black cultural production throughout the diaspora. Later, Yaa was a researcher for The Mobile Pavilion and culminating Cultural Encyclopedia of African Art: Ghana Volume, powered by Ano Institute of Arts and Knowledge following the national pavilion in 2019's Venice Biennale. Currently, Based in Accra, she does freelance communications consulting in the creative industry and daydreams about regenerative creative ecosystems via the art futurist studio, A-kra. She is also the founder of the online anticolonial art theory school, Decolonise The Art World.
Gilberto Rosa is a Dominican-American theorist and is currently a PhD student at UC Berkeley California in Black Studies.
DREAMING A BLACK ARTS CURRICULUM
Monday 17th August 7pm
"Dreaming a Black Arts Curriculum" is a conversation with
Janine Francois & Eduardo da Costa, speculating what a Black Art Curriculum could look and feel like within an afro-futurist tradition.
Melz Owusu, activist-scholar fundraising for their initiative, “Free Black University”, inspires this conversation.
Janine Francois is a Black-Feminist Cultural Producer and Lecturer at University of the Arts London. She teaches on the BA and MA Culture Criticism and Curation. Janine also setup the Hip Hop Cultures module taught in the Design School at London College of Communication and reading group at the Royal College of Art. Her activist and curatorial practices centres women/femmes of colour by establishing 'safe(r)' spaces as sites of resistance, co-production as well as ethics of care. Janine is a Collaborative Partnership Doctoral student researching, 'if Tate can be a 'safe(r) space' to discuss race and cultural differences?' at Tate and University of Bedfordshire. Janine is complaint activist and was named one of the UK's top 100 BAME Climate Change activists by Climate Reframe. You can follow her thoughts via twitter: @itsjaninebtw or her blog: itsjaninebtw.com
Eduardo da Costa FRSA is a curator drawing on his life long involvement with fine arts. With an interest in contemporary fine art; both Postcolonial and DeColonial thought and activism; modernism; African and European ontologies act as strategic spines for his work.
IN CONVERSATION WITH LOTTE ANDERSEN
We are honoured to invite Lotte Andersen to discuss her work and specifically her extensive print practice. The artist will share previously unseen works and writing. We have the equal pleasure of inviting journalist Raya Jalabi to interview the artist on the themes within the artist's investigation.
Lotte Andersen is a British artist working in video, sound, print, performance, writing and collage. Her work oscillates between investigative, documentary and autobiographical, examining movement and its properties, continuously within different contexts. She considers sound and video physical objects in space; working with the idea that echoic (sound) memory is stored for longer periods than iconic (visual) memory. The viewer is often placed in the work, activating it while confronting the politics of taking up space. A document on human behaviour is uncovered using the interesting paradox of producing factual data in the context of artificial environments, captured in video, performance and sound. The work considers the suspension and regulation of time and space while often implementing a finite set of principles of conduct. These are set up to record the predictability or unpredictability of reaction. Spontaneous choreography in Dance and the quotidian is considered through the lens of mass migratory, gestural and forced movement. The transparency of feeling through the hypothesis of the therapeutic nature of consistent, rhythmic, group movement it's psychological aftermath.
The collaged and print works deconstruct ephemeral propaganda. Considering scale and resolution, Anderson works predominantly with widely accessible domestic and industrial methods and machinery within her studio practice. Meme culture, tabloids, flyering, record covers, black power posters and infomercials converge in a filtering system thick with aesthetic, class and cultural bias. Essays underpin the backbone of this work, as words, sentences and images emerge to be processed and reprocessed into works.
The formats employed are intentional, acting as a support system and visual record within which we all become engaged with the suspension and interrogation of time and nostalgic catalysts. Developing a video and photographic practice, which simultaneously deconstructs subject matter in conjunction with camera format, is of critical importance in the dissection of current and various information-sharing platforms. VHS, Alexa, iPhone, super high 8, HD, screenshot, these capturing mechanisms each draw out an infinite matrix of access points, potential, believability, hinged on the viewer's ability to discern and filter cinematic quality.
Raya Jalabi is the Senior Correspondent for Reuters covering Saudi Arabia. From 2017-2019, she served as the agency's correspondent in Iraq, where she focused on politics, security and society. She investigated the illicit cross-border transfer of Islamic State detainees by US forces; wrote about the foreign children left behind by Islamic State, the Iraqis deported from the US following the 2017 travel ban and the ravages left by war, among others. She witnessed the emergence of Iraq's mass protests in 2019 and reported extensively on their brutal crackdown. Her reporting on the legal and societal aftermath of the Islamic State helped shape her interest in security, governance, transitional justice and human rights. Raya has also written on the environment and culture.
Before joining Reuters in 2017, she was a news editor and reporter at The Guardian in New York, where she worked on both the US and international news desks. There, she focused on US foreign policy, the 2016 US presidential election, and rising extremism around the world.
QUEER DIRECT - SUPPORTING LGBTQ + ARTISTS
Saturday 22nd August
We are excited to invite Queerdirect to take over our Instagram stories, where they will be broadcasting a series of interviews that Queerdirect conducted with LGBTQ+ identifying artists. Designed to give exposure to artists during the height of the Lockdown, these interviews platform the artist, and offer them the space to discuss their practice.
As the art sector gradually ground to a halt, creatives found themselves at a loss. The closure of exhibitions and the absence of paid work meant that many of us felt bereft of the industry. During a time when most creatives were self-isolating, Queerdirect were able to access a large pool of artists and provide them with a platform to debate and discuss their work. Through conducting these interviews, Queerdirect has facilitated connections between these artists within the broader international LGBTQ+ network.
Queerdirect is an LGBTQI+ Artist support network, curatorial platform and arts programme. Queerdirect holds regular events and curate exhibitions around London and provides queer artists with a platform and support. Queerdirect is the UK's first contemporary art platform and project space dedicated to queer arts in the UK.
Initiated by Gaby Sahhar in 2017.
REWRITING THE SCRIPT WITH BAESIANZ & MICHELLE WILLIAMS GAMAKER
Sunday 23rd August 7pm
Exploring the reclamation of POC narratives as a form of collective joy and healing, in this talk, Baesianz speaks to artist, filmmaker and lecturer Michelle Williams Gamaker about themes within her practice including PoCumentation, fictional activism and the re-centring of Brown protagonists.
Baesianz is a collection of multidisciplinary works by artists of Asian heritage. "By producing, curating and exhibiting the art and voices of Asians living both within and outside of Asia, we aim to create an evolving library that can be experienced by all. Founded in London by a collective of individuals from Asian origins spanning China, Pakistan and Iran, we asked ourselves: in which ways have our lives been impacted by ideas around multiculturalism and integration? How can the creative outputs of Asians be celebrated in a contemporary landscape without tokenism or marginalisation? Where do we go to replenish our roots creatively?"
Michelle Williams Gamaker is a moving image and performance artist. Her work explores the fiction-making machine of 20C British and Hollywood studio films by restaging sequences to reveal cinematic construction, and recasting characters to propose alternative endings that counter their often doom-laden plight. Williams Gamaker's key focus is the development of 'fictional activism': the restoration of marginalised brown characters as central figures, who return in her works as vocal brown protagonists challenging the fictional injustices to which they have been historically consigned. Scriptwriting, workshopping with actors, acquiring film paraphernalia and producing props for the intricate staging of her film sets are all vital elements in the re-enactment of the artificial landscapes that shaped Williams Gamaker's love of cinema.
ART & REVOLUTION: A VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH RIOT SOUP & GUESTS
Tuesday 25th August 7pm
"The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible" (Toni Cade Bambara).
Join members of the London based collective and other Black & Brown creatives as they unpack this quote, exploring the intersection between art and activism and the role and responsibility of the artist in imagining alternate futures and possibilities. The conversation will also interrogate the effectiveness and limitations of using art as a tool to drive meaningful societal change.
RIOT SOUP (est. 2019) is a collective of Black and Brown women artists whose general aim is to champion the visibility and voices of women artists "of colour" in the UK. Through exhibitions, workshops and talks, the creative sisterhood strives to open up the discussion to the issues that surround them as people of colour, women and artists. The hope is that by drawing their respective narratives from the peripheral to the centre, they do away with the invisible/hypervisible quandary many like them experience. In doing this, they encourage the growth and bond of genuine community, motivate actionable racial allyship and inspire the empowerment of other Black & Brown women in taking charge of their representation within the arts and beyond.
PHOTOGRAPHY AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE A TALK BY ARIA SHAHROKHSHAHI
Wednesday 26th August 7pm
We live in a time of unprecedented change. Particularly over Lockdown, we saw significant shifts in our existing political and social structures. This conversation discusses the compulsion, as photographers and artists that we might feel to document and represent these rapidly changing movements. We consider how, in our current climate, we can use our work for effective social change. Within this debate, we assess the ethical challenges that arise within documentary-photography and evaluate how we can challenge ourselves and our peers to pioneer real, radical change through their artistic mediums.
Aria Shahrokhshahi is a British-Iranian photographer and filmmaker. Although interested in incorporating multimedia into his work, Shahrokhshahi's work is documentary at its core, focusing on a variety of diverse communities and the way people interact inside them. Social structures - and more broadly, the human condition – fascinate Shahrokhshahi, as do the relationships and power dynamics that inform our existence. Photography offers him a window of understanding into these communities and a way for him to explore the world around him. His fervour for exploration has led him to complete projects across the globe, including in Gambia, Ukraine, Iran and in the UK where he lives.