African Art in Venice Forum 2019

The African Art in Venice Forum (AAVF) is a public and free discursive event presented every other year in Venice, Italy during the opening week of the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte di Venezia and is part of the Here There Everywhere international programme funded by Arts Council England, Ambition for Excellence.

AVVF advocates for a broader spectrum of creative practices and cultural dialogues, and for a more diverse, inclusive, and balanced art ecosystem that nourishes the ability to address individual, societal and global issues of our time.

Presented in collaboration with New Art Exchange, The Africa State of Mind discussion considers how recent photographic practice from Africa is exploring themes of history, politics, race and gender, as well as interrogating ideas of 'Africanness' through subjective renderings of culture and identity on the continent. With, artist Shiraz Bayjoo, independent curator Paul Goodwin, and artist Kiluanji Kia Henda in conversation with Ekow Eshun, independent curator.

Presented in partnership with New Art Exchange, the Biennials' Ecologies in Contemporary African Art discussion will be held with curator Sara Alonso Gómez, curator Sandrine Colard-De Bock, director Elvira Dyangani Ose and curator Christine Eyene. Moderated by Skinder Hundal, Director, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK.

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Matera Città Aperta

Matera Città Aperta interrogates and experiments with the idea of limits, which can be understood as a physical and material separation but also as a non-visible separation. Limits are linked to issues such as diversity, division, the construction of barriers, the exercise of power, but also accessibility, inclusion, participation, breaking down and overcoming boundaries.

Matera Città Aperta is a show built in episodes that develop over the course of a week in a crescendo of scenic intensity and suggestions. In the city's main square, a line is drawn which divides the Matera into two parts. In the following days, the separation becomes material, growing gradually until it becomes an insurmountable limit, a wall that illustrates the contradictions in which we live: on the one hand a hyper-connected dimension, which connects distant places and people, on the other hand a social reality in which we face increasing separations and inequalities.

2019 will be the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the year in which England officially leaves the European Union, and the year in which new walls are erected to defend old borders, from the humanitarian corridor in the Balkans, to the new wall between Mexico and the U.S.A. We celebrate these events by involving the city in a dystopian provocation, with the intention of building, over time, new utopian visions.

Matera Città Aperta is a collaborative piece produced by organizations from Italy, England and Tunisia, and welcomes ideas from groups of citizens during open its open phases of creation.

The Architecture of Shame

Born in Matera and devised alongside the city's successful application to be named as European Capital of Culture 2019, Architecture of Shame is the product of a European research group dedicated to exploring the turbulent relationship between architecture and shame.

The driving ambition of Architecture of Shame is to build a "collective psychoanalytic session for European architecture" by seeking a critical way to talk about European identities and contemporary culture through the special relationship between the feeling of shame and architectural forms. Architecture of Shame will be executed in three phases: research, dialogues and actions. In collaboration with national and international experts and institutions, Matera will partner with Hyson Green in Nottingham, UK, and Favara, Sicily, as key locations to explore a prism of creative spaces and architecture.

Architecture of Shame aims to establish Matera a cultural research centre, and place Matera and its unstable socio-political and economic history as a positive example of a society transcending and reimagining what we consider and perceive as "shame". Architecture of Shame forms a leading part of the cultural programme of Matera 2019.

Ramdom and Default 19

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Ramdom, an independent organisation focused on arts and culture based in Gagliano del Capo, Southern Italy, has partnered with NAE for the fifth edition of their residency project, DEFAULT 19. The residency was first conceived to reflect upon the role that public art plays in the politics surrounding urban regeneration, the appropriation and usage of abandoned spaces, and their interaction with public spaces. After two editions held in Lecce (2011 and 2013) that specifically addressed these themes, DEFAULT 15 shifted its focus to investigate the notion of Extreme Lands. Approaching the theme of "extremity" as a state of mind allows for confrontation within a contemporary world where national identities are fluid and boundaries are no longer static.

The short-residency is not focused on the production of an artistic project, but on providing a platform for participants to nurture and share ideas and experiences related to the theme via workshops and seminar sessions. The main output of the residency will take the form of a publication, edited by Ramdom, with contributions from all participants.

This year, Ramdom and NAE have selected Sarah Maple, Charnjeev Kang and Julie Hill to participate in their residency programme, and will ask what can we learn about being situated in a remote location like Gagliano del Capo? What can it teach us about the contemporary global condition, including sociological, anthropological, political or scientific positions?

Image: The Uprising of the Oranges by Raffaele Pentasuglia


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