Marking the seventh edition of Para Site’s annual Emerging Curators exhibition, Para Site is proud to present ‘While we are embattled’ curated by Nomaduma Rosa Masilela and Thiago de Paula Souza. The exhibition brings together works by Noor Abed, Morehshin Allahyari, Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, Sara Haq, Junghun Kim, Carolyn Lazard, Sabelo Mlangeni, Jota Mombaça, Avery Z. Nelson, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, and a newly commissioned reading room presented by Contemporary And (C&) with a selection of materials from the Asia Art Archive Library Collection.
Leveraging the questions posed and actions adopted by Black women artists and feminists, as well as practices related to Black radical theory, the curators confront and imagine the possibilities to reconnect, re-narrate, and regenerate ourselves with the physical and virtual spaces we occupy. The exhibition places the work and theories of Black radical praxis in the context of Hong Kong, elaborating on their implications and parallels around the world and examining questions of safety and retreat as generative modes of engagement, protection, and survival. In the face of a global pandemic and uprisings around the world related to racial inequalities, political violence, and ecological crisis, the exhibition emerges as an ongoing inquiry by the curators into the many impediments we face today, not only in connecting with one another, but also in suggesting a ground for future engagement and solidarity: what happens in this in-between state, which we currently find ourselves in, and what happens at this point of meeting during overlapping and ongoing periods of embattlement?
The exhibition is part of a larger, ongoing research project and collaboration between Masilela and de Paula Souza, which revolves around the question posed by the American poet-activist Audre Lorde: ‘How do we learn to love each other while we are embattled on so many fronts?’ The exhibition title takes the form of the conjunctive clause to this overarching question, existing within an intermediate state of being, which is reflected in the exhibition design by Human Architects. Moving between generative and chaotic states, the exhibition offers a possibility for alignment through the convening of ten international artists and practitioners in conjunction with a reading room newly created for Para Site in collaboration with the C& Center of Unfinished Business and Asia Art Archive and other local collaborators. The exhibition engages the audience in the politics of affection, reminding us of the possibilities to come together to discover and release latent powers and tensions during desperate circumstances.