Africa ArtBox

Organized by Trias Culture, with the support of an international curatorial team and international partners, the Africa Artbox Award is an initiative to stimulate creativity, research and experimentations of new artistic languages from the realm of digital arts. Through this competition and associated actions – training and creative workshops, meetings, exchanges in the continent and internationally with artists and various professionals – the objective is to contribute to the creation of a more encouraging ecosystem, and to support a new generation of digital artists in Africa.

For the first edition of the award, the winning African digital artists will obtain an artistic residency at Plataforma Bogotá, an interactive media lab for art, science and technology, in Bogotá, Colombia. On top of providing the winning artist with the opportunity to create and develop his/her research in one of the most renowned media labs in Latin America, this residency aims to create and enhance south-to-south dialogues and exchanges, based on the idea that digital culture and art is experienced, produced, and thought of differently in the global south.

To know more about the initiative, the team, and the guidelines of the award, please visit us here.

Silent Crisis – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Faluda Islam)

Navigating a series of complex and sometimes seemingly contradictory identities, Zulfikar recontextualizes cultural referents from his Pakistani and Lebanese heritage, his islamic religion, and queer culture. Through an exploration of the performativity of his identities in Karachi (Pakistan) and San Francisco (USA), where he currently resides, Bhutto’s work offers an alternative reading of the narratives that have defined the socio-cultural groups he belongs to, offering a perspective that oscillates between the violent and the sexual, colonialism and identity, the erotic and the forbidden.

The (anti)discursive space that Zulfikar’s performance creates, becomes all the more relevant in the current global context, where hate discourses towards marginalized communities such as the islamic and LGBTQ ones, becomes more tangible and violent. His performance in Colombia is also highly relevant, as the so-called “gender ideology” has launched a conservative rhetoric based on the negation of sexual and gender diversity. The performances by Kika Burns, Hellvira, and Mis Amigas Drag, enhance this same critical space, challenging paradigms of identity that normalize oppression, segregation, and violence.

Phantom Mission

The Mission district of San Francisco has an aura that continues to seduce people from all around the world. Most of its appeal emerges from people’s collective memory of what happened during the 60’s and 70’s in San Francisco, and from the way in which the Latino and Chicano communities turned this neighborhood of the West Coast into one of the most important artistic, musical and creative hubs during those decades. This mysticism seems to be even more relevant now that the neighborhood’s murals, artistic scenes and artists themselves are being fetishised and threatened by increasing gentrification and the influx of excessive amounts of money in the hands of young newcomers. Most of its oldest inhabitants are currently fighting to live up to the unique energy of this place, in the face of endless evictions, constant displacement and severe segregation.

Phantom Mission was a time traveling machine on April 9th 2016, thought as a way to chase the elusive histories of the times that made the Mission into what it now is. The show doesn’t aspire to be a nostalgic time capsule into a time past, but rather a way to actualize the past into the present, and travel into a space in history that is currently being displaced from people’s collective imaginary. Dogpaw Carrillo, an artist born in the Mission in the 50’s, is the mind behind this show. Having lived in the Mission all his life, his artwork and collections speak to the history of this neighborhood and the ways in which is has changed through time. Along with photographs by Doug Johnson, a San Francisco based artist since the 60’s, there were projections of concerts relevant to the era, a liquid light show on the ceiling, a collection of posters and objects, and a artist talk by Dogpaw.

At R/SF (San Francisco, USA)

In / Tensión

In/tensión was a series of events on Tuesday, November 24th 2015, at the San Francisco Art Institute, which dealt with the concept of displacement as it related to history, memory and land. The artistic proposals, performances and discussions explored the history of the privatized and corporate reality of our current time and place. How do we understand the different forces that have shaped the San Francisco Bay Area? How do we preserve and create spaces where broken narratives can exist and be heard?

The day started with a blessing from David Smith, leader of the Manchester Point Arena Pomo native americans, and Catherine Herrera, Ohlone artist. The day continued with the opening of the Diego Rivera, Paul Sacks and Still Lights galleries. Artists presented works that dealt with displaced historical narratives and with the politics of time. Public presentations and an open dialogue were hosted in the Lecture Hall in the evening, featuring speakers who are deeply engaged in reconstructing broken narratives and re-negotiating the tension around land and knowledge in the Bay Area. In culmination, there was a healing ceremony conducted by members of the Ohlone and Pomo Native communities, continuing the dialogue about the colonial and genocidal history of the land.

These events happened two days before the Thanksgiving holiday, which was a perfect time to reflect on the contested power that shapes history and the construction of collective identities in a time of private corporation’s monopoly over resources and information.

BeLong

This exhibition explored the possibility of belonging, and questioned the various frames that constitute our identities. Through engaging with the instability and dynamism of what belonging can mean, the artists challenged the ways in which they are part of –or not part of– a particular community; from linguistic, to national, and artistic ones. Rather than a fixed and static concept, the exhibition plays with the word’s semantic structure; a constant state of longing, a search for place and space. The body moves fluidly within the frames of possibilities offered by different aesthetic, political, and social structures; a state of perpetual Be-Longing.

This exhibition took place on November 18th 2014, at the Diego Rivera Gallery (San Francisco, USA).

Co-curate by Anita Giansante, Julian Wong-Nelson, Yueqi Chen and Juan Pablo Pacheco.