4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is thrilled to team up with International Curators Forum and Campbelltown Arts Centre to present the much-anticipated exhibition I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, launching on Saturday 22 May 2021. Held at Campbelltown Arts Centre, the show will feature works by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (AUS), Kashif Nadim Chaudry (UK), Lindy Lee (AUS), Leyla Stevens (AUS), Zadie Xa (UK) and Daniela Yohannes (Caribbean).
I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 presents the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of six artists based in Australia, the UK and the Caribbean: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa and Daniela Yohannes.
Curated by Adelaide Bannerman, Mikala Tai and Jessica Taylor, the exhibition is an ongoing project that explores the distinct and shared reality of living at a distance to ancestral homes. Belonging to a diaspora means that connection to these ancestral homes is often maintained through memories, myths and traditions.
For the exhibition, Kashif Nadim Chaudry presents two sculptures, Hareem (2010) andCabal (2020), which consider the cultural and social forces that inform his experiences as a gay man of Pakistani heritage in the UK. Lindy Lee explores the feelings of absence in the Chinese diaspora in the works Fire in the Immanence of Unfolding (2020), Fire and Dew (2020), and Quiescent Mind (2020), alongside the value of family in the photographs works Birth and Death (2002) and Twinning Through Jade Bamboo (2015). Daniela Yohannes also incorporates family photos into her collage works from a series of self-truths (2018) and offers a meditation on our relationships to ‘homelands’ in the film Atopias: I Have Left That Dark Cave Forever. My Body Has Blended With Hers (2019).
Leyla Stevens’ photographic diptych Safe Passage (2013) and film Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018), interrogate what is seen and unseen in the Balinese landscape. Abdul-Rahman Abdullah exhibits two new sculptures, Buraq (2020) and Throne Room (2021), alongside Merantau (2016), all of which connect in different ways to his ancestry in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Zadie Xa’s large tapestry works Pilgrimage 2 Family Through the Portal of a Green Ghost (2019) and its counterpart Pilgrimage 2 Family Through the Portal of a Blue Ghost (2019), and film installation Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation (2019) imagine new worlds informed by Korean creation myths.
I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 is as much an exhibition as it is a research project, underpinned by fieldwork and reviews of how artists, curators, theorists and institutions engage with diaspora as a topic.
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Image: I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Zadie Xa, Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation, 2019, video still, commissioned for Art Night London 2019, courtesy the artist. Image: Benito Major Vallejo.
4A acknowledges the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which our Sydney gallery is situated, and gives respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is an initiative of the Asian Australian Artists Association Inc. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Commonwealth Government through the Visual Art & Craft Strategy and the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; the NSW Government through Create NSW and the City of Sydney; and all of our donors and patrons.