SOUTH SOUTH X EL ESPACIO 23
SOUTH SOUTH X El Espacio 23 Curatorial Residency
SOUTH SOUTH teamed up with El Espacio 23 in Miami to host its inaugural curatorial residency. This innovative new partnership brought together curators connected to 3 broad regions – Latin America, Africa & Middle East and Asia – to further research and highlight arts practices from the Global South in a curatorial exchange that took place in Miami from 14 – 28 October 2021, with a robust digital component.
The COVID-19 pandemic increased challenges for curators outside of art world centres to produce work and to build and maintain recognition. The SOUTH SOUTH x El Espacio 23 Curatorial Residency intended to assist in addressing this by encouraging cross-regional connections, knowledge sharing and offering an opportunity for curators to exercise their skills through a Global South-focused platform. Acknowledging the difficulties with traveling to Miami under the circumstances at the time, this residency included two curators currently based in the US who travelled to El Espacio 23 and a curatorial duo based between Singapore and the Philippines who collaborated remotely. The selected curators for this edition were:
Meyken Barreto (Cuba/US-based)
Uche James Iroha (Nigeria/US-based)
Carlos Quijon, Jr. (Philippines) & Kathleen Ditzig (Singapore)
The residency provided the opportunity for the curators to enhance their practical experience in realising a curatorial project on a large scale, as well as an extended moment to work with other practitioners and artists from across the Global South and to engage with the common goals of the SOUTH SOUTH platform. In addition to the 50+ galleries from over 30 countries participating in SOUTH SOUTH, the residency provided access to El Espacio 23 and The Jorge M. Pérez collection which created opportunities to explore diverse artistic practices from the Global South and engage with the rich diasporic culture of Miami.
The outcome of the residency was for the curators to produce the Talks and Online Visual Programme for VEZA 02 in February 2022.
About El Espacio 23
El Espacio 23 is a contemporary art space founded by collector and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez. Located within a repurposed 28,000 square foot warehouse in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood, El Espacio 23 serves artists, curators and the general public with regular exhibitions, residencies and a variety of special projects drawn from the Pérez Collection. It is a space that is committed to broadening discourse on the Global South.
About the curators
Curator, lecturer and writer
Recently she has curated the exhibitions Comedy of Errors at Vox Populi, Philadelphia, 2021; Shifting Streams. Twelve artists by the Hudson River at Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, New York, 2020; The Path Leading to the Center at Lakehouse, Guttenberg Arts, 2017; Cabinet of Curiosities: The whimsical world of Carlos de Medeiros at Guttenberg Arts, NJ in 2017; and co-curated the group exhibitions My Body, My Battlefield at GIV, Montreal, 2021; All That You Have Is Your Soul at Faction Art Projects, New York in 2018; Divagation at Y Gallery, New York in 2016; Pioneros: Building Cuba’s Socialist Childhood at Aronson Galleries at Parsons, The New School for Design, New York in 2015, and Flow: Economies of the look and creativity in contemporary art from the Caribbean at IDB Cultural Center, Washington DC in 2014. She contributes to various art publications such as El Oficio and Artnexus.
Uche James Iroha
Curator and visual artist
Originally trained as a sculptor from the University of Port Harcourt, Uche got involved in photography in 1996, pushing the narrative of photography as a medium of art in a cultural environment where, at that time, the medium was perceived largely as a commercial venture that focused mainly on capturing events and official documentation.
In regard to technique, his approach is largely construction and deconstruction of the visual plane trying to find the relationship and the workability between two and three-dimensional design.
He was a founding member of the Depth of Field (DOF) collective of talented young photographers that have created strong exhibitions at home in Nigeria and abroad throughout the 2001-2007 period. This era was the formal announcement of a renaissance in contemporary photography for lens-based artists working in Africa. His work was presented at Okwui Enwezor’s landmark exhibition at the International Center for Photography New York titled Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography in 2006.
Uche is one of the most visible mentors of younger photographers in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, organizing and animating workshops and other artistic projects. He was awarded the Prince Claus Award in the Netherlands in 2008 for his striking photographic work and his stimulation of photography as an art form in Nigerian and for his energetic support of young artists.
His work leads him to construct or set up performances, which are captured still. He employs text and graphics on image surfaces to find a sculptural accent to his work. This he hopes will attempt to address certain issues both socially and generally.
In his curatorial practice, he pays attention to the idea of archiving as a critical cultural emergency. In the framework of the Africa Photo Festival in Bamako 2019 he presented the incredible work of Nigerian photographer Tola Odukoya who was active between 1955-1980. The narrative was to shed some light on unseen and work created by largely unknown artists who produced compelling visual materials and objects that in his opinion may unpack more honest directions as far Africa’s global political and economic stance is concerned. He also curated the 2018 and 2019 Abuja Photo Festival.
At the moment Iroha works as a conductor at Photo.Garage Lagos, an office the provides logistics as well as offers an indigenous platform for domestic and global intellectual photography exchanges. He has shown his work in numerous exhibitions. He lives and works between Houston, Texas and Lagos, Nigeria.
Carlos Quijon, Jr.
Curator and critic
Curator and researcher
As a curator and researcher, she is invested in transnational collaborative research frameworks and in advancing art as an exceptional system of speaking to power. Her collaborative independent curatorial projects, such as offshoreart.co (developed with Robin Lynch and Debbie Ding), have been presented on international platforms such as the Berlin Biennale. With Carlos Quijon Jr, she recently developed the long term research and traveling exhibition project Afro-Southeast Asia: Pragmatics and Geopoetics of Art during a Cold War supported by ASEAN KONNECT. With Fang Tse Hsu, she recently co-curated Art Histories of a Forever War: Modernism between Space and Home at the Taipei Fine Art Museum.
Her recent exhibitions include Peace Prosperity and Friendship With All Nations (2021), a solo exhibition of Heman Chong at Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Look East, Gone West (2020), a solo exhibition of Ho Rui An, at A+ works of art in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and As The West Slept (2019), a Performa Consortium Project hosted and organised by Silver Art Projects in New York.
Her art historical research and writing has been published by MoMA, Afterall, SOJOURN, Southeast of Now (NUS Press), Artforum, OSMOS magazine, Art Agenda and Art Review Asia, among others.