Conversations | Beyond Feminism: Creating Forms of Solidarity in a Multipolar World


Kresiah Mukwazhi, artist, Jan Kaps
Kawita Vatanajyankur, artist, Nova Contemporary
Jaffa Lam, artist, Axel Vervoordt

Moderator: Mia Yu, Curator, The Anthropocene North Collective, Beijing, and Azar Mahmoudian, Independent curator and educator

Feminism as a term is far from universal, with some artists in Hong Kong, for instance, revealing an aversion to the label. But the lack of connection to a word does not signal the absence of solidarity. As movements for equality beyond borders emerge, artists and curators engaged in forms of advocacy through their practices reflect on what solidarity means from an intersectional perspective, where an understanding of nuance is often the most potent form of support.

Zimbabwean artist Kresiah Mukwazhi draws power from women’s resilience and their magic. While her textiles speak to collective experiences and marginalized women’s stories, her performance practice at times involves a more personal dialogue, dealing with identity, ancestral history, and mediumship. Working across different subjects and mediums is how Mukwazhi finds her balance and voice.

Thai-Australian artist Kawita Vatanajyankur creates works that offer a powerful examination of the psychological, social and cultural challenges faced by women in relation to everyday labor. In endurance performances, Vatanajyankur undertakes physical experiments that playfully, and often painfully, test her body’s limits. These staged scenarios are both unavoidably compelling and also uncomfortable to watch. The alluring, luminous colours in Vatanajyankur’s work are distinctive of her aesthetic and tap into the visual language of a globalised and digitally networked world in which consumption and instant gratification often prevail.

Jaffa Lam is a Hong Kong-based artist who works in the mediums of mixed-media sculptures and site-specific installations mainly made with recycled materials like crate wood, old furniture and recycled fabric. Her works often explore issues relating to local culture, history, society and current affairs. Some past topics include art in public, the loss of craftsmanship in the city, and the regeneration of art making cycle. Her projects embody the views and thoughts of ordinary people through her non-narrative and dialogical installations.

Based in Beijing, Mia Yu is the founder and curator of The Anthropocene North Collective (TANC), a platform that researches about eco-sensibilities and eco-knowledges of Northeast Asia. Through collaborations with artists and designers, the current research explores the nature-cultures of Changbai Mountain Range and large-scale extractive infrastructures in Northeast China.

Azar Mahmoudian is a curator and educator based across Tehran and Vienna.

This talk will be conducted in English, with simultaneous interpretation available in Cantonese and Mandarin.

The Art Basel Hong Kong 2023 Conversations program is curated by Stephanie Bailey.
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