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marginalia (notes from the peripheries)

19/5/24

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30/6/24

Curated by Nicole M. Nepomuceno (Ning-Ning)

Curator’s note

When you see the world through a peripheral lens,
when you occupy a position of marginality, or
when you are a minority,
your voice, alongside many others,
annotates the center.
We argue against it,
we challenge it,
we respond to it,
we enrich it.
The margins are abundant.

On February 26, 1997, the exhibition Being Minorities — Contemporary Asian Art opened at the
Hong Kong Arts Centre. Curated by Oscar Ho, while Hong Kong was in a pre-Handover haste
of identifying a clear and distinguishable local culture, Being Minorities was the first art
exhibition in the city to address its ethnic minorities. Yet, it was unable to present Hong Kong
artists of different ethnic origins: “We had difficulty identifying artists from these communities,
probably because the local art environment provided little infrastructural support for artists from
ethnic minority communities to develop and grow.”

Today, 27 years later, first- and second-generation Hong Kong artists with roots in South and
Southeast Asia are slowly emerging in the city’s arts spaces. But beyond the confines of
institutions, extending outside their heavily gatekept walls, our cultural practices have been
teeming in richness and abundance for decades. Grounded on the foundations of Being
Minorities, marginalia (notes from the peripheries) is an exercise in expanding the definitions of
“art” and “artist” through the margins that we inhabit, culturally, socially, economically, and
politically.

Marginalia are “notes written in the margins of a text.” The exhibition’s title strikes parallel
between these intensely personal annotations to the center and our voices and perspectives as
migrants and immigrants. marginalia is thus a collection of annotations, additions, responses
and reflections from those who have occupied marginal positionings or who work with materials
and practices deemed peripheral. It is a celebration of ways of creation that is found in our
homes and places of gathering, learnt from friends and elders, and rooted in the routes of our
migration.

Fifteen artists, collectives, and migrant and labor groups present new artworks and public
programs that use textiles and found materials; music and dance; food and cooking; film and
video; print, drawing, and painting; and many other ways of expression, to reflect on the
diasporic experience in Hong Kong. Some works reference festivals and folklores derived from
the artists’ homelands, while others map, trace, and uncover migration histories and
marginalizing practices here in the city. Existing works by two Hong Kong-based collectives will
populate Current Plans’ kitchen and dining area, which visitors are encouraged to add onto
throughout the show.

In its totality, marginalia reclaims the margins as a site of possibilities instead of limitations. But it
does so while asking: Whose minority? Whose periphery? Whose contemporary? Whose art
history? Through whose lens do we define ourselves and our work, and should we?
marginalia (notes from the peripheries) is a project organized by curator Nicole M. Nepomuceno
(Ning-Ning) and exhibition manager/producer Faith Monsod.

Participating artists, collectives, and cultural groups:
Arnel S. Agawin
Xyza Cruz Bacani
Residents of Bethune House
Grassroots Future
Guhit Kulay
Begha Nanda Kumari
Gwo Bean
Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers Union (IMWU) and
United Indonesians Against Overcharging (PILAR)
Ani Phoebe
Pop & Zebra
Katrina Leigh Mendoza Raimann
Angelique Santos
Rajat Sharma
Sharu Binnong Sikdar and Dhafney Dela Cruz Pineda
Chandramaya Sunwar
Fashiel Tamimi with the dancers of the Panay Overseas Workers Association (POWA)

19/5/24

-

30/6/24

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