Diaspora Pavilion

Wolverhampton Art Gallery launches a new exhibition Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton on 9 February.

The exhibition is housed in many of the gallery’s dedicated exhibition spaces, and also features interventions in the Georgian and Victorian galleries.

It is a re-staging of the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale which received international interest, not least because one of the artists featured, Khadija Saye, died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

In Venice, the function of the pavilion was to challenge the enduring prevalence of ‘nation state’ pavilions at the Biennale, by providing a backdrop of intercultural narratives through which the artists involved questioned notions of diaspora.

The positioning of this shifting, amorphous commentary within the very structured context of the Biennale was a clever device, attracting more than 45,000 visitors

In this re-staged exhibition, the diaspora debate benefits from a new context where multicultural contributions to the British art scene become especially relevant.

Wolverhampton is widely considered to be the birthplace of The BLK Art Group and the wider British Black Arts Movement, and Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton examines the inherent complexities of contemporary definitions of diaspora, and the lived realities of diaspora today.

The Wolverhampton exhibition features the work of seven of the artists from the Venice Diaspora Pavilion: Larry Achiampong, Kimathi Donkor, Michael Forbes, susan pui san lok, Paul Maheke, Erika Tan, and Abbas Zahedi.

A gallery spokesperson said: ‘The re-staging of Diaspora Pavilion in Wolverhampton is a major coup for the gallery. It is likely to be the only place to see work by seven exciting contemporary artists in one place this year.’

Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton runs from 10 February until 29 April at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, with an opening event on 9 February from 5:30 pm. The curators of the exhibition are David A. Bailey and Jessica Taylor.

Banner image: susan pui san lok Untitled (West) shimmer curtain (2018) Installation view at Wolverhampton Art Gallery (Detail)