Decolonising Modernism

  • Behjat Sadr Untitled 1956

    Behjat Sadr, Untitled, 1956, Oil on wood, 53cm-50cm. Courtesy of Behjat Sadr Estate © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2022

Past Event

This event was on 20 April | 7pm

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Decolonising Modernism

20 April | 7pm | £5

How does the global story of abstraction seen in Action, Gesture, Paint reflect a decolonising discourse in modern art? Join art historians for this special discussion, including Dr. Polly Savage (SOAS) who will speak on the work of Italian-Mozambiquan painter Bertina Lopes, Dr. Ceren Özpınar (University of Brighton) addressing the work of Lebanese painter Etel Adnan and Laura Bruni speaking about Puerto-Rican based, Cuban painter Zilia Sánchez Dominguez

The discussion will be chaired by Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow at Whitechapel Gallery and founding editor of the online publication Decolonial Hacker.

About Polly Savage

Dr Polly Savage is Lecturer in the Art History of Africa at SOAS, University of London.  Her research focuses on the intersections of art and politics in 20th and 21st century Africa and the Caribbean, with particular concern for transnational solidarity networks and the visual cultures of socialism and liberation movements in Lusophone Africa. Her publications include the edited volume Making Art in Africa 1960-2010 published by Lund Humphries in 2014, and the forthcoming co-edited volume Socialist Exhibition Cultures (University of Toronto Press).  She has curated a number of exhibitions, including most recently, with Richard Gray, Our Sophisticated Weapon: Posters of the Mozambican Revolution for London’s Brunei Gallery in 2021 and The Africa Centre in 2022. 

About Ceren Özpınar

Dr Ceren Özpınar is a Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Brighton. She specialises in modern and contemporary art from Turkey, the Middle East, and their diasporas. She is particularly interested in questions of gender, sexuality, and race; artistic networks and communities; and art historiography. Her publications include the co-edited volume, Under the Skin: Feminist Art and Art Histories from the Middle East and North Africa Today (Oxford UP/British Academy, 2020), and the monograph, The Art Historiography in Turkey (1970–2010) (Tarih Vakfi, 2016). Her articles appeared in the Art JournalArt in TranslationArt & the Public Sphere, and Third Text. Her next monograph, Politics of Writing Art Histories: Narratives of Contemporary Art, Feminism and Women Artists from Turkey, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

About Laura Bruni

Laura Bruni is currently Assistant Curator at Tate Liverpool, where she has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions and collection displays, including JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters (2022 – 2023), Radical Landscapes, (2022) co-curated with Darren Pih, Journeys Through the Tate Collection – Port and Migration, Global Encounters (2022), Whose Tradition? (2020), Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port (2021) curated by Manuela Moscoso. Laura is currently part of the curatorial team at Tate delivering the forthcoming Liverpool Biennial 2023 uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things (June – Sept 2023).

About Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung

Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung is a writer and cultural worker particularly interested in anarchist and dissident publication practices, utopian thresholds in language, and literary expressions of the revolutionary consciousness. He is the founding editor of the online publication Decolonial Hacker. As of 2023, Eugene is Asymmetry Curatorial Fellow at Whitechapel Gallery, and was previously part of the curatorial and public programme teams at the Julia Stoschek Foundation and documenta fifteen, respectively. In 2021, he won the International Award for Art Criticism administered by The International Association of Art Critics. His writing has been published in Third Text, Griffith Review, Running Dog, Art+Australia, and 4A Papers, amongst others. Eugene holds degrees in art history, gender studies, and law from the University of Sydney.