September/October 2021

September/October 2021


Cover: Zadie Xa, Fox (detail), 2020. Oil on hand sewn and machine stitched fabric, faux fur, bleached and dyed denim, conceived in collaboration with Benito Mayor Vallejo, 168  x  127.5  x  15  cm. Photo: Blaine Campbell. Courtesy the artist.

September 1, 2021
September/October 2021
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How can we communicate, and commune, with our ancestors whose lives and cultures are long lost to time and geography? And what can we learn from the way they survived, and thrived, as communities? At a moment when the world is facing fiery catastrophes brought on by the climate crisis, mass extinctions of different species, and waves of displacement, we are endeavoring to unlock knowledge of our past more than ever before.

In our cover feature, artist Zadie Xa discusses creative ventures in which she stages quasi-mythical rituals and environments populated by shamans and creatures of the natural world, from seagulls to orcas, octopuses and sea urchins. As Xa explains to managing editor Chloe Chu, she draws on her diasporic upbringing, the 1990s street culture of the Canadian west coast, and the shape-shifting practices of shamans, who are intriguing for “their ability to cross between worlds and act as mediators between the living and the dead.”

In our second feature, London-based contributor Cleo Roberts-Komireddi caught up with Gala Porras-Kim following the Los Angeles-based artist’s residency at Delfina Foundation. The two of them spoke about Porras-Kim’s long-running engagements with cultural artifacts and the institutions in which they are kept and displayed. As the artist explains to Roberts-Komireddi, she takes on a mediator role in order to help museums talk about the problems they are facing today, motivated by her love of institutions and desire to “make them better.”

Rounding out the Features is Up Close, where AAP’s editors shine a spotlight on recent projects by Liu Yin, Shuruq Harb, and Pınar Öğrenci. Inside Burger Collection focuses on the legendary artist Lee Ufan, who, curator Jean-Marie Gallais fondly recollects, gave his guest an energetic tour around his adopted home in Kamakura, Japan. Lee Ufan also shared excerpts from his new reflections on time and existence in the pandemic era.

This issue’s Essay is penned by Susan Htoo, the winner of the 2021 Young Writers Contest, and looks at the virtual exhibitions and social-media activities of artists from Myanmar speculating about the future and responding to the February 1 military coup d’état. 

Elsewhere in the magazine, multimedia artist Kang Seung Lee, sculptor Nabuqi, and experimental noise musician Xper.Xr appear in Profiles. In The Point, Yi Cao, the director of curatorial administration for the Arts of Asia collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, discusses the ways in which museums need to make themselves relevant to their communities in the wake of social-justice movements. In Dispatch, Seattle-based artist and educator Robert Rhee reflects on the Pacific northwest city’s stuttering efforts to get back to “normal” and how institutions have realigned themselves for the future.

In Fine Print, art lawyers Yayoi Shionoiri and Ryan Su discuss the practical legal issues that NFT creators face, and offer a sample contract for artists and collectors to use. Looking back at a formative moment in his life, Mark Salvatus, in One on One, describes how installation artists Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan inspired his future practice.

Finally, for Where I Work, associate editor Ophelia Lai visited the studio of Hong Kong artist Leelee Chan, who imbues found materials with biomorphic qualities. In a world that produces more and more objects every day, often with the goal of increasing efficiency, Chan seeks out moments of material beauty in discarded remnants. Like Xa, Porras-Kim, and many others, Chan offers a model for learning to adapt to the conditions of our new world, just as our ancestors did before us.

A digital edition of the full AAP 125 September/October issue is now available for purchase on ZinioGoogle PlayiTunes, and Magzter.

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