Can you present yourself?
I am an independent art worker and curator based between Beirut and Rio de Janeiro, founder of Temporary Art Platform (TAP), a curatorial platform focusing on social and public art practices. I work across disciplines and formats and my projects investigate forms of social engagement and commoning through art and cultural practices in and from the Global South.
What project have you been recently working on?
“Make yourself at home”: Migration and hospitality out of place is a touring exhibition I have been preparing for the last two years. It was planned to open in April 2020 in Rio de Janeiro and postponed to 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic. It is inspired by the rich narratives behind the Lebanese diasporic presence in Brazil and the myths surrounding the hosting country’s hospitableness towards the ‘’other’’ which the project aims at deconstructing. This South-South project on the themes of hospitality and migration addresses the exacerbating social inequalities and (increasing) xenophobic practices towards migrants, refugees or minority groups within the same country for class, gender, religious or cultural motivations.
My latest project was born on the whim during my confinement in Rio de Janeiro. Www.covideo19.art is a series of contaminated readings of 119 international contemporary art videos through the lens the ‘’now’’. Released daily during 119 days, the platform serves today as an archive of this curatorial compilation.
Can you tell us about the role and responsibility of a curator today?
The versatile and potentially fugitive role of the curator allows for infinite typologies of projects and processes but also for radical paths that must be further explored considering the social responsibilities that curators could willingly take on. Curators must acknowledge and manoeuvre the powers they have to give voice and care about the voiceless or underrepresented communities in the artworld and beyond. Deconstruction of power dynamics is something we can contribute to in creative and radical ways through many steps of our work: selection of artists, fundraising, translation, communication and involvement of communities through commissions.
You live in Rio de Janeiro. Why have you decided to be based in this city? What’s your favourite thing about it and your favourite places?
Rio de Janeiro, (Santa Teresa neighbourhood) has been home for the last year and half. This marvellous city, decadent and known for its conflicting beauty is inside the largest urban forest in the world! Its fascinating modern art and architecture legacy, music as well as the carnival and beach cultures have been gifts to my body and soul! Brazil has been also producing the most radical and progressist theories and thoughts in the field of humanities. Black and indigenous voices from this country are charged with century long fights and experiences from and with nature that are resonating more than ever at the moment.
Amanda Abi Khalil participated in YCI programme in 2014 organised in collaboration with the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard.