Más Allá, el Mar Canta (Beyond, the Sea Sings), a group exhibition featuring work from Studio Art Assistant professor, Nicole Awai, is presented at Times Art Center Berlin. The exhibition, curated by Pablo José Ramírez and featuring the work of thirteen artists, explores themes of the Chinese diaspora in Central America and the Caribbean. The exhibition will be on view from September 16 through December 19, 2021.
“Within historical accounts of colonialism, narratives of encounter and interracial intimacy register as minor, as non-political, or as private conundrums,” reads text released by Times Art Center Berlin. “However, alongside the utter violence of diasporic labor, people first found one another and lived together. Interracial encounters worked as systems of resistance and forces of cross-cultural creation.” Más Allá, el Mar Canta (Beyond, the Sea Sings) aims to explore narratives of migration from China to Central America and the Caribbean as a starting point to consider systems of kinship and ontologies of intimacy. The exhibition recalls the history of the late 19th century, when thousands of Chinese workers immigrated to the gold mines and continued to be exploited for labor for years after. Their labor played instrumental roles in the West’s history, working on sites such as the Panama Canal, railroad systems and the logging industry in Belize.
The history of the Americas, according to Awai, is about malleability, the shaping and reshaping of resources and culture, an evolving, revolving phenomenon of the transformation and movement of bodies and materials. Themes of presence, transience, transformation, and the elasticity of time inform the process of the artist, often activating the qualities of nontraditional materials. Awai’s work in Más Allá, el Mar Canta , titled P.S. (Simultaneity), is “a visual remark, an assurance of a further transformation of materials, bodies, and objects in a space and unspecified time.”
From the curator, Ramírez, “The artists’ work in the exhibition speaks from the conundrum of diasporic subjectivities, powered by either personal explorations or by collective motifs whose common ground is the always poignant reminder that there is no political imagination without community.”