Naima Morelli

Archive
Essay

Finally my piece on the Venice Biennale 2022 has been published by Plural Art Mag. While the piece was written in the aftermath of the opening, it came out just now, given the webmagazine’s editorial schedule.

The article is a report, as well as an overview, and it is focused on the Southeast Asian presence, which this year was much smaller compared to previous years.

Here is the link to the piece

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There is but one truth spoken in many different languages. This belief lies at the core of Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto’s practice. With his artworks that examine the cultures of Europe and Java, he signals to us that while the forms, protagonists and settings of each culture’s mythologies differ, they ultimately convey similar fundamental truths about humanity. 

Over the years, Eddy Susanto has reframed how the East and West meet. The Jakarta-born, Yogyakarta-based artist is on a mission to uncover the culture and seminal texts which are the patrimony of the Javanese. However, some of these have been forgotten over time, due to reasons such as the limits of oral transmission, the impact of colonialism and, later on, mass culture.

I have written about Eddy Susanto’s show I have curated in Venice for Plural Art Mag.

Here is the link to the piece

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Filipino curator Patrick Flores really likes the word “complicated.”

He actually uses it a lot as a verb: “complicating.” I find this lexical choice so compelling that sitting across him at a Formica table in a bare room in Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice, I can’t help but ask, “You use the word ‘complicating’ a lot. Is it for you a good thing, a bad thing, or a neutral thing? Tell me about it!”

For a little bit of context, we are speaking at the Venice Biennale, during its opening days. Taiwan’s National Pavilion – which is actually not a national pavilion at all, but instead an ‘official collateral show,’ since Taiwan is, of course, not considered a nation – is being presented at the Palazzo delle Prigioni.

I wrote about the Taiwanese Pavilion for Plural Art Mag.

Here is the link to the piece

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Diana Al Hadid [Diego Flores]

Musing around the work of an artist who draws her inspiration from multiple, diverse sources is always extremely enjoyable for me – especially if the artist’s references encounter my own, in a high-brow, low-brow dialogue.

In this piece I wrote about the outstanding work of Syrian-American artist Diana Al-Hadid, and read it in the light of both Buddhist philosophy and the Foo Fighters.

Here is the link to the piece

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“When the day was over, we sat on a bench carved in stone, watching the clouds turn pink and the sea purple. We chatted about everything, from Nietzsche’s Übermensch to that cute waiter trying on me. Being part of Positano’s busking community was paradise, so I figured that in Melbourne it wouldn’t be any different.”

A little story from my personal arsenal, just published by Global Comment. I wish to have the chance to write more stories like this one in the future, alongside the arts writing. It’s really fun!

Here is the link to the piece

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In Southeast Asia, several artists are looking deep into local traditions and narratives, giving the mythical and historical figures obscured by colonialism, patriarchy, and consumerism, their rightful place.

Their works challenge Western-centric and patriarchal narratives, opening up new interpretations for the viewers. Each artist is bringing forth a different yet very relevant narrative.

I wrote about four of my favourite artists from the region working on these themes for CoBo Social, but truly I’m thinking to write an entire book on the subject, or at least curate a show! In the meantime, here is a taste of it.

Here is the link to the piece

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Can machines create value? And do objects have meaning if there are no humans around to experience them?

These are the questions that Singapore artist Gerald Leow has been grappling with in the past few months. If you’re based in Singapore, you might have seen his latest work while walking by Marina Bay Sands. Called Perpetual Motion, it’s a series of column-like sculptures with reflective surfaces that appear to be in constant dialogue with the skyscrapers on the bay.

I have to say that Gerald is one of my favourite Singaporean artists, and I have been following his work since 2015. Plural Art Mag has just published my article on his new exhibit:

Here is the link to the piece

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art ramallah

Starting Palestine’s first ever art fair during a global pandemic may seem a daunting proposition, but for Ziad Anani and Yusef Hussein, of the Zawyeh Art Gallery, it was a much needed way to bring Palestinians together in testing times.

I reported and wrote the story for Middle East Eye.

Here is the link to the piece

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Al-Monitor has just published my interview with Libyan photographer and photojournalist Nada Harib. Her work is all about hope in the face of adversity and beauty in the midst of pain.

With her photographs widely exhibited in and outside Libya, from the Institut du Monde Arabe in France to the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, Harib’s work tells stories that have been forgotten or repressed during her country’s many turbulent phases. 

It’s another step for me and Al-Monitor’s readers to learn more about the culture and humanity of Libya, beyond the news reports.

Here is the link to the interview

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If you have any degree of familiarity with the history of politics and royalty in Burma, you will definitely know June Yadana as the daughter of the princess Ma Lat – the direct descendent of the last King of Burma – who later became the wife of the dictator Ne Win.

What is less known is June’s turbulent life across Europe and Asia, where she traversed the most significant moments at the turn of the twentieth century, always animated by a relentless spirit.

I have written about her for Plural Art Mag.

Here is the link to the piece

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For months, perhaps already in October, I felt an incredible urge to look back and take stock of the entire year, to put the word end to an unfolding of events, full of beauty of pain in equal measure, and start again. But as the buds of a new life in Rome were slowly appearing, I hesitated. There was always something else to do.

One night around mid-December I felt I could wait no longer to be back in my hometown Sorrento for the holidays to put pen to paper. I had to do it right then, that Sunday night in Rome. I had just opened up my computer, when two friends called for an evening tea. To hell with it! I choose to go, choose the present life who was asking me to join in.

And now that I’m in Sorrento for the holidays, in the intersection of days where time seems to stand still, I felt some reticence to look back. I felt that since that evening tea, I have been on the other side, and looking past my shoulder at a momentous time was something blocking the appreciation of what’s right in front of me. But as I started writing, and preparing my parallel post with pictures on Gioco di Donne, I feel have digested and released the old stories, and be appreciative of where they have led me.

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Desk

The question each one of us who loves art, and perhaps works in the art field must ask oneself is: with much uncertainty still looming in the upcoming year, how do artists, curators, art writers, and art appreciators keep themselves in the loop, not only growing their artistic sensitivity, but also becoming a vehicle for change towards a better society?

Global Comment has published my piece where I detail some strategies and a framework to re-articulate our approach to the art world in 2022 with renewed energy.

Here is the link to the piece

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