Kusheda Mensah, artist and co-host of W Project x Tate Exchange symposium

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We are very happy to introduce one of our co-hosts for the upcoming symposium, the phenomenal Kusheda Mensah. Kusheda is an artist, print designer and part of the stunning trio that is Unfinished Biz, a Youtube channel and NTS radio show. Unfinished Biz is a passion project launched by Kusheda and her friends, Charlie and Rivah with the aim of representing women that otherwise don’t feel represented on Youtube or other outlets. Topics of discussion vary from relationships and sexuality to club outfits, all rounded up with mad r’n’b tunes. If you haven’t tuned in yet, we urge you to do so. Currently, Mensah is working on broadening her art practice through sculpture and video, focusing on topics of mental health and wellbeing, media, women, diversity and humanity.

Prior to co-hosting the W Project x Tate Exchange symposium, we asked Kusheda to share her insights regarding women in art and diversity on a wider scale, and why she thinks curation from a diverse female perspective plays such a significant role in moving things forward. “The world is diverse. And not just now, when we have magazine covers and films highlighting these beautiful Black/Asian/Arabic women make it trendy. It always has been, especially to the ‘diverse’/ modern world. It just hasn’t been acknowledged. People of colour, especially women don’t usually own or get a voice. I don’t want to hear the perspective of a white male voice anymore. Not because it not important. But because we’ve heard the narrative, they own the world. So, a different voice needs to be heard. From Black to Arabic, Indian to Asian etc. The world is colourful and that is powerful and it should be celebrated. Voices and visions that have been suppressed for so long need to be heard. I want to see that narrative.”

The lack of diversity in the art industry is blatantly obvious, be it regarding gender, race or even socio-economically. Being an artist herself, Kusheda tells us what she would like to see evolve the most within the art world, “As an artist, of course my point of view comes from being a woman but at the same time, I am a human. And from the beginning of time, art has been a reflection of humanity, war, politics, struggle, pain, beauty, love etc. In the bigger, more public museums we see the actual reflection of society, which is STILL white males in portraits, always conquering something, which is still their narrative unfortunately. Never the REAL reflection of humanity. I’d like to see more of us, more diversity, which means ethnic women/men, gay, trans etc and less of ‘them’. We already know what they have to say. We appreciate that. Now we can move on. The real statement in these bigger, more public museums is diversifying the art promoted on i.e. tubes, on the billboards in west London and privileged areas that need to be diversified. And in less privileged areas where art exhibits or art isn’t even promoted or championed. The art world needs to embrace it this diversity. It signifies an acceptance of culture, which is something bigger, and they stand behind and champion the diverse voices of the new age.”

Kusheda Mensah will be co-hosting the W Project x Tate Exchange symposium The Future of Curation on 7th of March, 6pm-8pm.

Listen to Kusheda & Co at Unfinished Biz on NTS

Cairo Clarke, curator and speaker at W Project x Tate Exchange symposium

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We are very excited to introduce one of our speakers for the upcoming W Project x Tate Exchange symposium, curator and creative Cairo Clarke. Cairo is a Chelsea College of Art graduate and has been involved in a variety of amazing projects such as managing Dalston based Sang Bleu’s art space prior to her MA and last summer she co-curated and produced an alternative summer programme for not-for-profit art organisation Bold Tendencies in collaboration with TPS. The programme focused on celebrating the diversity and energy within arts and music, working with an amazing line up including poet James Massiah, female creative collective BORN n BREAD and artist Lotte Andersen among many others.

Currently, Clarke is working on Touch Sensitive, an art programme exploring notions of the female body through a series of events and performances created in collaboration between herself and the artists. Cairo shared with us how the idea of this innovative exhibition that carries technological associations came about, “I had been working on a project with the Women’s Art Library where they have so many back issues of Women’s Art Magazine and so I contacted one of my tutors who kindly gave me a load of those when I told him I was researching for a project. I love looking at the history of women in art, working together and creating a network and community. I became really interested in the 1990s issues about women in art and technology and what they thought the future of females in art would be, especially with the internet and technology, and how they could claim agency of their bodies online.”

What makes this upcoming exhibition so unique is the fact that each day, the gallery space as such and the artists in residence will change. Through this continual rotation the audience will be able to experience a continuous exploration of the body through different perspectives. ”I like the idea of moving a lot of energy and having a happening in this space, and it being very important for people to be there. It is really important that this fluid and dynamic approach was taking place and that the space was being morphed into something different each time with each artist. Getting this across to the artists as a way for them to work was essential. It’s about working collaboratively in creating something within each artists own practice so by working on it together made us bounce off each other. This makes all of us think outside the box. Especially for me working with the artists directly has allowed me to think more like an artist would rather than trying to fit them into a vision or idea. It’s completely collaborative and is a huge part of the way I work.”

Being such a creative visionary, we asked Clarke what progress she’d like to see in the future of the art world. “My whole research throughout my course revolved around how curators could challenge grand narratives in art institutions. How you don’t have to display everything in a similar way. A space is not just a space for things to exist in. A space is as important as the outside world. All these things come in and out so I’d like the future to be as progressive as possible and to be more diverse and in a way, the world to become a cultural democracy. Everything has a context outside of the art space and I think it’s important to constantly allow these conversations to flow and to be as dynamic as possible.”

Cairo Clarke will be speaking at W Project x Tate Exchange symposium – The Future of Curation on 7th of March, 6pm-8pm.

Touch Sensitive will take place between the 21st and 26th of March at Guest Projects’ space.



Credit: Touch Sensitive, Cairo Clarke, 2017.