SAHA supports Özge Ersoy, Begüm Özden Fırat, Gözde İlkin, and Zeyno Pekünlü, who have been invited to the 13th Gwangju Biennale; the artistic directors of the biennial are Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala.
The 13th Gwangju Biennale titled Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning, held on 1 April–9 May 2021; hosts 69 artists across four spaces. The 69 participating artists are from all over the world, including artists from South Korea, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Brazil, Lebanon, and Indonesia. From Turkey, Gözde İlkin participates in the exhibition. İlkin uses sewing, drawing, painting, and installation to refer to issues of land policies, cultural and political landscapes, and gender issues, presenting the textiles that she uses on her works as a carrier of personal or collective memory. For her new work, İlkin collaborates with writer Sema Kaygusuz.
On 20 November 2020, artist Zeyno Pekünlü and sociologist Associate Professor Begüm Özden Fırat participated in a panel discussion along with Kwon Do Gyun, who is a researcher at the May 18 Democratic Archives, where documents of the civil uprisings and massacres in Gwangju from the 1980s are hosted. As a continuation of the panel, a workshop based on the representations of civil uprisings and social movements in images was organized. Curator Özge Ersoy, who is based in Hong Kong, is the biennial’s head of public programming, which included this panel; the programming is presented through social media channels and the Gwangju Biennale website.
Defne Ayas, the co-artistic director of the 13th Gwangju Biennale, said at the press conference in South Korea earlier this week: “At this point in time when artificial and cybernetic intelligence discussions have peaked, the importance of a shared (communal) mind has also become more important; we can see the roots of this tendency in healing technologies, matriarchal systems, animism, indigenous lives, and anti-systemic kinships. Today we wanted to interpret the traumatic transition from political, social, and economic structures into algorithmic regimes, which was accelerated with the pandemic, by bringing together philosophy, neurosciences, anthropology, political science, and art. Our goal is to present the relationship between resistance/opposition, healing, and restoration through exhibitions and public programming in Gwangju, a place familiar with social trauma.”
About Gwangju Biennale
The Gwangju Biennale was first realized in 1995 in Gwangju. Founded in memory of spirits of civil uprising of the 1980 repression of the Gwangju Democratization Movement, the Gwangju Biennale presents a global perspective on contemporary art and social movement. Curated by Okwui Enwezor, Jessica Morgan, Maria Lind, Charles Esche, Hou Hanru, Harald Szeemann, Nancy Adajania, Mami Kataoka, and Sunjung Kim thus far, the biennial holds an important place among international biennials. The 13th Gwangju Biennale is co-curated by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala.