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  • Feb 24, 2023

Weekly News Roundup: February 24, 2023

FLORENCE LEE, Elephant in Castle, 2021, still from video: 4 min 50 sec. Courtesy the artist.

Screenings Axed at Hong Kong Festival After Censors Request Removal of Protest Scenes

Ahead of its scheduled opening on March 2, Hong Kong’s ifva festival for short videos and animation canceled the screenings of two works, Lost a part of (2022) and Elephant in Castle (2021), as the creators refused to delete politically sensitive content, per a request by the Hong Kong government’s Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration (OFNAA). The former, created by director Chan Hau Chun and listed as one of the ten finalists this year, features 30 minutes of fragmentary footage that includes depictions of changes on human bodies and snippets of crowds waving at a prisoners’ van. Elephant in Castle is a nearly five-minute-long animation by Florence Lee that describes Lee’s experiences growing up in the city and witnessing the changes in people’s mentality, especially after the 2019 protests and the outbreak of pandemic in 2020. The award-winning animation—viewable in full online—compiles imagery such as the yellow helmet and protestors’ hands holding each other. OFNAA requested one minute of content to be removed.

Portraits of (left to right) MARGOT NORTON, VICTORIA SUNG, and ANTHONY GRAHAM. Courtesy the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Appoints New Curators To Reshape Collection Focus

From March to May, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) will welcome three new curators to its senior management. Margot Norton of New York’s New Museum will serve as BAMPFA’s new chief curator, while Victoria Sung from Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Anthony Graham from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will take up posts as senior curators. Norton has organized solo exhibitions for established contemporary artists like Chris Ofili and Pipilotti Rist, in addition to the Georgia Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. At the Walker, Sung has overseen numerous survey exhibitions, including an upcoming solo for Pacita Abad, alongside acquisition and commissions for the museum. Graham curated shows for artists such as Sadie Barnette and Tschabalala Self during his term as assistant curator at MCASD. Norton, Sung, and Graham were chosen from an international search by BAMPFA’s executive director Julie Rodrigues Widholm, based on Widholm’s vision to reshape the institution’s collection focus. The three, who bring with them a wealth of curatorial experience in their fields of specialization, are expected to develop a more socially engaged and global collection. BAMPFA currently houses over 28,000 artworks, with particular strengths in 20th and 21st century American art, Italian Baroque painting, and East Asian paintings and films.

Portrait of NALINI MALANI in her studio in Mumbai. Photo by Johan Pijnappel. Courtesy the artist.

Nalini Malani Receives CAA Distinguished Feminist Award

Indian artist Nalini Malani has been named by College Art Association of America (CAA) as one of the recipients of its Distinguished Feminist Awards for the 2023 edition of CAA Awards for Distinction. One of India’s first-generation video artists, Malani often critically examines the issues of gender equality through her videos, paintings, and other time-based media. For Mother India: Transitions in the Construction of Pain (2005), for instance, she combined archival footage with other distorted images that depict women’s bodies. Malani continues to explore these issues in her recent works, such as the animated video Can You Hear Me? (2018–2020), which reflects the sexual assault and murder of an eight-year old girl in Kashmir Valley. In the jury’s words, “Malani’s work is a beacon; her work is eminently important now as the world bears witness to an increase in femicide and gender-based violence.” The other winner of the Distinguished Feminist Awards this year was Marsha Meskimmon, a professor of transnational art and feminism at Loughborough University who has authored or co-authored 12 books. The jury members for Distinguished Feminist Awards this year included Delinda Collier, chair of School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Yvonne Love from Pennsylvania State University; and Midori Yoshimoto from New Jersey City University.

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