Organised in partnership with the Brent Biennial, ArtReview will host artists Pio Abad, Barby Asante and Abbas Zahedi as they discuss strategies of engagement with critic Hettie Judah, building on many of the themes Judah addressed in her recent essay ‘Art By Stealth’.
‘How do you create a work that is distributed in a way that invites someone to engage with art?’ asks Zahedi, whose Soul Refresher project for the biennial perhaps best exemplifies the concept of exhibition-by-stealth. Soul Refresher is a pink soda formulated by Zahedi with Square Root Soda Works, inspired by the Indian sherbet syrup Rooh Afza. The alcohol-free drink is a symbol of inclusive gatherings, and recollects the music, spoken word and literary events once organised by Zahedi at Rumi’s Cave on Willesden Lane.
‘Being part of the street for a month invites very different interaction to a work in a library,’ Abad told Judah of his mural work. ‘I didn’t think I’d be a muralist, but the civic role is something I really value… I realised that the public has a healthier relationship with street art in a way: it’s immediate, and it’s the most democratic form because it doesn’t require you to go into a space.’
Asante’s project for the biennial, on the other hand, happened away from a general audience: Declaration of Independence is an ongoing performance/forum ‘bringing together womxn to reflect on how the political affects the personal and how the social, cultural implications of historic declarations, policies and legislations impact on their everyday lives’, the artist says.
This conversation will happen over Zoom on Friday 12 February, 6pm GMT. Please RSVP to receive a link: firstname.lastname@example.org.