“Segregated Space: On Progress” /
A Talk by Murtaza Vali with ArteEast

Date: Wednesday, 18 November 2009, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Listen to an audio recording of this program, or download here.
00:00 / 00:00

As part of its “Across Histories” lecture series, ArteEast presents “Segregated Space: On Progress,” a talk by Murtaza Vali on CAMP’s “Wharfage” project.

Recent post-colonial scholarship has challenged traditional interpretations of oceans as spaces of separation, articulating, instead, the specific types of encounters and exchange they enable and the syncretic identities, cultures, and nationalisms that result from such interactions. Drawing on these theories, Vali will discuss Mumbai-based CAMP’s “Wharfage” (2009), a public art project presented at the recent ninth Sharjah Biennial that examined current trade—conducted exclusively by wooden dhows—between Sharjah’s old port and contemporary Somalia. Successfully foregrounding the millennia-old nautical ties linking the Gulf, South Asia, and East Africa, “Wharfage” recasts the Indian Ocean as a space of connection, communication, and exchange and posits cross-cultural interaction across it as integral to the culture of Sharjah in particular, and more broadly, the Gulf. By doing so it subverts the “nationalist focus” and “ethnic absolutism” that characterizes discourses of history and culture in the United Arab Emirates, where a pure “Emirati” identity is promoted and safeguarded above all.

About the Speaker
Murtaza Vali is a Brooklyn- and Sharjah-based independent critic and art historian. A regular contributor to Bidoun and ArtAsiaPacific, where he is a contributing editor, his writing focuses on contemporary art, culture, and politics in the United States, South Asia, and the Middle East, and the complex intersections between these spheres post-9/11. He was co-editor of the 2007 and 2008 editions of ArtAsiaPacific’s annual Almanac issue, an encyclopedic year-end review of contemporary art across Asia. His criticism has also appeared in ArtReview and Art India and he has penned catalog essays on various artists, most recently Reena Saini Kallat and Emily Jacir. Also a freelance curator, his upcoming exhibition “Accented” will be presented at BRIC Rotunda Gallery in early 2010, as part of their Lori Ledis Emerging Curator Program.