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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Zaha Hadid

(1950 - 2016), Iraq

Zaha Mohammed Hadid was an Iraqian architect who emphatically and dramatically challenged the conventions of late twentieth century architecture, which had become cautious and disconnected from the modern movement. Hadid’s work shows a freeing sense of fluidity, through the use of aggressive, fragmented geometry and multiple points of perspective. The result is highly creative with elaborate layouts that introduce fresh understandings of spatial structures. Her personality matched the vibrancy of her designs, and her passion and zeal for pushing the boundaries of modern architecture both carried her through lean times and gave her buildings an added exceptionalism.

Hadid’s works, while certainly holding a visionary quality, have come under heavy criticism for their extraordinary cost and supplanting of functionality to achieve the desired artistic vision. Critics have pointed out the inherent unsustainability of her design in buildings such as the Aquatics Centre, built for the 2012 London Olympics. They have also questioned her clientele, namely her work for controversial figures or on contentious projects, like a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Whatever the circumstance, Hadid’s designs embody a passion for an almost-unhinged creativity that allows the projects to be uninhibited by financial burdens and to release their true potential.

The international projects that Hadid and her architecture firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, have designed and commissioned include the MAXXI Museum in Rome, 2000-2010; the Shiekh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2007-2010; the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2007-2012; and the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, 2008-14. Hadid has also exhibited non-architectural pieces at high profile galleries and museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, 1988; the 2000 Venice Biennale; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2011-2012. She has also won several awards, such as the Pritzker Architecture prize in 2004, and the Sterling Prize in both 2010 and 2011, for the MAXXI Museum and the Evelyn Grace Academy, London, respectively.

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In Related Press

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Zaha Hadid Architects Related Press Zaha Hadid Architects Malcolm Reading Consultants : 21 October 2017

Anish Kapoor, in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects and Sophie Walker Studio, has been shortlisted in the UK Holocaust Memorial competition. In September of 2016, the UK government launched an international design competition for a National Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi...

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Art Basel Hong Kong returns, bigger and bolder than ever before Related Press Art Basel Hong Kong returns, bigger and bolder than ever before Wallpaper* : 26 March 2017

Now in its fifth edition, Art Basel Hong Kong has become a firm annual fixture on the city’s cultural – and art collector’s – map. With almost 80,000 visitors and surprisingly robust sales reported on opening night, this edition featured a stronger selection of works than previous years, and noticeably less bling on show by 242 galleries from 34...

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MoMA Protests Trump Entry Ban by Rehanging Work by Artists from Muslim Nations Related Press MoMA Protests Trump Entry Ban by Rehanging Work by Artists from Muslim Nations The New York Times : 3 February 2017

In one of the strongest protests yet by a major cultural institution against President Trump's executive order on immigration, the Museum of Modern Art has rehung part of its permanent collection with works by artists from some of the majority-Muslim nations whose citizens are blocked from entering the United States.

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MoMA Takes a Stand: Art From Banned Countries Comes Center Stage Related Press MoMA Takes a Stand: Art From Banned Countries Comes Center Stage The New York Times : 3 February 2017

President Trump's executive order banning travel and rescinding visas for citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations does not lack for opponents in New York — from Kennedy Airport, where striking taxi drivers joined thousands of demonstrators, to the United Nations, whose new secretary general, António Guterres, said the measures 'violate our...

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