Asia Triennial Manchester 2021 exhibition explores rich history of Asian art
8 November 2021
Fifth edition of Europe’s only triennial dedicated to Asian visual art is directed by Alnoor Mitha
An exhibition of artists’ postcards that explore the rich history of Asian art will mark the fifth edition of Asia Triennial Manchester 2021 (ATM21), Europe’s only triennial dedicated to contemporary visual art in Asia.
The curatorial theme for ATM21 is ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ which explores how we navigate the tensions in our neighbourhoods in today’s challenging times where diverse communities are facing issues around identity, migration, citizenship, gender and sexuality, and community.
Through this theme, ATM21 will investigate the need to share common values of care and love to build more compassionate relationships with our neighbours.
Taking place from November 12 to 24, ATM21 will centre around an exhibition of artists’ postcards on display in Manchester Poetry Library and a special evening will mark the launch on November 11. Poet, scriptwriter, and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Writing School Anjum Malik has written a ghazal – an ancient form of poetry with 7th century Arabic origins – which will be recited during the opening event with live music by percussionist Arian Sadr.
A dramatic installation Islands designed by performance artist Mingmei Zhou will address issues specific to British Asian communities and Haleh Moravej, Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, has designed and curated a unique Asian food accompaniment for the event, creating a multifaceted sensory experience.
Alnoor Mitha, founding Artistic Director of ATM21 and Senior Research Fellow (Asian Cultures) at Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “I am thrilled to collaborate with our new Poetry Library and its Director Becky Swain. The fifth edition of the ATM21, focuses on the theme of 'Love Thy Neighbour', it brings a series of innovative postcards from around the globe reinforcing, compassion and creativity that captures human communication through poetic and visual narrative.
“This will effectively, transform our mindset with an abundance of beautiful messages from the artistic community, during these challenging times.”
Exhibition of artists’ postcards
Manchester Poetry Library, the North West’s first public poetry library, will host an exhibition of artists’ postcards portraying the rich histories of Asian art through modern and contemporary interpretations.
Intimate and immediate, the artists’ postcard is a miniature work of art designed for a specific social purpose – to connect with others.
This unique collection of works will feature prints, photography, fine art, embroidery, and poetry from around the globe.
Highlights include work by visual story-telling artist Louise Soloway Chan based in Hong Kong, who captures the essence of the rapidly changing city, and the many silent voices and invisible hands that are the life force and backbone keeping the city functioning.
Meanwhile, contemporary Indian artist Rekha Rodwittiya’s work explores the complex issues of life and living, of alienation and belonging, of discrimination and acceptance, of accord and discord.
Becky Swain, Director of Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with Alnoor Mitha and Asia Triennial Manchester to host the 'Love Thy Neighbour' exhibition.
“These beautiful postcards from across the globe are vital works of art with a social purpose that can help us to deepen our understanding of self, others and the world around us. In uncertain and complex times, they highlight the need to share common values of care and love to help us develop empathy, kindness and compassion for each other."
Asia Triennial Manchester
Since 2008, Asia Triennial Manchester (ATM) has brought together international artists, audiences, and institutions to celebrate Asia through different themes, and explore the complexity of British Asian diaspora.
ATM aims to develop new collaborative curatorial models that share and create contemporary visual art, reaching new audiences and communities.
ATM has a history of building diversity agendas, curatorial development initiative and producing new commissions across exhibitions, collaborations, workshops and research projects. Previous themes have included ‘Protest, Time, Generation, Conflict and Compassion’, and ‘Who Do You Think You Are’.