To mark the 2018 Remembrance Day for Lost Species, ONCA hosted an exhibition called Some Of Us Did Not Die.
The exhibition was made up of new works by POC artists that responded to the theme of biodiversity, racial justice and environmental justice, generated through an artist residency on the ONCA Barge and curated by Imani Robinson.
In conversation with the past, the future, and each other, the work explores strategies and connections required to survive our current apocalyptic conditions. Whiteness has framed racialized bodies and knowledge as expendable, inconsequential, or hazardous to the values of empire.
But some of us did not die.
Hi, my name is Imani Robinson and I am a trustee at ONCA.
I’m also a member of sorry you feel uncomfortable collective and I curated Some of Us Did Not Die.
Lost Species Day is a chance each year to explore the stories of extinct and critically endangered species, cultures, life ways, and ecological communities. Whilst emphasising that these losses are rooted in violent and discriminatory governing practices, the day provides an opportunity for participants to make or renew commitments to all who remain, and to develop creative and practical solutions.
In recognition of Lost Species Day, this exhibition featured the work of three artists of colour with distinct approaches to exploring the environmental impact of racism and capitalism as ongoing social issues.
By providing a nurturing environment for artists of colour to explore these issues and make and exhibit work, the O N C A community honoured the diverse experiences and practices associated with enduring and witnessing the loss of cultural and biological diversity.
As an independent curator, I like to work with as many black and POC artists as possible. We are undervalued, under-resourced, underrepresented and under-supported in the arts broadly speaking.
It was important specifically for this project to work with artists engaged in racial and environmental justice and that these artists were speaking and making from a place of experience, as well as theoretical interest.
There were a bunch of fantastic events programmed for Some of Us Did Not Die. We hosted a drop-in workshop to help artists understand more about the project before they applied. We held an artists open studios on the Barge, where I was in conversation with writer, curator, and artist, Ama Josephine Budge. Discussing environmental justice, racial justice and pleasure activism.
I hosted an artist talk with Matice, Laurèl and Tsai, to give the audience an idea of the process behind making the work and also to situate the ideas in a broader context.
O N C A invited Tj Demos, Joshua Virasami, and Mads Ryle to discuss activist solidarity across communities and across boarders.
And other events included a BSL interpreted exhibition tour and also a zine making workshop with Susuana Amoah. I’m so proud to have curated Some of Us Did Not Die at ONCA, because the intersections between racial and environmental justice are so often, minimised, ignored or erased.
But I think we did a great job of highlighting the importance of finding creative strategies for an understanding of the state of the world. And for making work that is challenging, insightful and bold. I hope that our audiences felt this too.
This project is supported by funding from Arts Council England, and is part of the nationwide Season for Change – ‘celebrating the environment through culture and inspiring urgent action on climate change‘.