From March to May 2021, Nafasi Art Space in partnership with curator Kristina Dziedzic Wright and the South Korean artist duo Bang & Lee, undertook an ambitious collaborative exchange which involved a virtual workshop, the production of new work in both Tanzania and South Korea, a culminating multidisciplinary event featuring two side-by-side exhibitions.
Bang & Lee had been scheduled to come to Nafasi Art Space for a residency and exhibition in 2020, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic they were unable to travel. Though a series of conversations with the artists, curator Kristina Dziedzic Wright, and Nafasi’s curatorial team Rebecca Yeong Ae Corey and Jesse Gerard, a new format for collaboration and exchange was been conceptualized around a series of virtual conversations and experiences that engaged with Bang & Lee’s current project, the Artist Stone, which focuses on DIY ceramic 3D printing, as well as conversations with curator Nathalie Boseul Shin from the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Korean curatorial collective Team Hashtag, and the Nafasi Academy Curatorial Programme.
The Tanzanian artists and curators selected to participate in the exchange had interests spanning design, installation, technology, and sculpture. In addition to the virtual conversations held in a workshop format, the participants engaged in research and creation over the two-month period, creating works inspired by and in dialogue with the Korean interlocutors.
The exchange explored linkages, parallels, and contrasts in Tanzanian and Korean design, patterns, and (visual) cultures, which provided an opportunity to excavate hidden historical and contemporary symbols, concepts, and systems that have informed both African and Asian societies. At the same time, this exchange sought to examine what intercultural exchange might look like when international travel is not possible, and instead virtual technologies and human impulses must meet to cross the distances between people.
This short documentary produced by Rebecca Yeong Ae Corey, directed and edited by Walt Mzengi with cinematography by Nicholas Calvin asks: Through these real and imagined encounters — despite dropped calls, power cuts, delayed shipments — did we forge meaningful connections and expressions that bring us together?
To watch the short documentary film on YouTube please click here: Imagined Encounters: Bang & Lee in Dar