Curator Zasha Colah is getting ready to close her Fellowship with 221A after the The Scorched Earthly exhibition opening at the Ar/Ge Kunst in Bolzano, Italy. Zasha has worked on this body of research with 221A since 2021, which has developed into a two-part exhibition and a forthcoming publication. Later this year, an archive of the exhibition and research will find a home in 221A’s Library, to be displayed in our new facility at 825 Pacific Street. Join Zasha, along with her collaborator, Valentina Viviani, to discuss the research and to hear about the launch of the exhibition.
The Scorched Earthly considers the use of the scorched-earth policy—and the many forms this military maneuver has taken up until the present—in terrains largely describable as either unceded or ungovernable. The highlands of north-eastern India and Myanmar (known as Zomia) and the lands of Indigenous people, especially the unceded territories in British Columbia, bear oral folklore that describe routine scorched-earth interventions. Zasha’s research accentuates poetic voices and artistic actions from these terrains connected by their bearing of scorched-earth maneuvers.
Fellows at 221A
Since 2017, 221A has worked with 17 Fellows to conduct research over extended periods of time. Each Fellow receives a living-wage stipend and production support to lead new research on potential social, cultural or ecological infrastructure. Staff work alongside Fellows to resource and translate research into public education, learning programs and engaging plans to develop new infrastructure.
- Zasha Colah co-founded the research collaborative blackrice in Tuensang, Nagaland (2007). She worked as a curator of modern Indian art at the CSMVS Museum in Mumbai (2009-2011). She co-founded the curatorial collaborative, union of artists, and art space Clark House Initiative, Mumbai (under which she curated projects collaboratively with Sumesh Sharma from 2010-2015). Her art writing and curatorial research turn around contemporary art in Indo-Burma since the late 80s. Her latest essays on this region have been included in 'Interlaced Journeys: Diaspora and the Contemporary in Southeast Asian Art' (eds. Patrick D Flores and Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani, Osage Art Foundation, 2020) and in 'Art & Ecology' (eds. Ravi Agarwal and Latika Gupta, Marg, 2020). Her writing on the curatorial has been included in 'The New Curator' (ed. Natasha Hoare et al., Laurence King, 2016); in 'The Curatorial Conundrum' (ed. Paul O’Neill et al., MIT Press, 2016); 'Curating Under Pressure' (ed. Elke aus dem Moore, OnCurating journal 38, 2018). She curated ‘body luggage’, (Kunsthaus and steirischer herbst, Graz, 2016); ‘I love you Sugar Kane’ (ICIAO, Mauritius, 2016). She co-curated with Luca Cerizza ‘Prabhakar Pachpute’ (National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2016), and the third Pune Biennale ‘Habit-co-habit. Artistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces’ (2017). She was part of the curatorial team under Marco Scotini of the second Yinchuan Biennale, ‘Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge’ (2018). She is co-curator with Marianne Zamecznik of a year-long public art commission for Deichmanske bibliotek, National Public Library, Oslo. She teaches comparative curatorial theory in the Master of Visual Arts & Curatorial Studies department, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan (since 2018).
- Valentina Viviani (Córdoba, Argentina, 1991) is an artist and researcher working on ways of embodying plant thinking and entering into deep coexistence with different spaces understood as ecosystems. She is currently part of the artist collective Poly Marchantia. She holds a Degree in Sculpture from the Faculty of Arts, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina (2017), and an MA in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies in Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan, Italy (2021). She has participated in group shows and solo exhibitions between Argentina and Italy, including Atlas, fragmentos para la producción del Paisaje (Atlas, fragments for the production of landscape) a solo exhibition at La Casona Municipal in Córdoba, Argentina (2017). She was an artist in residence in La Sala Que Habito in the historic town hall of Córdoba with the work Lo material no sujeta nada (The material doesn’t hold anything) (2017-2018). She participated with Poly Marchantia in SITU residency program in Militello in Val di Catania (Italy) with the work the Quali voci, quali corpi, quali storie? (Which voices, which bodies, which stories?) in Chiesa del Purgatorio (2021). Poly Marchantia recently participated in group exhibition The Scorched Earthly. A Sit-in with The Missing Forest, a collective performative-walk at ar/ge Kunst, Bolzano (2023) As researcher she has collaborated in different curatorial and editorial projects. She is a research assistant in The Scorched Earthly, Zasha Colah’s 221a fellowship (2021-2023). She was copy editor of PAROLA magazine Issue N1 MUSEO, directed by Roberto Maria Clemente and Leonardo Caffo in Turin, Italy (2022). She co-curated EXTRANEOUS exhibition in EXILE gallery for Curated by festival, 2022 edition, Vienna, Austria. (2022). Currently, she teaches in Master Mater Matuta, an MA in curatorial practice and contemporary philosophy of the Mediterranean.