Participating in the
Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea
Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning
Artistic Directors: Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala
Through a process of weaving, knitting, or otherwise knotting independent threads together into one unit, Sonia Gomes unites the distinct narratives of her materials—ranging from gifted dresses, wedding invitations, pattern books—into one intuitive and singular work. As curator Solange Farkas put it: "The art of Sonia Gomes binds cultural movements and traditions that are somehow related to the affirmation of memory, identity and the transformative power of creation in situations of vulnerability and invisibility."
On the occasion of the Gwangju Biennale, Gomes will present her multi-dimensional sculptural works, created by sewing and tying together found and gifted objects and textiles exploring notions of memory and identity. Often incorporating wire into her constructions, Gomes creates works which hang from the ceiling, reach out from the walls, or rest on the ground. This act of binding remnants of disparate cultures and materials is deeply rooted in Gomes's own story—she says, "my work is Black, it is feminine, and it is marginal. I am a rebel. I never worried about masking or stifling anything that might or might not fit standards of what is called art."
About the Gwangju Biennale
The 13th Gwangju Biennale will feature a dynamic program encompassing an exhibition, a performance program, an online publishing platform and publications, and a series of public forums bringing together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers. The Biennale argues for the primacy of plurality, positing that points of origin and influence ought to be accessed not only through the dominant technological systems and machinic vocabularies traceable to the West but also relate to heterodox ancestries. In challenging the structural divisions imposed upon corporeal, technological, and spiritual intelligence, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning will delve into a broad set of cosmologies, activating planetary life-systems, queer technologies, and modes of communal survival.
In Gwangju, a city that has long been acutely familiar with resistance building and communal trauma, it is the Biennale’s intent to bring mind-expanding practices together with historically conscious propositions. The 40th anniversary of the May 18th Democratic Uprising and people’s movement in Gwangju provides an impetus to metabolize journeys through the threshold between life and death—the middle world of the undead—to extend analyses of current strategies of solidarity building and global alliances, and to strive for a deeper understanding of the intrinsic relationship between healing, dissent, and renewal.