For the last few years, curator Cairo Clarke has been supporting and investing in the London art community, as well as helping those within it navigate its blindspots. While her work practice – from writing to curation – has always been interconnected, now she is giving it a place to physically be together.
Launching tonight, SITE is an annual curatorial experiment and publication which aims to disrupt the discourse of how we as an audience receive, but also how artists create and present, art. “The publication is something between an artist’s edition and archival resource,” says Clarke, SITE’s founder and curator. “Navigating the arts is really hard, we often have to take on multiple jobs in order for us to somehow also maintain our creative practices which make a sustainable practice very difficult. It’s difficult to access space whereby you don’t have to negotiate some part of yourself or your practice to fit inside a box/institution/gallery space/social media. In light of this, I started to think about spaces I could access on my own terms.”
“I wanted to explore curatorial ways in which I could maintain my practice whilst negotiating issues related to income, accessibility, class, race, gender” – Cairo Clarke
The publication launches at London’s Mimosa House tonight and will include a reading from Wilson Oryema, sound pieces from Sadé Mica, Phoebe Collings-James, and Suzannah Pettigrew, digital interventions by Tamar Clarke-Brown, performances from Harriet Middleton Baker and Nina Wakeford, and a chance to preview and buy SITE – of which there is only 100. The launch space collaborates with Modular by Mensah, whose latest collection is all about encouraging and reimagining “intimacy and connection in the digital age”.
She explains: “Each of the artists I have either worked with or built a relationship with over the past few years in my curatorial practice in different capacities. I wanted to explore curatorial ways in which I could maintain my practice whilst negotiating issues related to income, accessibility, class, race, gender.”
According to Clarke, this launch is more of an entry point into a larger picture of “supporting artists with socio-political and ephemeral practices in commissions, performances, printed projects”. Ultimately, the main focus of SITE is to “create systems of support and artist production that are sustainable, transparent, and generate opportunities for young people and communities to access arts and skill-sharing”.
SITE’s launch will be followed by a screening afternoon/show-and-tell on Saturday 7 September with work from Rhea Dillon, Zenane Mketeni, Hannah Perry, Sadé Mica, and Erica Eyres.