Circumventing Inclusion

ArtsEverywhere published an essay by Yaniya Lee this week entitled “Tactics and strategies of racialized artists: some notes on how to circumvent the art world’s terms of inclusion.” Working as an editor on the piece, I had the privilege of thinking alongside Lee as she enumerated a few of the strategies that she and her peers use to jam a cultural machine that oftentimes only wants the perspectives and practices of BIPOC artists/writers/cultural workers to the extent that they can represent diversity.  She asks, “What if all of the inclusive and diverse exhibitions that have been curated, all of the critical essays that have been written, and all of the self-congratulatory diversity panels and talks that have been hosted ultimately had no effect whatsoever on the structural make-up of cultural institutions in Canada?” And then she answers back with a toolbox of tactics that tend to the self-determination of BIPOC artists while simultaneously destabilizing structures that operate under false pretences of neutrality. Instead of inclusion within these same old systems, Lee proposes to dismantle their ideological foundations through processes of complication, care and refusal, serving the rise of something else in the wake. Something otherwise.



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