Master Project

Leilani Lynch & Maria Mumtaz

Margins Revisited: Locating Spaces of Radical Openness and Communities of Resistance within Contemporary Art

Quynh Dong, Photo Studio (2008), Photo series with Huyen and Thuy Dung, matte photo
paper Ilford multigrade, analog enlargements in black and white. 51.2 x 50.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

The core of our research interest lies in knowledge production and artistic activity that emerge from politically decentralized positions. Though these positions may connote subordination and powerlessness, alternative sites can constitute new and valuable perspectives within the field of art and beyond. Drawing from prior year’s research on fluid yet potent categories of alternativity, in-betweenness and para-sites, we decided to merge our trajectories and perform our MAS research collectively. Our study of these hybrid sites as tactical positions for asserting counter-hegemonic narratives continues with an exploration of how the margin can embody another alternative space of articulation. In today’s interconnected, networked, yet politically fragmented world, how are these spaces of solidarity and resistance formed and sustained? This research aims to explore how artists and cultural practitioners have used literary and exhibitionary strategies to assert counter-narratives and ‘othered’ identities within the globalized art world.

Leilani Lynch is Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Her curatorial practice champions experimentation and critical engagement with the most urgent ideas circulating today. Working collaboratively with artists, her exhibitions and programs analyze the human experience and are inclusive of diverse and wide-ranging audiences. Her recently organized exhibitions include Breakthroughs: A Celebration of Redline at 15 and Anna Tsouhlarakis: Indigenous Absurdities. Prior to joining MCA Denver, Leilani most recently served as Curator at The Bass, Miami Beach. There she curated numerous solo and group exhibitions with artists including Jamilah Sabur, Cara Despain, Naama Tsabar, Mika Rottenberg, Karen Rifas, and Aaron Curry, in addition to co-organizing exhibitions with Adrián Villar Rojas, Haegue Yang, Pascale Marthine Tayou, and Paola Pivi, among others. Lynch has participated on panels and lectures for STPI – Creative Workshop, Singapore, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ArtTable, and ICOM, and served on juries for Artadia, the Association of Art Museum Curators, Oolite Arts, FL, The Hopper Prize, and others. She holds a BA in Art History from University of California, Berkeley and an MAS in Curating from Zurich University of the Arts.

Maria Mumtaz is a curator and cultural strategist based in the UAE with a keen interest in knowledge production and artistic activity that emerge from decentralised positions. She currently works in the Learning and Research Department at Sharjah Art Foundation, a contemporary art and cultural foundation based in Sharjah since 2009. Prior to this, she was part of the core team of Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth. She has also served as Director of Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, which represents a significant and pluralistic roster of artists from the MENASA region. Mumtaz started her career as Editorial Assistant at Canvas magazine, the region’s premier magazine on art and culture from the Middle East and Arab world, where she wrote several in-depth articles for magazines, newspapers and books. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from SZABIST, Karachi and an MAS in Curating from Zurich University of the Arts.