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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Alicia Delarge

The reciproCITY​ project proposal was developed in response to a brief from Artangel. We sought to expose the effects of "intentional" displacement caused by the lack of social housing in London and create awareness around the need for meaningful placement for those affected. 

According to an independent study by the London Tenants Organisation, London has had over 22,000 social housing buildings knocked down over the past ten years. As a result, affordable housing has become scarce. Instead of restoring, the city has been focused on demolishing.

We have chosen to ground our public display in the notion of “home,” concentrating on the themes of displacement, migration, multi-generational households, gentrification, upheaval, etc. We do this by presenting a domestic environment in which each object represents something that could possibly exist in a multi-generational home. The objects in the room and the art on the walls symbolize themes that have generated the reciproCITY project. We are inviting the viewer to use this room as a reference point to experience the realities that exist around the housing crisis.

In our public display, we present work by two commissioned poets, Phoenix Yemi, and Miracle Nwaizu, alongside Giles Watkins. On the screen in our display, we will show short films from Do Ho Suh and Jermaine Francis. We have also programmed a panel discussion with photographer Jermaine Francis, artist Harold Offeh, and social housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa, to join us in discussing the lack of affordable housing in London from various perspectives. We will end our live display with a film screening of Ayo Akingbade’s Jitterbug (2022).

Curated by: Byunghun Jun Chae, Alicia DeLarge, Xinran Fang, Jarelle Francis, Franziska Hanke, Luyan Li and Fetine Sel Tuzel.

Alicia DeLarge, Curator & Production Designer, The Modern Republic, Philadelphia, PA, May 2022
Photographer: Dvvinci

Alicia DeLarge is a Philadelphia, PA-born, London-based Production Designer and Curator with a mission to serve her community by curating immersive and engaging experiences in order to share and elevate necessary Black narratives through the art of physical storytelling.

During her time of study at the Royal College of Art, she has adopted the belief that position and placement are extremely important within the curatorial process and play a huge role in how a work is interpreted or received. Placement and position dictate rank and should be carefully considered when installing portraiture of underrepresented. In the case of Dido Belle of the Kenwood House, she was a lady of the house, daughter of Sir John Lindsay, and the niece of Lord Mansfield, yet she was still not important enough to be “placed” in the galleries of family portraits. She was placed in the corner of the housekeeper's quarters in the Kenwood House, which is extremely unacceptable and offensive to Dido Belle and to any Black woman experiencing the space.

Her goal is to further the discourse around why it’s important to cultivate an innovative community-led curatorial model or workshop to train and consult institutional staff and curatorial teams on how to carefully curate the narratives of the underrepresented in institutions. In order to create an appropriate community-led curatorial model that can serve the breadth of the African diaspora that exists in the UK, one must also address and explore the mode and manner in which these stories are curated.

Inspired by the notions presented in Reshaping the Field: Arts of the African Diaspora Display, organized, edited, and introduced by Nana Adusei- Boku, along with the fact that Black History is presented in a very US Centric manner in the educational system in the UK, does this US Centric nature carry over into curatorial practice? Are the stories of Black British historical figures also being curated in a US-centric way? Not pertaining to the subject matter but in reference to manner, mode, or style?

Alicia DeLarge believes the answers to these questions can be uncovered through engaging with Black British Curators in the UK in order to uncover and identify the characteristics of a non-US Centric curatorial model. The creation of this model may allow even more positive agency over the manner in which the legacies & stories of Black British historical figures are being handled, placed, and positioned in institutions.

She has been trusted to design narratives for brands such as Google, Facebook, and McDonald's; and networks such as HBO, Lifetime, and Netflix. Prior to attending the Royal College of Art, Alicia DeLarge attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and obtained a BFA in Film Design and Production.