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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Blair Haijia Luo


Evolving from Chisenhale Gallery’s brief and our initial proposal to broaden notions of motherhood, our project delves into the dynamics of unconventional kinship in contemporary society. Titled Un/tied, our project strives to communicate the multitude of forms of kinship that extend beyond traditional biological frameworks. In Un/tied, we aim to reflect upon and recognise interweaving and diverse forms of kinship that are not necessarily limited to hereditary ties. Our approach involves a collective search for new possibilities and emergent structures.

Designed as an intimate reading room, complete with a curated library, the display is crafted to foster dialogue and interrogate how contemporary kinship is imagined, created and sustained. The library showcases relevant works that analyse concepts of kinship and study its manifestation in material, human and non-human, and temporal contexts. These texts are presented alongside portraits and films, which consider alternative and queer forms of kinship. Sculptures by artist Clementine Edwards invite viewers to think about material kinship beyond the nuclear family.

Our programmed live element focuses specifically upon kinship within the trans community. Featuring artist Donna Marcus Duke with collaborators Biogal, Amani and Jetsün Shenkyong-ma, the event incorporates elements of lecturing and cabaret. Radical, political, and spiritual expressions of trans kinship are explored through a series of readings and performances. The event aims to nurture a sense of community while simultaneously challenging established norms and navigating societal challenges and prejudices.

Image credits: Me and My Dad Will Build a Whole Kingdom of Stuff I Find on This Playground by Tomorrow Morning (detail) Clementine Edwards, 2023. Photo: Simon Vogel

Individual photo

Blair Haijia Luo is an independent curator based in London, United Kingdom, and Chengdu, China. Her curatorial focus lies in curatorial studies within the realm of social dynamics. Blair's curatorial approach delves into the complexities of contemporary art and its intersection with diverse communities and cultural contexts. She is particularly interested in how art exhibitions can serve as platforms for dialogue, engagement, and critical reflection on pressing social issues.

In her dissertation, she explored cross-cultural diasporic experiences and the dynamics of displacement and dislocation. By encompassing an interdisciplinary approach and incorporating sound art, oral history, and language as elements in shaping and contextualizing exhibitions. Her curatorial endeavours challenge traditional boundaries, embracing fluidity and encouraging a multidimensional exploration of agency and belonging.

The group graduate project Blair co-curated, "Un/tied”, explores unconventional kinship in contemporary society, delving into the formation of kinship beyond biological ties, particularly within the queer community and material context.

Blair studied Social Science (BSc) at University College London, and she is the co-founder of TRA Collective.