Galerie Ora-Ora is delighted to kick start the year of 2019 with Anticipation, a dynamic group exhibition that shares the passion of artists who explore, express or investigate the identity of people in contemporary society. This exhibition plans to join the social awareness related to the current most prominent issues on personal, social, and cultural identity like gender, culture and heritage, expressed with empowerment in the form of art. We hope that by anticipating the spirit of openness, the love of art itself, that this exhibition will draw attention to these issues and influence future decisions individuals make.
Almost forty years ago in New York City marked the first official Gay Pride march, the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward LGBT people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights and increase their visibility and recognition as a social group and community. Thirty years ago, the Guerrilla Girls distributed their poster The Advantages of Being a Female Artist, which listed the following ironic “advantages” for women in the arts: “Working without the pressure of success. Never being in shows with men. Being reassured that whatever kind of art you make it will be labeled feminine.” Art itself has always been central to what has now become one of the most pervasive, all-consuming debates of our times.
In the age of social identity politics world-wide shifting from inclusion to division, from the recent scandal of fashion brand Dolce & Gabanna in China, to the Hollywood #MeToo movement, the need to dismantle discrimination barriers continue to dominate the headlines. The role of an artist and of a gallery is not to enjoy the splendid isolation outside of this mainstream conversation, but to channel, amplify and dissect the issues that drive it. Artists themselves, both male and female, will respond to the debate in their own way. As art synthesizes and distils the news cacophony into its essential note, the result, we believe, will be a message of unity rather than division.
Both Hong Kong based artist Chilai Howard and Beijing based artist Jiang Ji’an prospect for the sense of self-identity and soul-searching through their artworks. Chilai Howard explores speculative affairs using moving images and mixed-media installation, while Jiang applies his concept of “everyday art” to recreate the value of personal objects.
Due to events related to restriction and freedom that occurred in China on April 3, 2010, Peng Wei began to draw wristwatches, one per day, to record and commemorate her thoughts and feelings. 81 watches were drawn in the end, forming a personal yet very relatable artwork “That Time and That Place”.
Finally, to juxtapose the creative and mixed-media works are two delicate paintings by Xu Hualing who, through her delicate brush strokes, share her own journey of self-manifestation to search for inspiration for life and self-existence.
Anticipation asserts the potential of the art world to create a forum which is, as far as possible, embraces identities as they are self-proclaimed or regarded. At Ora-Ora, we like to imagine a stage where an artist's identity is not a defining consideration for judgment, but rather, the art itself, its message (or its silence), its power (or its fragility), is the only mechanism for moving forward. When this point is achieved, true openness and communication in form of the arts will be. Who knows how such freedom would further stimulate and empower all artists?
Just as we believe in our globality, we also believe in our shared humanity. Now is the vital time to celebrate and reaffirm the passion and dynamism of artists, when the art alone speaks, and everyone’s rightful place has been secured in the pantheon of artists. Through the power of celebration, we hope we are contributing towards creating a world of true equal opportunity for all individuals.