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To Enter The Sky

Curated by Sean Anderson (Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director at Cornell University’s Department of Architecture)

Weather, when visualized, relies on the interaction of multiple forces enacting potential acts of benefit as well as destruction. Sometimes predictable, and even mapped, more often, spaces inherit weather in unpredictable patterns that suggest tumult, a conjuring or a question, in defiance of the unknown. For example, airplane pilots depend on degrees of turbulence to achieve lift, to enter the sky. Likewise, for architects and builders, turbulence presents a manifold of acts for the body and the landscape to confront, with which to bend and flex, and from which one may achieve improbable balance. 

With sea level rise and the increased intensity of unprecedented weather systems, the world has witnessed recent devastating floods in Northern Pakistan and Bangladesh, the ongoing strengthening of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, and the anticipated disappearance of Maldivian atolls as well as those throughout the South Pacific. The invention of land for real estate development adjacent to the oceans and seas simultaneously destroys sensitive ecosystems while displacing vulnerable human and non-human settlements. A perpetuation of cataclysmic events tear at the definitions of geography, of fixed temporalities, for an architecture and urbanism subject to extremes continually redefined on the ground, in the water and the air.

Recent years have also shown us that a global pandemic can challenge nearly every aspect of humanity and expressions of collectivity. Refugees and asylum seekers traverse the planet while confronting the fixity of imposed boundaries. Architecture can be reimagined to consider how and with whom we seek common grounds among spaces of repair, comfort and joy. With livelihoods unfolding over screens large and small, and those landless and nationless continue to seek refuge, the built environment presents itself as a backdrop, stage and as an agent for change. 

We all share one sky. 

Drawings by children situate both the vulnerability and strength of future selves who, in a spirited display of potential, of beauty, of imagined spaces and buildings, can also aspire to elevate and share possible futures. Just as we navigate the unknown, architecture must activate new encounters with economies of materiality, ecology, community, sovereignty, and citizenship. 

How do we design and build for the inevitability of conflicts, past and future? How does architecture establish belonging in landscapes of devastation and transit? This exhibition responds to those insecure conditions that allow architects, artists and designers to engage with the dimensioning of turbulence as a catalyst for addressing how we encounter each other. 

To Enter the Sky brings together examples of architectures and artworks of resilience, of trust, while not discounting fear, entropy, and destruction. The exhibition centers Bangladesh as part of a broader reckoning of what it means to be human in and of the built environment today. We know that various turbulences will persist. Architecture need not be resistant. Rather, the exhibition asserts how a spatial medium, with its multitudes of hope and chance, can begin to disseminate radical stories of becoming to help us understand our own fragile inheritances as individuals, communities, nations.


Sumayya Vally 

Ceramic vessels activated by performance

Performance 7pm daily

Commissioned by Samdani Art FoundationCo-curated by Diana Campbell and Sean Anderson as an overlay of “To Enter the Sky” and “Bonna” 

Pavilion and performance conceptualisation by Sumayya Vally Sound in collaboration with Shoummo SahaChoreography in collaboration with Arpita Singha Lopa

oletha imvula uletha ukuphila Translation: “They who brings rain, brings life” IsiZulu proverb

Wielding the comings of rain is a tradition practiced by cultures across geographies. To possess the power to command rainfall is by inference possessing the power to dictate the flow of the natural cycle and climatic conditions. Across Southern Africa, rain-making rituals are directed towards royal ancestors because they were believed to have control over rain and other natural phenomena. One of these rare and powerful individuals is the Moroka of the Pedi tribe in South Africa: the traditional rain-making doctor. Here, a series of fired and unfired clay vessels are assembled as a temporal space to hold gatherings. Over the course of DAS, a series of performances which draw on the traditions of rain-making and harvest are performed in the space where the hands that formed the pots also work to un-form them. The rituals include the use of water, which allows the un-fired pots to dissolve over time, revealing areas and niches of gathering contained by the pots, as well as rhythmic drumming that evokes the sound of thunder at the end of each day.

Vally’s design, research and pedagogical practice is searching for expression for hybrid identities and territory, particularly for African and Islamic conditions. Her design process is often forensic, and draws on the aural, the performative and the overlooked as generative places of history and work.

b. 1990, Pretoria; lives and works in London


Agnieszka Kurant

Risk Management

Commissioned for the New York Times



Fossilized automotive paint, epoxy resin, powdered stone, steel



Digital NFT and physical sculpture

Various pulverized objects, powdered granite stone, resin


How can we redefine methods for understanding and responding to precarity at multiple scales throughout the world today? Materials extracted from the ground are but one illustration of how natural resources are continually pillaged in order to support unsustainable population growth and unfair labor practices, which is coupled with environmental devastation. The works in this exhibition speculate about the consequences of economies in parallel with digital capitalism, in which entire societies have become distributed factories of data production and exploitation, where everyone is a worker producing digital and carbon footprints. 

Risk Management presents a geographical map of a history of outbreaks of social contagions based on fictions spanning the last thousand years. The work draws on the inability of risk-prediction models to consider irrational human behavior and other largely impactful social phenomena.

Post-Fordite takes up a recently discovered hybrid, quasi-geological formation created as a natural-artificial byproduct, through fossilization of thousands of layers of automotive paint accumulated and congealed on production lines at automobile factories since the opening of the Henry Ford Motor Company manufacturing plants in the early 20th century. Recently, these fossilized-paint configurations , named Fordite or Detroit Agate, by the former workers of now defunct factories, began circulating online and accruing value. Since Fordite can be cut and polished, it is often used like precious stones to produce jewelry. Post-Fordite embodies more than 100 years of amalgamated human labor and the collective footprints of workers, past and present, translated into geology.

Sentimentite is a speculative mineral-currency investigating the relationship between digital capitalism and geology in which a future mineral could become more precious than gold and become a currency. Kurant collaborated with computational social scientists who used Artificial Intelligence sentiment-analysis algorithms to harvest data from hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Reddit posts related to recent historic seismic events, including the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Brexit, the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, the pandemic global lockdown, and Bitcoin’s meteoric rise. These aggregated emotions of millions of people shaped the forms of 100 sculptures, which were cast in a new mineral created by pulverizing 60 objects used as official and informal currencies throughout the history of humanity: shells, Rai stones, whale teeth, corn, Tide detergent, electronic waste, soap, beads, mirrors, batteries, playing cards, phone cards, stamps, tea, and cocoa pods.

Invested in exploring how “economies of the invisible” bolster fictions about humanity’s survival in the face of such destructive socio-political and economic processes, Agnieszka Kurant’s sculptural and mapping works speculate on how value is translated and can transgress conventional definitions. Her work challenges how objects today are mutated through their global circulation and production while also questioning modernist conceptions of aura, authorship, production, and hybridity. Many of her works emulate nature and behave like living organisms and self-organized complex systems.

b.1978 Łódź; lives and works in New York

Aziza Chaouni Projects

Rehabilitation of Modern Public Buildings in Africa

Sidi Harazem, Morocco

Old Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone (1827)

CICES, Dakar, Senegal (1974)

Throughout the world today, modern architecture, especially those examples in rapidly developing areas of the Global South, remains at risk of demolition due to economic, political, and societal forces that consider its buildings not worthy of preservation.  Modern buildings are  often judged unattractive, too far removed from “traditional” architecture and building types while overlaid with memories of a traumatic  colonial past. How do contemporary architects reimagine the ways in which modernism is understood today? How can spaces imbued with societal traumas be rewritten with the goal of transforming their value to communities and publics? These three rehabilitation projects are actively engaging with and responding to the design of community-centered spaces that are envisaged as cooperative, reparative and responsive for all that participate in their making.

In Morocco, Sierra Leone and Senegal, like in other areas subject to the simultaneity of post-colonial transition meeting neoliberal economic drivers, buildings and landscapes are continually being questioned as productive zones for living today. Designed between 1959 and 1975 by prominent Moroccan architect of Corsican origin, Jean-François Zevaco, the Sidi Harazem Thermal Bath Complex, located near the city of Fez, is the first example of public post-independence leisure architecture designed for Moroccan inhabitants. Unfortunately, villagers whose ancestors had lived on the same land for generations were forcibly moved several miles away to accommodate the new tourist destination.Deploying a long-term phased masterplan that accounted for the memory of these historical events while also attending to environmental sensitivities with the use of water in a drought-prone area of the country, the Complex moves beyond the rehabilitation of the buildings themselves to adaptively reuse the spaces for the local population. 

Since 1827, Old Fourah Bay College was a laboratory and educational setting in which western ideas of governance, political organization and public service were shared as experiments with populations across Sierra Leone and West Africa. The onset of conflict throughout the 1990s radically altered this building and it was occupied by displaced families fleeing a brutal ground war. Working with local school and university groups to rethink what a “dream school” might look like, new methods of design centered in active conversations and designed interactive spatial exercises have established new shared narratives from which the College can once again return to being a space of civic and educational learning.

Designed by the architects, Jean-François Lamoureux and Jean-Louis Marin, the CICES was commissioned by the first president of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor, who sought a universal African architectural language, shed from Western referents. The CICES complex uses Modernist principles in its circulation and layout, and simultaneously embraces Senghor’s ‘asymmetric parallelism’ theory, that he defines as "a diversified repetition of rhythm in time and space,” which allows for unique spatial experiences. Working with local stakeholders to reconsider what a “masterplan” for such an iconic complex affected by environmental and economic issues will be, ensures its continued use as a productive site for international exchange and commerce into the future.

Aziza Chaouni was born and raised in Fez, Morocco and is trained both as a structural engineer and as an architect. Through the integration of users and stakeholders across the design process, Chaouni’s office, Aziza Chaouni Projects, offers alternative processes for imagining and designing empathetic spaces that move past staid aesthetics to articulate human and material-centered approaches to sensitive areas throughout North and West Africa. 

b.1977 Fez; lives and works in Fez and Toronto

Coral Mosques of Maldives

Mauroof Jameel and Hamsha Hussain

Among the Maldivian atolls and islands, there are at least 26 documented mosques and compounds that have been constructed using coral stone. Assembled from porite coral stone (hirigaa) hewn from the reefs and integrated with interior structures fashioned from timber and crafted by lacquer work, itself a unique Maldivian artform, these buildings represent an architecture of resilience found nowhere else on the planet. Akin to other monumental structures found in India and Southeast Asia, the mosques coalesce building, material and artistic practices that point to the transit of ideas and typologies. While historical uses of coral in building construction have been discovered among the Mayan communities of Central America between 900-1500 BCE and among the coastal communities of the Red Sea between 146-323 BCE, among the Maldives, the coral used is both unique to the islands while the building conveys spatial and spiritual resonances found across the Indian Ocean and its sub-continent. These buildings illustrate how the use of localized materials at any scale can maintain long standing spaces for communities. The continued use of the coral mosques today is emblematic of a nation’s peoples and their unwavering faith in the face of environmental calamity.

The images of six primary coral mosque compounds included in this exhibition are in use across the islands today and were nominated for UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2013. Each example embodies architectural forms that are both specific to their island location while also expressing discrete art practices including exterior coral carving, calligraphy, and lacquer work that speak to the movement of Islamic artistic practices across the ocean. With carpentry techniques in the mosques no longer extant and coral mining forbidden for environmental sensitivities, these buildings are recognized for their integration of construction techniques and artforms that speak to the Indian Ocean realm as a space for visual, material, and spatial exchange.

Ihavandhoo Old Friday Mosque

Miskiy Magu, Ihavandhoo, Haa Alifu Atoll6º 57' 17.33" N and 72º 55' 38.33" EIhavandhoo Old Friday Mosque was completed in 16 December 1701 CE (15 Rajab 1113 A. H.) during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Muzhiruddin (1701-1705). 

Meedhoo Old Friday Mosque

Hiyfaseyha Magu, Meedhoo, Raa Atoll5º 27' 27.80" N, 72º 57' 16.41"EAccording to local oral history, the mosque was probably built during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Mohamed Imaduddin around 1705. It is the only surviving coral stone mosque with Indian clay roofing tiles. 

Malé Friday Mosque

Medhuziyaaraiy Magu, Henveiru, Malé, Kaafu Atoll4º 10' 40.77" N, 73º 30' 44.57" EMalé Old Friday Mosque and its compound comprise one of the most important heritage sites in the country. It is also the biggest and one of the finest coral stone buildings in the world. The present mosque was built in 1658 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar I, replacing the original mosque built in 1153 by the first Muslim sultan of the Maldives. 

Fenfushi Old Friday Mosque

Hiriga Goalhi, Fenfushi, Alifu Dhaalu Atoll3°45′15″N 72°58′35″EFenfushi Friday Mosque was built during the reign of Sultan Mohamed of Dhevvadhu (1692-1701) on the site of an earlier mosque. It is a well-preserved compound with a unique coral stone bathing tank, coral stone wells, a sundial, and a large cemetery with grave markers of fine quality. 

Isdhoo Old Mosque

Isdhoo, Laamu Atoll2° 7′ 10″ N, 73° 34′ 10″ EIsdhoo Old Mosque was built prior to a renovation in 1701 during the reign of Sultan Mohamed of Dhevvadhoo (1692-1701). This is the mosque where the 12th century royal copper chronicles 'Isdhoo Loamaafaanu' was kept in a special chamber. The mosque is built on a pre-Islamic site and analysis of the architectural details of the mosque indicates that the stonework could be even older. 

Hulhumeedhoo Fandiyaaru Mosque

Koagannu, Hulhumeedhoo, Addu City0º 34' 51.6" S and 73º 13' 42" EHulhumeedhoo Fandiyaaru Mosque located in the Koagannu area in the island of Hulhumeedhoo (Addu City) was probably built around 1586 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim III. The Koagannu area is the largest and the oldest cemetery in the Maldives with more than 500 coral grave markers, a sheltered mausoleum and 15 open mausoleums. It had six small mosques but now four small mosques remain. They are Koagannu Miskiy c.1397, Boadhaa Miskiy c.1403, Athara Miskiy c.1417 and Fandiyaru Miskiy c.1586.

Felecia Davis and Delia Dumitrescu

Computational textiles are textiles that are responsive to cues found in the environment using sensors and microcontrollers for the making of a textile that uses shape-shifting properties of the material itself to communicate information to people. In architecture, these responsive textiles are transforming how we communicate, socialize, and use space. For instance, they can be used in making temporary and more permanent manifestations  of shelter in conflict and environmentally devastated areas. Davis, a trained engineer and architect, with Dumitrescu, a textile designer, asked with this project, ‘How can we design lightweight textiles for use in architecture that can translate responses to their environment? Further, how might we make textiles that dilate if the temperature surrounding the textile becomes hot, or if one wants more transparency in that textile to see the view?’ With her experimental lab, SOFTLAB@PSU, Davis creates responsive textiles that defy conventional structural and representational modes for the material itself and its applications. At the Smart Textiles Lab in Sweden, Dumitrescu has been developing responsive artistic effects in textile design that reshape an understanding of textile as a material that operates at different scales. In this project they consider ‘how’ and ‘what’ textiles can be ‘when’—much like individuals and communities.

The first typology of material developed for this work was pixelated, designed with yarn that melts at high temperature; accordingly, the fabric opens or breaks when it receives current. Openings allowed the designers to ‘write’ upon the fabric making apertures, collecting foreground and background through the qualities of the material.  The second material has been designed with yarn that shrinks or closes into solid lines in the fabric when it receives current.  Shrinking is activated by the material while also revealing more opaque patterning in the textile closing parts of that textile off, transforming the material and the quality of space framed by that material. 

Davis’ work bio responsive textiles questions how we live while she re-imagines how we might use textiles in our daily lives and in architecture. Davis and her lab are interested in developing computational methods and design in relation to bodies in locations that simultaneously engage specific social, cultural and political constructions. Her collaborative lab is dedicated to developing soft computational materials and textiles alongside industry and community partners to establish a culture of hands-on making and thinking through computational materials not only as a future but also as a holistic approach to living within uncertain circumstances.

Central to Dumitrescu’s research is the topic of material and textile design, focusing on new materials expanding from computational textiles to biodesign and biofabrication. Through the notion of textile design thinking, her research expands the textile methodology; it includes systematic work with: colour, materials, texture, structure, pattern, and function to explore and propose new design futures for sustainable living from material to spatial design.

b. United States and Romania; Lives and works in State College, Pennsylvania and Borås

Marshall Islands Navigation Charts

Beijok Kaious

The Marshall Islands in eastern Micronesia of the Southern Pacific Ocean consists of thirty-four coral atolls composed of more than one thousand islands and islets spread out across an area of several hundred miles. The islanders have mastered an ability to navigate between and among the almost-invisible islands—since the land masses are all so low that none can be seen except from a short distance away. In addition to closely observing wave and swell patterns, the Marshallese used the celestial constellations to navigate the ocean. They also determined the locations of the islands by observing the flight of the birds that nested on them. Song was also used to estimate the distance that the navigators traveled. Navigation is a form of storytelling and placemaking.

For thousands of years Marshall Islanders used complex navigation techniques with charts made from coconut midribs and seashells. There are three kinds of Marshall Island “stick charts”: the Mattang, the Rebbelib, and the Meddo. The mattang was specifically designed to train individuals in the art of navigation while the Rebbelib covered a large section or the entirety of the islands. The charts consisted of curved and straight sticks. The curved sticks represented ocean swells and the straight sticks represented the currents and waves around the islands. The seashells represented the locations of the islands.  Marshallese navigators memorized the charts and did not take them with them on their canoes. Each chart was unique and could only be interpreted by the person who made it. Today, different configurations of the charts are still being produced across the islands and used by young navigators learning to “read” the ocean. Beyond maps, the charts are thus built stories that speak to the past, present and future simultaneously. 

The examples of charts (meddo) presented in the exhibition, while made as souvenirs on the island of Majuro by Beijok Kaious and facilitated by others, still speak to the continuities and difficulties of navigating across oceans and territories that are rapidly disappearing with the onset of global climate crises.

Olalekan Jeyifous

How can one envision and design potential? Rather than observing historically overlooked areas of cities such as Crown Heights, Brooklyn or within megacities such as Lagos, Nigeria as impoverished, exclusionary, and open to demolition, as is commonly depicted for underserved areas throughout the world, Jeyifous’s immersive images and spaces speak to the potential for questioning present conditions and future possibilities. Many of the spaces in such locations are also subject to the extremes brought about by environmental instability. Such alternative futuristic visions are simultaneously based in real spaces and conditions while also shifting the gaze of top-down “development” efforts in the same cities that gentrify, displace and erase. These works recenter individuals and collectives as plural complex communities understood as fundamental contributors to the forging of the built environment. The politics of architecture is presented as an extension of how people build themselves as much as their communities. Recognizing that architecture can be built and imagined by these communities, buildings and infrastructures are configured not in opposition to each other but appended to and effectively built among existing real estate projects, socially-constructed spaces and historical monuments. 

Trained as an architect, and now working at the intersection of art, spatial practices, and public art, Nigerian-born Olalekan Jeyifous explores how the conventions of immersive digital renderings, collages and videos open spaces for critique and revelation of the contemporary built environment.

b.1977 Lagos; lives and works in New York

Rizvi Hassan 


Minhajul Abedin, Khwaja Fatmi, Prokolpo Shonapahar, Rohingya Artisans: Kamrunnesa & Jaber, Khairul Amin, Aminullah, Hosna Akhter & Shofiq, Nurul Islam, Shahabuddin, Imam Hossain, Ali Johor, Faruk, Artisans from Sylhet & Shonapahar: Rehana Akhter, Khatun begum, Rita akther, Nikhil

Architecture, for Rizvi Hassan, has the capacity “to connect life, to strengthen mental health, to enhance culture, to mitigate conflicts, to enrich the ground, or just to ensure the basic but very important needs to have a better quality of life.” Among the sustainable structures constructed in the world’s largest refugee camps housing Rohingya refugees in and around Cox’s Bazar, Hassan approached these community-centered designs that amplify quality of life for both non-human and human beings. Each of the buildings is responsive to regional climate and environmental precarities, including cyclones, while also establishing safe spaces for vulnerable women and children. 

Collaborating with members of these communities  as well as those building the structures often without the aid of technical drawings, Hassan deploys tools and processes that may be considered antithetical to conventional Western-based architecture practices. His work is as much a facilitator as a designer. Rather, utilizing regenerative materials such as bamboo and thatch, but also overlooked products including mattresses for insulation, Hassan’s buildings emphasize how the use of non-extractive materials alongside minimal industrial intervention encourages sympathetic design processes, dynamic interior spaces, and much-needed shelter and respite for countless individuals.

Rizvi Hassan and his collaborators established their practice to work in precarious zones including camps as well as flood-prone districts in Bangladesh. He has stated that “the nation didn’t prepare me to be just an architect, but to be an educated person who can contribute to society. For that, it is important even just to be present, in places where people will need us.” His work reimagines buildings and spaces that empower all community stakeholders while also creating inclusive spaces for the perpetuation of beauty, belonging and survival.

b. 1993 Dhaka; Office based in Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar

Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC)

Camp Life, 2022-2023

Hand-embroidered tapestry with stories of Rohingya refugee camp in BD.

Participating Artisans: Yasmin, Shobika, Shomima, Roshida

Facilitator: Sadya Mizan, Khurshida

Permanent collection of RCMC

Future Life, 2022-2023

Hand-embroidered tapestry with dream of future life of Rohingya refugee’s in BD

Participating Artisans: Yasmin, Shobika, Showmima, Fatema, Ajida, Hosne Ara, Setara, Shamsunahar, Rokeya

Facilitator: Rowson Akter, Asma

Permanent collection of RCMC

British physician and geographer, Dr. Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, published an article in 1799 that states, “the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, call themselves ‘Rooinga’, or natives of Arakan… the other are Rakhing … who adhere to the tenets of Buddha.” This early description not only establishes that there was an indigenous Muslim minority in the Arakan province of present-day Myanmar with the name Rohingya, but it further distinguishes them from the majority Rakhine Buddhist population. In 1982, the Burmese government enacted the 1982 Citizenship Law with a document that identifies 135 ethnic groups, which the government asserts had settled in Burma prior to 1823. The Rohingya, however, are not included as one of them. Subsequent decades of displacement and discriminatory policies incited by military coups and political brinkmanship has led to more than a million Rohingya refugees settling across numerous camps in Cox’s Bazar. Underlying their mass exodus into a country and spaces that are not their own, is the risk of negative psychosocial impacts stemming from, among other factors, a loss of cultural identity.

Rohingya people have many stories, knowledge and wisdom that are rooted in mutual cooperation and care. “There is a dominant narrative that the Rohingya are poor and simple village people who don’t really have art or a developed material culture, and we want to show the world that this is not true,” describes Shahirah Majumdar. In 2022, the estab   lishment of the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC) in Camp 18 was designed in tandem with extensive community participation and led by architect Rizvi Hassan. The RCMC is a Rohingya-led institution that collects, preserves, and disseminates the importance that knowledge narratives create goodwill among displaced communities. Even in the most unsettled conditions, cultural practice expressed through art is a significant mode through which generations of displaced communities can maintain their identity.

The RCMC encourages empowerment across gender and social lines. Embroidery workshops provide an essential outlet for women artists, who gather to share personal experiences that are subsequently then stitched into tapestries. These are stories of being and becoming that further confer Rohingya histories into tangible forms. Women are trained by Bangladeshi artists who have helped them expand their artistic repertoire beyond traditional floral and faunal motifs, to even include human depictions. The embroidered tapestries presented here are powerful evocations that move past fear, anguish, and insecurity to illustrate stories of building that cannot be erased or forgotten.

Storia Na Lugar / [un]Grounding NarrativesPatti Anahory and César Schofield Cardoso

Among the islands that comprise the nation of Cabo Verde in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, increasing territorial segregation, socioeconomic disparities, a general lack of quality of the built environment, are all present despite development indices for the country indicating one of the best performances in Africa. Ongoing phenomena including the rapid and asymmetrical growth of cities, large investments in mass tourism, the lack of alternatives of materials and construction techniques, are having an irreversible effect on people’s lives throughout the world. Coupled with an increasing desire to build tourist resorts on already environmentally sensitive areas of the archipelago, this video work explores how both sea and sky are becoming compromised in the pursuit of unsustainable, destructive economies. Given this, [un]Grounding Narratives focuses on communities facing exclusion, insecurity, or marginalization, while engaged with various forms of negotiation that reflect how social and natural environments can be repaired through cultural practices of affirmation and belonging.

Storia Na Lugar merges the analytical visual languages of an architect and a visual artist  alongside a joint pursuit of social and environmental ethics with multidisciplinary art and architectural works that explore forms of environmental and structural precarity in West Africa. Through engaging an international network of researchers, social activists, artists and professionals to engender action, Anahory and Schofield Cardoso seek to influence policy makers and promote a more inclusive development approach for the world’s cities and islands.

Patti Anahory b. 1969 aboard a ship at Latitude 26o 50’ N Longitude 17o 05’ W; Based in New York City and Praia

César Schofield Cardoso

b. 1973 Mindelo; Based in Praia, Cabo Verde

Suchi Reddy

Reddymade Architects

Between Earth and Sky

Experiences found within architecture and the (built) environment play an essential role in shaping our capacity to engage with agency, equity, and empathy. Suchi Reddy’s guiding principle is “form follows feeling,” privileging human engagement as a mode for conceiving, designing, and building architectures that invite wonder and discovery. While working toward broader yet critical notions of “design justice,” alongside investigations of machine learning, the holistic design of spaces is recognized as an asset for the benefit of all and not just for some. Reddy considers how we, as individuals and collectives, encounter space as both a constructed and imagined phenomenon. The “mirages” installed as part of this exhibition are an exploration of how belief and the reimagining of boundaries through architectural intervention may contain limitless possibilities. Mirages become metaphors for societal rupture and repair. What is a building or space but an extension of who we are and who we wish to become?

Uniting the architect’s wide-ranging portfolio of architecture and artistic work is a multidisciplinary approach guided by a belief in the power of architecture and spatial experience to impact how we feel, how we shape society, and the positive contribution we can offer through design. Interested in the complexities of uniting scientific studies of neuroaesthetics with overt spatial and haptic experiences found in building, the experiential works of Suchi Reddy and her office Reddymade, are at once built manifestations of extensive research of the interplay of human behavior with the material, metaphysical and structural forms that build us. 

b. Chennai; lives and works in New York

We Are From Here Collective

Conceived with the collective We Are From Here based in the Slave Island (Kompannaveediya) area of Colombo, Sri Lanka, this work highlights how deeply interconnected communities continually find their homes threatened by gentrification for State and corporate interests. Focused on Slave Island, a rapidly developing location in the center of Colombo where Rahman grew up and now resides, the ongoing project explores the threat of socio-political intersections that are gradually being erased for inequitable economic and political drivers that subsequently are displacing residents. While many residents are of Malay origin, the suburb has been home to multiple cultures, languages, and religions for generations. The area was first described under British Colonial rule as a holding area created by the Portuguese to hold slaves from the African continent. Such historically rich yet seemingly overlooked areas are not only disappearing throughout Colombo but also across cities throughout the world due to the misalignment of definitions of value based on land and property and not for humans. The collective’s multi-media work spotlights how entangled threads of multiple narratives that offer both sources for and representations of intimacy, precarity and memory. The project focuses on mobilising a creative peace-making movement that would help participants and beneficiaries alike to socially engage in their own unique realities through artistic and spatial production. 

We Are From Here is a multidisciplinary artist’s collective formed by Firi Rahman in 2018 including Parilojithan Ramanathan, Manash Badurdeen (and earlier including Vicky Shahjahan) whose work includes drawing, photography and sculpture, considers the threatened codependent relationships that people and endangered species have with their natural, lived and built environments. Their work has questioned the rise of endangered species in Sri Lanka. The collective and Rahman are particularly interested in the interactions between animals and urban environments, and the responsibility societies share in protecting biodiversity. 

b. 1990(Firi Rahman), Colombo; Collective established in 2018; lives and works in Slave Island (Kompannaveediya), Colombo

Jaago Foundation

One Thousand Futures

Drawing has been a universal language that both children and adults share since time immemorial. From one’s first attempts at drawing, including the random marking with lines and scratches, and even after the first representations of the world around them, individuals are communicating to establish reciprocal meanings through images. Children of all ages use drawing to express their individual interpretations of experiences near and far. Yet, drawings, as language, can also be “read” and translated. For architects in particular, drawings are tools with which to imagine, capture and define ways of inhabitation. They possess scale, contain volumes, indicate varying temporalities, relay environmental considerations and “speak” to multiple audiences through commonly accepted forms. Our eyes and bodies can occupy the spaces found in a drawing. The project at the heart of this exhibition relies on drawing, as both an artform and as perhaps the most widespread language in the world, to transcend age, gender, background, culture, and other markers of identity. One thousand school-age children from schools across Bangladesh were asked by the Curator to respond to one question with their drawings: What might the future look like? 

According to governmental agencies in 2022, with around 98% of Bangladeshi “children of primary school age” enrolled in school, many students still have difficulty with basic reading skills. While education is essential to improving the economy of any nation, many people lack foundational lessons for living if they do not receive proper schooling. But all children, when provided with the materials, can draw—or at least create a visual means by which to communicate and thus establish complex meanings for both themselves and others. The drawings presented here are not fictional as they are responsive to an individual’s personal experience and vision while also sharing in multiple images of hope, of joy, of the possibility for becoming and living without the fear of environmental catastrophe. The drawings are active reminders that beyond the structures and boundaries that continually define us, we can draw a future for and about ourselves.

JAAGO Foundation began in a single room in the Rayer Bazar slum area of Dhaka. In April 2007, Korvi Rakshand and a group of friends rented a room in Rayer Bazar, with a vision of improving the lives of the local youth. Rakshand and his friends began teaching 17 local children from the area. The first project of the JAAGO Foundation was born from providing relief supplies in response to a flood that destroyed part of the Rayer Bazar in 2007. Since then, the JAAGO Foundation has expanded to actively work toward the integration and participation of all youth in nation building through activities that support inclusion, transparency, and accountability. More than 50,000 volunteers today are working across the country in 11 schools and other sectors to ensure the participation of youth to support and ensure equitable access to education, environmental stability, and women’s rights throughout Bangladesh.

Neha Choksi

Sky Fold 2, 2013

Sky Fold 8, 2013

Folded paper and light cyanogram

Collection of the Samdani Art Foundation

What might be the dimensioning of the sky? Across time and geography, the sky has been both a backdrop and a foreground for countless civilizations. Centuries of song and poem have accessed the sky as an arbiter for the faithful and is never complete. It can be made invisible and while at other times, it is a preface for events to come. For some, the sky is a limitless expanse, continuous, open. And yet, for many others, the sky cannot be accessed, it is felt as the origin of sorrow, or even imminent danger. These works at once suggest the fragility and difficulty to contain the sky, its temporalities, and its power. While the grid may be understood as an ordering system, a mathematical invention that is supposed to relay equanimity while also potentially demarcating both economic and political conditions upon the ground; when imposed upon the sky, one is confronted with the possibility of its boundaries, both real and imagined. Choksi’s interest in forging temporary presence is, for the artist, “an affirmative act of destruction.” The Sky Fold cyanograms are photographic works that are embodiments of the means of their own production, folded paper, and light. Like a blueprint of the sky, these photographic prints capture those creases in time—perhaps moments of rupture—when the sky which we all share is made a reflection of the multiple worlds in which we live and dream.

Neha Choksi deploys interdisciplinary approaches including performance, video, installation, and sculpture to redefine the poetics and transience of everyday life. Often reflecting on absence, her works employ an uncertain gravity that suggests an uneasy groundedness. Centered among logics that respond to the dialectics of socio-cultural contexts and their variable scales, Choski’s interdisciplinary multi-format works are both interventions into and responses to intersections of time, consciousness, and context.

b.1973, USA and India

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