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Research Network: Archipelagos in Reverse

Talk Talking in Tongues* Rahila Haque and Rehana Zaman

30 Sep 2021
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Talking in Tongues is a research-in-rehearsal of curator and researcher Rahila Haque, in dialogue with artist Rehana Zaman. The session will consider diasporic feminist praxis within the spaces of artists’ writing and publishing, with a focus on Rehana’s publication Tongues.

Thinking through a selection of aritsts’ texts and publications, Rahila’s research attempts to convene with the material as (dis)locations of collective Black and brown feminist knowledge. It considers moments in which artists’ self-generated discourse creates relationality through unbounded and undisciplined approaches. As research-in-rehearsal, it looks to the potential of non-progressive study as proposed by theorist, curator and filmmaker Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, and contemplates strategies for anti-colonial feminist research with the work of diaspora artists.

*The title Talking in Tongues is taken from a chapter in the book Passion: Discourses on Blackwomen’s Creativity, edited by Maud Sulter (Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire: Urban Fox Press, 1990).


Rahila Haque is a curator and researcher, and currently PhD candidate at the centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) at Chelsea College, University of the Arts London. Her doctoral research is an intergenerational study of diaspora artists in the UK, looking at the presence and development of Black, postcolonial and decolonial feminist epistemologies in artistic practice. It addresses a lack of engagement with feminist knowledge in the dominant art historical, critical and institutional narratives of British diaspora art, and asks how paying attention to this work can help to generate modes of decolonial feminist visual and critical enquiry.

She is co-author, with Sayantan Maitra Boka, of a forthcoming publication on the work of the Dhaka-based artist-led initiative Britto Arts Trust to be launched at Documenta 15. She was previously Residencies Curator at Camden Art Centre and Assistant Curator of the 58th Venice Biennale exhibition May You Live in Interesting Times. Between 2009-15 she was Curatorial Assistant and Assistant Curator at the Hayward Gallery, organising major exhibitions by Dayanita Singh, Jeremy Deller and Ernesto Neto and co-curating the Hayward Project Space exhibitions Jananne Al-Ani: Excavations; What’s Love Got to Do with It; and Dineo Seshee Bopape: slow-co-ruption. She was awarded a Gasworks/Triangle Network Fellowship in 2018 and holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Rehana Zaman is an artist from Heckmondwike based in London. Her work speaks to the entanglement of personal experience and social life, where moments of intimacy are framed against cultural orthodoxies and state coercion. Conversation and cooperative methods sit at the heart of her practice.

She has exhibited widely in the UK and Internationally. Presentations include British Art Show 9 (Touring), Trinity Square Video, Toronto (Solo), Borås International Sculpture Biennial (Sweden), Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival; Artist Film International Whitechapel, London, Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway; Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018; Sheffield Doc/Fest; Oberhausen Film Festival and Serpentine Projects, London, (forthcoming 2022). In 2019 she co-edited Tongues with Taylor Le Melle, published by PSS and was shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award. She is currently a board member of not/nowhere artist workers cooperative and LUX who also distribute her films.

Image: Tongues edited by Rehana Zaman.