vera list center for art and politics presents international convening on collective approaches to Correction*

Focus on Aboriginal urban artist collective proppaNOW, recipient of 2022-2024 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice

Other artists and collectives from Indonesia, Mexico, Palestine, and across Africa

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations readers are advised that this announcement may contain the names of deceased people. The family has granted permission.

NEW YORK, September 12, 2023 – The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School is thrilled to announce the VLC Forum 2023: Correction*, to be held from October 12 through 14, 2023, in New York City. An international, annual convening of key participants in the field of art and politics, this year’s forum is curated within the framework of the center's two-year investigation of Correction*, which explores the potential to “correct,” amend, or transgress the historical record to empower people through art.

The VLC Forum 2023: Correction* celebrates the Aboriginal urban artist collective proppaNOW, recipient of the Vera List Center’s 2022–2024 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice, as well as the Jane Lombard Fellows, an international group of artist collectives who were finalists for the prize: the Pan-African Another Roadmap Africa Cluster (ARAC), Colectivo Cherani from Mexico, KUNCI Study Forum & Collective from Indonesia, and from Palestine Khalil Rabah. Over the course of three days, the Forum celebrates and convenes these artists and our communities through an exhibition, workshops, conversations, a keynote lecture, and a communal dinner and karaoke party highlighting artists and collectives working in community and advancing social justice across the world through collaborative practices.

Entitled proppaNOW: There Goes the Neighbourhood!, the exhibition of proppaNOW’s work will anchor the VLC Forum and is presented at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at The New School’s Parsons School of Design from October 9 through November 10, 2023. The show marks the first institutional presentation of the collective in the Western hemisphere, twenty years after their founding in Brisbane, Australia. Since being selected for Jane Lombard Prize by an international jury chaired by Simone Leigh, the collective invited three new members: Shannon Brett, Lily Eather, and Warraba Weatherall, who join Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey, and the late Laurie Nilsen.

“proppaNOW is the name we’ve given ourselves” says member Gordon Hookey, “because the whole notion of proppaNOW is about being a First Nations person, an Aboriginal person, and doing things that’s appropriate and in line with Aboriginal protocol, and what is right, and doing it in a good way. Thus the term ‘proppa.’ So we’re doing things in a proper way. And the ‘now’ comes because we were commenting on issues and concerns that affect us at this moment. Now.” 

And on the Jane Lombard Prize: “It’s an incredible opportunity, it’s incredible to be acknowledged, to be part of an international discourse,” says Tony Albert. “Human rights and art, politics and art, culture and art, identity and art, all are intertwined.  The power behind art is one of the most phenomenal things, and to see that that has filtered not only through the art world but through humanity and human rights—art being pivotal to that—is one of the greatest things and to see that being acknowledged through something like this [prize] is so incredibly rewarding.”

proppaNOW: There Goes the Neighborhood! draws its title from one of the collective’s earliest exhibitions in 2005,” says VLC Curator and Director of Programs Eriola Pira. “If some twenty years ago, the Aboriginal collective put the Australian art world on notice—positioning the burgeoning Urban Aboriginal Art movement as a corrective to prescribed notions of authenticity and traditional Aboriginal art—this exhibition does so internationally, in the Western hemisphere and into the future. In yet another settler-colonial context, speaking at once to shared histories of colonization and racialization with Native Americans and Black Americans' experience, proppaNOW agitates for Indigenous sovereignty and Black power, in art as in politics.” The exhibition brings together paintings, photography, sculpture, large-scale vinyl murals, and a video screening program.

“For us, the asterisk in Correction* is key,” says VLC Senior Director/Chief Curator Carin Kuoni. “For any attempt at critical reconsideration—or correction—of the social, political and economic systems we’re part of and trapped in, we must seek out the margins, find the subtexts, make visible the multiple strands of invisible histories. proppaNOW and the other amazing collectives at the VLC Forum provide the necessary correctives for people’s empowerment.”

The VLC Forum launches on October 12 with a workshop led by Another Roadmap Africa Cluster, a group of scholars and practitioners of artistic and cultural education working across the African continent. Then, Khalil Rabah is joined in conversation by curator and founder of Brief Histories Fawz Kabra to discuss Rabah’s ongoing project The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind. 

Day two of the Forum is dedicated to proppaNOW, the 2022–2024 Jane Lombard Prize recipient. The daylong program celebrates the work and activism of the twenty-year old urban Aboriginal art collective, foregrounding intergenerational efforts in claiming Aboriginal sovereignty and building Indigenous resistance against settler colonialism in Australia and beyond. 2022–2024 prize jury member and Anishinaabe curator, artist, and educator Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, joins proppaNOW members in conversation. The prize ceremony is followed by a communal dinner and karaoke party open to all, with a DJ set by ARAC member Christian Nyampeta.

The third day continues to spotlight the work of 2022–2024 Jane Lombard Fellows, featuring talks and conversations with a focus on collectives and collectivity. Colectivo Cherani, a group of artists from Cherán K’eri in Michoacán, Mexico, will be in conversation with prize nominator and curator, art writer, and cultural theorist Pablo José Ramírez. The day continues with a conversation on critical pedagogies and art education between ARAC and KUNCI Study Forum & Collective, a cultural studies group from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, invested in collectivizing study through pace-making, discussion, research, publishing, and school-organizing, moderated by Sarah Rifky, Senior Curator and Director of Programs, Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. The afternoon concludes with a keynote lecture by farid rakun, part of the Jakarta-based collective ruangrupa and knowledge-sharing platform Gudskul. Closing reception to follow. 

The VLC Forum 2023: Correction* is accompanied by a publication featuring a program guide, an introduction to proppaNOW by Warraba Weatherall, a curatorial essay by Eriola Pira, a dialogue between proppaNOW members and Indigenous collective New Red Order, artist statements by the Jane Lombard Fellows as well as nominator essays by Dawn Chan, Özge Ersoy, Qinyi Lim, Nabila Abdel Nabi, and Fabiola Palacios with Pablo José Ramírez.

The VLC Forum 2023 is presented as part of the Center’s 2022–2024 Focus Theme Correction*. It is curated by Carin Kuoni and Eriola Pira with Camila Palomino and convened with the support of Tabor Banquer, Re’al Christian, and Adrienne Umeh.

The VLC Forum 2023 and free admission to all events are made possible by major support from Jane Lombard and the Kettering Fund, as well as The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Boris Lurie Art Foundation, Dayton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Pryor Cashman LLP, The New School as well as members of the Vera List Center Board, the VLC Producers Council, Vera’s List, and other individuals.

About proppaNOW
proppaNOW is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal Artist Collectives challenging the politics of Aboriginal art and culture. The collective is focused on generating contemporary art that is thought provoking, subversive, and re-thinking what it means to be a “Contemporary artist.” proppaNOW takes working-class frameworks, which surrounded most of the artists growing up, of impoverished and oppressed peoples, and drives it into the art world. This has spurred the composition of contemporary liberation art, talking about the daily struggles of coming against the forces of modernism and capitalism. The focus and support for each other has also allowed the collective to foster the projection of our individual careers. Members include Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey, the late Laurie Nilsen—all established and well respected artists in their own right. The collective as of 2023 has invited and received acceptance from three new members—Shannon Brett, Lily Eather, and Warraba Weatherall.

About Vera List Center for Art and Politics
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics is a research center and a public forum for art, culture, and politics. It was established at The New School in 1992—a time of rousing debates about freedom of speech, identity politics, and society’s investment in the arts. A leader in the field, the center is a nonprofit that serves a critical mission: to foster a vibrant and diverse community of artists, scholars, and policymakers who take creative, intellectual, and political risks to bring about positive change.

About The New School
Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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