Lunchtime artist talk: I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion


Join us for a free online artist talk series to coincide with the exhibition I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2. Facilitated by co-curator Mikala Tai, these creative conversations invite audiences to watch or listen in over lunchtime breaks.


  • 25 August, 12:30-1:00 pm AEST – Abdul-Rahman Abdullah
  • 1 September, 12:30-1:00 pm AEST -Leyla Stevens
  • 8 September, 12:30-1:00 pm AEST -To be announced

This is an Auslan interpreted series.

Register for the Zoom talk series here.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, in partnership with the International Curators Forum (ICF) and Campbelltown Arts Centre, presents I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 from 22 May – 10 October 2021, with the virtual tour closing on 18 October. The virtual exhibition considers the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of six artists based in Australia, the UK and the Caribbean: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa and Daniela Yohannes.

Curated by Adelaide Bannerman, Mikala Tai and Jessica Taylor, the exhibition is an ongoing project that explores the distinct and shared reality of living at a distance to ancestral homes. Belonging to a diaspora means that connection to these ancestral homes is often maintained through memories, myths and traditions.  I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 is as much an exhibition as it is a research project, underpinned by fieldwork and reviews of how artists, curators, theorists and institutions engage with diaspora as a topic.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition.

View the virtual exhibition below.


About the speakers:

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (b. Port Kembla, Australia 1977 lives and works in Perth, Australia) is a sculptor whose practice explores the different ways that memory can inhabit and emerge from familial spaces. Drawing on the narrative capacity of animal archetypes, crafted objects and the human presence, Abdullah aims to articulate physical dialogues between the natural world, politics and the agency of culture. Recent exhibitions include The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2019), Dark Horizons, Pataka Art + Museum, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand (2017) and Magic Object; Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Adelaide, Australia (2016).

Leyla Stevens (b. Cooroy, Australia 1982, lives and works between Bali, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia) is an Australian-Balinese artist and researcher who works predominantly within moving image and photography. Her practice is informed by ongoing concerns around gesture, ritual, spatial encounters, transculturation and counter histories. Working within modes of representation that shift between the documentary and speculative fictions, her work deals with a notion of counter archives and alternative genealogies. In 2021, Leyla Stevens was awarded the 66th Blake Prize for her work Kidung/Lament. Recent exhibitions include her solo presentations Dua Dunia, curated by Rachel Ciesla, at PS Art Space, Perth Festival (2021), A Line in the Sea, West Space, Melbourne, PHOTO 21 Festival (2021), Their Sea is Always Hungry, UTS Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2019). Recent group exhibitions include The National 2021, Art Gallery of News South Wales (2021), Breathing Room (collaboration with Woven Kolektif), Cement Fondue, Sydney, Australia (2019), BEAUT 19, Brisbane & Elsewhere Art UnTriennial, Brisbane, Australia (2018) and the John Fries Award, UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia (2018).

Mikala Tai is a curator, researcher and academic specialising in Australian and Asian art and is currently the Head of Visual Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts. Most recently she was the Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art where she collaborated with local, national and international organisations to strengthen ties between Australia and Asia. Recent curatorial projects include ‘Nusra Latif Qureshi: Strategies of Intent’ (2019), ‘Xiao Lu: Impossible Dialogue’ (2019) co-curated with Claire Roberts and Xu Hong and ‘Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses’ (2018). She has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Monash University, Melbourne University and Royal Melbourne Institute for Technology and regularly contributes to publications and catalogues such as ‘Abdul-Rahman Abdullah: Everything is True’ (John Curtin Gallery, 2021), ‘She Persists’ (NGV, 2020), Ocula, Art Collector, Art Monthly, Vault and Photofile. In 2015 she received her PhD from UNSW Art & Design examining the influence of the Global City on China’s local art infrastructure.