Little representation and racial diversity
In the year before HOA’s creation, another project arose in São Paulo, also with the purpose of giving visibility to the production of racialized artists. While visiting art fairs and gallery openings, cultural manager Alex Tso, the son of Chinese migrants, realized there was little racial diversity and representation.
Mindful of the issues of prejudice and exclusion in these spaces, and in touch with the progressive agendas of Black, indigenous, and Asian movements, he decided to propose something that would overcome the difficulties of inclusion and visibility.
At the end of 2019, he launched a public call for applications to put together the inaugural line-up for a gallery, whose only criterion was that they be racialized artists. In one month, 150 people applied. And so Diáspora Galeria was born, bringing together artists and curators of Asian, Black, and indigenous origin.
“Diaspora is fully active, with anti-racist solidarity as its prerogative, and with the understanding that joining together and shared struggle are ways of politically and socially strengthening ourselves in order to deal with the status quo of prejudice and exclusion,” Tso told C&AL. According to him, the idea was to think about the racial dynamics at play in Brazil, and the values and ideals that promote white bodies as hegemonic and create divisions among other minority races.
“Bearing in mind that a structural transformation of the art system and the art market was necessary, one of the basic premises of the Diaspora Galeria project was to foster a collaborative relationship among people of color throughout the network of artistic production. That is, not only are the artists non-white, but the staff and strategic partners also have racialized experiences,” he added.