‘Green Snake: Women-Centred Ecologies’ at Tai Kwun Contemporary

Tai Kwun Contemporary presents “Green Snake: Women-Centred Ecologies,” a group exhibition challenging the extractive economies underlying ecological crises that view nature merely as a resource for exploitation. The showcase seeks alternative narratives through artists’ perspectives, celebrating nature as a regenerative force rooted in ecofeminist principles of care and interrelationship. The labour of care, undervalued in patriarchal systems, takes center stage. Running from December 20, 2023, to April 1, 2024, and curated by Kathryn Weir and Xue Tan, with Tiffany Leung and Pietro Scammacca as assistant curators, the exhibition features 30+ artists from 20 countries, presenting over 60 works, including 16 commissioned for the event.

Dima Srouji, The red river (2023) Hand-blown glass. Commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary.

The exhibition’s title draws inspiration from the ancient Chinese folktale of demon sisters, White Snake and Green Snake, and mythical serpentine figures symbolising nature’s transformative abilities. Green Snake, representing women’s agency, sisterhood, and gender fluidity, echoes the geomorphology of river systems. Artists in the exhibition explore specific river ecosystems and associated mythologies, fostering dialogues that transcend geographical boundaries and reveal parallel struggles and practices of empathy for non-human existence. The exhibition’s overarching theme calls for a radical reorientation of humanity within the broader planetary and cosmic context.

Architect and artist Dima Srouji collaborates with archaeologists and artisans to explore Palestinian cultural heritage. Her installation, “The Red River,” features suspended hand-blown glass sculptures created in collaboration with an artisan from the occupied territories. It symbolises the Na’aman River, historically known as the Belus River, celebrated for alchemic properties linked to glass production. The red hue reflects water pollution from nearby industry, including a military factory. The river embodies personal narratives, like Srouji’s displaced grandmother, and cultural and spiritual transmissions, including the goddess Astarte’s glass figure. The installation emphasises the infinite, non-lootable nature of cultural treasures, as highlighted in the film-essay “She Still Wears Kohl and Smells Like Roses.”

Other featured artists include AFSAR (Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research), Yussef Agbo-Ola & Tabita Rezaire, Maria Thereza Alves, Lhola Amira, Minia Biabiany, Adriana Bustos, Seba Calfuqueo, Cao Minghao & Chen Jianjun, Carolina Caycedo, Stephanie Comilang & Simon Speiser, Valentina Desideri & Denise Ferreira da Silva, Rohini Devasher, Gidree Bawlee, Guo Fengyi, Manjot Kaur, Jaffa Lam, Candice Lin, Lavanya Mani, Marzia Migliora, Ann Leda Shapiro, Karan Shrestha, Natasha Tontey, Cecilia Vicuña, Tricky Walsh and Dana Whabira.

Exhibition view of Green Snake: women-centred ecologies. 20 December 2023 – 1 April 2024 Tai Kwun Contemporary

Location: Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong

Dates: 20 December 2023 – 1 April 2024

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