Image: On-Anong Glinsiri, <i>Togetherness & The Way We Were</i> (Preparation), 2008. Photo: Varsha Nair. Womanifesto Archive, AAA Collections. Courtesy of Womanifesto.   
02_Collections Image: On-Anong Glinsiri, Togetherness & The Way We Were (Preparation), 2008. Photo: Varsha Nair. Womanifesto Archive, AAA Collections. Courtesy of Womanifesto.   

Asia Art Archive (AAA) has been invited to participate in documenta fifteen as part of a group of collectives working on education and archiving in an expanded sense. AAA’s contribution is a display that foregrounds the active role artists themselves have played in preserving and mediating knowledge about art. Located in the Fridericianum—one of the first public museums in the world, and one of the main venues of documenta fifteen—AAA presents artworks and archival materials about collective undertakings by artists who learn from vernacular cultural practices across Asia.

These collective undertakings include the artists connected to the Baroda Faculty of Fine Arts, such as Jyoti Bhatt, Nilima Sheikh and K.G. Subramanyan, who participated in the Living Traditions movement in post-independent India; Womanifesto, a feminist art collective and biennial programme in Thailand most active from 1997 to 2005; and the network of performance art festivals that blossomed across East and Southeast Asia starting in the 1990s, as documented by Ray Langenbach, Lee Wen, and others. These instances have inspired and informed AAA’s own understanding of archives as sites for knowledge-sharing and artistic production.

Led by the Jakarta-based collective ruangrupa, collectivity and resource distribution constitute the main principles for the structure and working methods of documenta fifteen, organised around the concept of lumbung (“rice barn”), which refers to communal buildings in rural Indonesia where harvests are stored and distributed to the community. 

AAA is part of one of the mini-majelis—groups that regularly meet to exchange ideas and share resources at documenta fifteen. Other collectives and organisations include Another Roadmap Africa Cluster (Kampala, Nyanza, Lubumbashi, Kinshasa, Maseru, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Cairo), Archives des luttes des femmes en Algérie (Algeria), Centre d'art Waza (Lubumbashi), El Warcha (Tunis), Graziela Kunsch (São Paulo), Keleketla! Library (Johannesburg), Komîna Fîlm a Rojava (Rojava), Sada [regroup] (Baghdad and other locations), Siwa Platforme - L'Economat at Redeyef (Redeyef), and The Black Archives (Amsterdam), who will present their projects at the Fridericianum.

Members of the AAA team—consisting of artists, researchers, curators, and educators—developed the display through a series of conversations, reading groups, and creative exercises. Special thanks to the working team: Pallavi Arora, Samira Bose, Gabrielle Chan, Samantha Chao, Susanna Chung, Özge Ersoy, Christopher K. Ho, Lydia Lam, Charlotte Mui, Sneha Ragavan, John Tain, Rebecca Tso, and Debby Tsui. Thanks to Carol Choi, Leah Lam, and Chương-Đài Võ.

Supported by documenta gGmbH, as well as Wendy Lee & Stephen Li, and Virginia & Wellington Yee.

Download the images here: 



Sun, 19 Jun 2022, 4—6pm CET
Fridskul Common Library, Fridericianum, documenta fifteen, Kassel

This event brings together Keleketla! Library (Johannesburg), The Black Archives (Amsterdam), and AAA (Hong Kong) to discuss how to challenge and redefine the infrastructures of libraries and archives to accommodate multiple stories and communities. The conversation will also invite other lumbung artists and Fridskul members to share their practices, urgencies, and stories.

The is an on-site event. No registration is required.

Tue, 21 Jun 2022, 5:30—7pm CET
Fridskul Common Library, Fridericianum, documenta fifteen, Kassel

Part of the AAA’s Art Schools of Asia programme, this conversation brings together Salima Hashmi and Zheng Shengtian, two artists who have been mentors to generations of artists since the 1960s. The two will share their experiences at the National College of Arts, Lahore (Hashmi), and the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (Zheng), and discuss the intersection of learning and art-making in their practices. In a workshop to be held separately with members of the Art Schools of Asia programme, they will also explore how art pedagogy has enabled not just self-development but also collective identity across the region.

The is an on-site event. No registration is required.

Tue, 19 Jul 2022, 1—3pm CET / 7—9pm HKT
Gudskul, Fridericianum, documenta fifteen, Kassel & livestreamed on Zoom

Co-presented with Goethe-Institut Hongkong and Gudskul, this event brings together Hong Kong–based artists May Fung and Tang Kwok Hin with Gudskul and ruangrupa to discuss artist-led models of resource sharing, with a focus on spaces in Hong Kong and Indonesia. This conversation explores Fung’s experience running the Foo Tak Building in Hong Kong, where artists and collectives with similar urgencies share spaces and resources; Tang’s 1983, a gathering place for artists and thinkers, transformed from his ancestral home in an 800-year-old village; and the space-sharing models Gudskul and ruangrupa have developed in Jakarta.

The livestreamed programme is free and open to the public with registration on AAA's website. Please click here.

Sat, 23 Jul 2022, 3–9pm CET
Film-Shop Kassel, Erzbergerstraße 12, 34117 Kassel

(This event has been cancelled) Join us for an afternoon of film screenings and an informal gathering at Film-Shop Kassel—a film archive, community centre, and the world’s oldest video rental store. Co-organised by Film-Shop/Randfilm (Kassel), The Black Archives (Amsterdam), and Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong), this day is dedicated to films and stories about solidarity, community-building, and Black and Asian heritage.    

The is an on-site event. No registration is required.

Asia Art Archive (AAA) is an independent non-profit organisation initiated in 2000 in response to the urgent need to document and make accessible the multiple recent histories of art in the region. With one of the most valuable collections of material on art freely available from its website and onsite library, AAA builds tools and communities to collectively expand knowledge through research, residency, and educational programmes. Please visit our website for more

@AsiaArtArchive #GenerousArtHistories #AAAatdocumenta15