The British Council has announced that Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay and Sumitra Upham will be the curatorial team that will represent Great Britain at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. The team will transform the British Pavilion into celebratory spaces that "embrace collective construction methods and processes that avoid exploiting people and the planet". The 18th International Architecture Exhibition will be held from May 20th until November 26th, 2023.
Following the exhibition's open call, members of the Council were looking forward to proposals that directly address global urgent challenges and demonstrate how architecture can proactively respond. The selected team's proposal, whose title is yet to be announced, will explore "non-extractive material culture", showcasing how the diasporic craft can foster a more sustainable future for British architecture, focusing on principles of care and equity over extraction and exploitation.
Our exhibition will explore architecture of the diaspora through a pre-colonial lens, celebrating the spectrum of architectural philosophies, making practices and material knowledge within those communities. Foregrounding their currency at a time of growing social polarization and ecological degradation, we intend to amplify voices and perspectives that have been previously overlooked in British architecture. Our pavilion will readdress the architectural canon through a joyful celebration of pluralism. -- Curatorial Team
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Jayden Ali is the Founding Director of interdisciplinary practice JA Projects and a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins. Joseph Henry is a designer and urbanist, co-founder of platform Sound Advice and works as part of the Culture and Creative Industries Team at the Greater London Authority. Meneesha Kellay is the Contemporary Programme Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). Sumitra Upham is a curator and writer, currently Head of Public Programmes at the Crafts Council.
The UK’s participation at the 2023 Venice Biennale is selected by an advisory panel of leading architecture professionals from across the UK. The panel is chaired by Sevra Davis, Director of Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council and Commissioner of the British Pavilion, along with Simon Allford, RIBA President; Gus Casely-Hayford, Director V&A East; Carole-Anne Davies, Chief Executive, Design Commission for Wales; Anab Jain, Co-Founder and Director, Superflux; Chithra Marsh, Associate Director, Buttress Architects; Dr. Agustina Martire, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Queen’s University Belfast; Vanessa Norwood, Creative Director, Building Centre; and Dr. Neal Shasore, Head of School and Chief Executive Officer, London School of Architecture.