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Presented in collaboration with Evan Garza, curator, writer and Fulbright U.S. Scholar in residence at IMMA; this talk series draws on Garza’s current research that investigates 20th- and 21st-century Irish protest movements and IMMA Collection artists from art historically marginalized communities. An important resource in Garza’s research is Being a Border published by Paper Visual Art, 2021, authored by Nuit Banai, an esteemed international art historian, critic, theorist and a past IMMA resident.

Within the context of the exhibition, Protest and Conflict, Chapter Four of The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now, Garza invites Banai, and other artist-activists to join him in a series of critical conversations, to discuss their work, unpack issues of border politics in contemporary art practice and offer a timely reflection on Banai’s call for “self-constituted forms of resistance that can emerge from thinking, speaking, and being a border.”

The next talk in this series takes the form of an Artists Discussion scheduled on Tues 19 April 2022 at 19.00hrs see details of guests and how to register below.

Being a Border with Nuit Banai
Wed 16 March, 1.00pm

To attend via zoom, register here

30 Minute Lecture: IMMA is delighted to present a talk and conversation on Being a Border with art historian, critic, and theorist Nuit Banai and Evan Garza. To open the context of conversation, Banai presents a short talk on the technics of the border in contemporary art and culture that inform her essay, Being a Border. Banai introduce artists’ practices and political concerns, which express how border thinking has been cultivated and engineered as well as how it has been critiqued, via the work of Richard Mosse, the Centre for Political Beauty, Vedovamazzei, and Grada Kilomba. With Banai, we look at critical ‘potentialities’ and historical ‘blind spots’ that challenge both traditional geographical limitations and disciplinary boundaries.

30 Minute Conversation: Moderated by Evan Garza, this conversation with Banai reflects on wider social and political implications of being a border on individuals and contemporary artistic practice.

Being a Border: Artists Responses
Tue 19 April 7.00pm

To attend via zoom, please register here

This session looks at global artists whose respective practices explore issues such as border politics, migrant rights and activism, displacement, race, nationalism, identity, otherness and issues of the nation-state. Invited artists will offer short visual presentations followed by a panel conversation moderated by Garza, who will tie the content of their work back to a set of themes explored in the exhibition Protest and Conflict and the IMMA Collection.

Featured responses by Sandra Johnston, Larissa Sansour, and CASSILS and Rafa Esparza of In Plain Sight artist-activist collective. Evan Garza with our guests, will reflect on the role of artists, as activists, historians, and visual narrators, in addressing processes of being a border, and engaging with the impact of conflict and neo-colonialism in the present.

About Speakers

Dr. Nuit Banai
Nuit Banai (PhD, Columbia University) is an art historian and critic who specializes in modern and contemporary art in a global context, with a particular focus on conditions of migrations, exile, diaspora, border-regimes and statelessness. Before joining Hong Kong Baptist University as Associate Professor, Art and Theory, she was Professor of Contemporary Art in the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna and Lecturer of Modern and Contemporary Art at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has held Visiting Positions in Art History at Lesley University, Boston, USA; Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia; and University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria. She has also conducted international seminars at the European Forum Alpbach, Austria; Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, Slovakia; and the Maumaus School, Lisbon, Portugal.

She is the author of Yves Klein (Reaktion Books, 2014), Being a Border (Paper Visual Arts, 2021) and articles appearing in journals such as Third Text, Stedelijk Studies, Public Culture, Performing Arts Journal, and Texte zur Kunst. Her essays have been published internationally by Sternberg Press, Centre Georges Pompidou, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, documenta, Kontakt Collection, Americas Society and Bronx Museum of the Arts. She served as assistant editor for the journal RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics and is a regular contributor to Artforum International.

Banai is currently researching the artistic, material, and cultural representation of experiences of migration, exile, statelessness, and formation of diasporic communities by those who fled Europe for Latin America, the Middle East, and China during the 1930s and 1940s. She is also studying the trans-national permutation of these historical issues in diverse contemporary contexts with a particular focus on sites and techniques of memory production.

Evan Garza

Evan Garza is the 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar at IMMA and a Visiting Research Fellow in History of Art and Architecture at Trinity College Dublin. Garza’s research at IMMA focuses on artists from art historically marginalized communities, both in Ireland and globally, through digital interpretation, public programmes, and collecting strategies which emphasize equity and historical parallels between global movements for racial and social justice and the history of Irish protest movements. Garza is a Washington, DC-based curator, writer, and was Artistic Director of the 2021 Texas Biennial: A New Landscape, A Possible Horizon, co-curated with Ryan N. Dennis, which recently exhibited 50+ artists across five Texas museums in San Antonio and their native Houston. Garza was recently adjunct faculty and visiting critic in the VCUarts graduate program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and the MFA program at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Previously, Garza was Director of Rice Public Art at Rice University in Houston, TX from 2016-2019 and served as Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin from 2014-2016. In 2011 Garza was cofounder of Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR), a New York non-profit and the first residency program in the world exclusively for LGBTQ+ artists. They have organized several exhibitions and programmes internationally and their writing on the work of contemporary artists has been published in several books and monographs and by Flash Art, Hyperallergic, Gulf Coast, Art Papers, and Artforum.

Featured Artists

Sandra Johnston (Northern Ireland)
Sandra Johnston has been active internationally as an artist since 1992 in the field of site-responsive enquiry into ‘contested spaces’ working predominantly through performance art and video/audio installations. Johnston has held several teaching and research posts since 2002, including an AHRC Research Fellowship at the University of Ulster, Belfast, investigating issues of ‘trauma of place’. In 2007 she was the Ré Soupault Guest Professor at the Bauhaus University, Weimar. Between 2012-2021 she was joint-lead on the BxNU MFA programme at Northumbria University, England. Currently, she lectures at Ulster University in the Photography & Video Department. In 2013, Johnston published her Ph.D. research project entitled ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation of Doubt, Risk and Testimony through Performance Art Processes in Relation to Systems of Legal Justice’. Additionally, she has been committed long-term to exploring collaborative processes of improvisation, facilitating workshop encounters, alongside engaging with the development and sustainability of creative networks.

Larissa Sansour (Palestine)
Larissa Sansour was born in 1973 in East Jerusalem, Palestine, and studied fine arts in London, New York City and Copenhagen. Central to her work is the push and pull between fiction and reality. In her recent works, she uses science fiction to address social and political issues. Working mainly with film, Sansour also produces installations, photography, and sculpture. Her work has been shown in film festivals and museums worldwide, including at the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou and the Istanbul Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions include Bluecoat in Liverpool and the Nikolaj Kunsthal in Copenhagen. Sansour currently lives and works in London.

Featured in the IMMA Exhibition, Protest and Conflict, The Nation Estate, 2012 consists of a 9-minute sci-fi short film and a photo series offering a clinically dystopian, yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East. Employing science fiction narratives, Sansour’s work explores themes of, archaeology and politics, identity, memory and trauma. See more details here.

CASSILS is a transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances. Cassils’s art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle and survival. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils’s work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment.

Cassils has had recent solo exhibitions at HOME Manchester, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC; Institute for Contemporary Art, AU; Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; Bemis Center, Omaha; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands.

They are the recipient of a 2020 Fleck Residency from the Banff Center for the Arts, a Princeton Lewis Artist Fellowship finalist, a Villa Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a United States Artist Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Creative Capital Award.

About In Plain Sight
In Plain Sight is a coalition of 80 artists, led by Cassils and rafa esparza, united to create an artwork dedicated to the abolition of immigrant detention and the United States culture of incarceration. A highly orchestrated mediagenic spectacle and poetic action, this project is conceived in five parts — a poetic elegy enacted on a national scale, an interactive website, an anthology docuseries, accessible actions for the public to take to join the movement against immigrant detention, and cultural partnerships producing arts-related education and engagement.

About Publication

The first in the Transmission Sites series, Being a Border is a co-publication by Paper Visual Art and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Edited by Francis Halsall and Declan Long, See more details here

This book was written following Nuit Banai’s participation in the Art in the Contemporary World (ACW)/ IMMA Visiting Critic-in-Residence programme in 2014.

Additional Resources 


Additional Resources

Being a Border with Nuit Banai and Evan Garza Soundcloud


Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.