Mutual Support Platform: events and projects

The Mutual Support Platform (MSP) is a space for conversations and actions by, between and for alumni of the HKU Master of Fine Art, in exchange with current MAFA students and teachers. It emerged as a collective effort in response to the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. HKU-alumni of the MA Fine Art, presented by Mutual Support Platform (MSP), have hosted several events and developed projects.
Mutual Support Platform: events and projects
The following is a sampling of the events and projects that MSP realized with the help of the COVID-19 compensation money:

Exhibition: ART. 1 in AG (May 2022)
This exhibition explored how Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution translates and unfolds in both personal and political urgencies when considering equality and discrimination. Participating artists explored personal narratives, fluidities and living in the Netherlands, negotiating Dutch and their own native languages while confronting Article 1.

* An installation unfolding the Chinese character for Law and Dissolve, by Zhou Jinxiao
* A performative exercise involving active listening and critical self-reflection, by Ganesh Nepal and Manuela Viezzer.
* A sound piece on how we rely on the discrimination and inequality of the many to sustain the equality of the few, by Manju Sharma.
* A project denouncing the inaccessibility of the 1815 Dutch Constitution stored in the National Archive, by Kaylie Kist.
On the latter Kaylie Kist states: ‘After numerous requests and refusals the 1815 Dutch Constitution remained inaccessible to me. I decided to play with this idea of inaccessibility. I used all the visual and digital material I could gather to replicate both the constitutional book title, NL-HaNA_2.02.01_6056A_01, and its cover in the form of a sleeping bag. The sleeping bag then became the physical vessel for exploring belonging, Identity, accessibility, function, use, power and protection. It was used to walk with, sit down and talk with people, asking how the Constitution enters our lives and how we enter it.’

Residency: Guna (at De Voorkamer, June 2022)
During her residency at De Voorkamer Angelina Kumar created a series of workshops with the concept of Guna. This Sanskrit word served to give the participating asylum seekers an opening to express parts of their culture and stories with each other. These expressions eventually led to a book with artworks, paintings, zines and drawings, and offers the viewers a view into the struggles and characteristics of the participants. Kumar expresses her respect for the participants: ‘No matter how much turmoil each went through, they still held on to their dreams and wishes for a better future. They were very glad to express their stories and have someone listen to them. Even though we all spoke different languages we were able to understand each other through what they made and the time we spent together. Each person that comes to a new country seeking asylum has a lot of hurdles to go through, on top of all the previous hardships they had to endure. Governments can do a lot more to make this process better for them. And we too can do something, by taking time to listen to their stories and be a friend to them.’

Residency at Travelling Farm Museum of Forgotten Skills (TFM)
Three MAFA alumni had the possibility to work in close connection with The Outsiders, co-founders of TFM in Leidsche Rijn in 2018. TFM is a participatory mobile museum exploring agricultural heritage in urban areas. MAFA alumni got to know their artistic strategies for cultivating knowledge & skills for ecological, resilient living in the context of farming and urbanization. In conversation with local farmers and food producers, Charli Herrington experimented with Amaro, known as Italian herbal liqueur. She succeeded in producing a local variation of Amaro with plants and herbs from Moestuin de Haar and Voedselbos Haarzuilens in Ledische Rijn. The “Early May Leidsche Rijn Amaro” was presented in the TFM exhibition at Casco Art Institute in May 2022, accompanied by an audio piece that gathered the experiences during the production process. Sin Wah Lai developed a walk along different public gardens and specific plants, as part of her artistic research into plants. P-K-K-P (a collaboration between Parvaneh Karimi and Karen Vantvelt) used the context of TFM to develop a part of a nomadic installation and performance on gardening and homely relationships.

Weekend-long Gathering and Exhibition: MSP Presents - at Art Utrecht/Casco Art Institute (September 2022)
MAFA alumni hosted a weekend-long gathering and presented their practices at Casco Art Institute, coordinated by alumna Katayoon Barzegar. In the courtyard of Casco the public experienced a sound piece combined with objects in public space by Cara Farnan. P-K-K-P (Parvaneh Karimi en Karen Vantvelt)developed the “Leaving Traces” a further iteration of their nomadic installation, this time with a focus on food and homely relationships, as a part of CareFull, Art Utrecht.
The indoor exhibition involved artistic documentation by Sinwah Lai on her forest research and walking practice. Gizem Üstüner spoke in her presented videos “Low-Budget Projects” about various urgencies, and concerns that play a crucial role in artistic production, yet are still not visible enough in the outcome. Examples include stress about an approaching visa or application deadline, a rejected or unanswered funding proposal, an imbalance of many side jobs with temporary, or a not wanted or enjoyed competition with a colleague.
Alena Vinokurova invited her collective ‘sata taas’, whose members are the representatives of the indigenous people - Sakha and Even(k) (Yakutia). In their photo installation, they aim to consider and reflect on ways in which decolonial practices could be coupled with cultural action and applied in the context of the Arctic regions. In his long-term project ‘The Art of Loving Ourselves’ Jinxiao Zhou presented another chapter of this ongoing artistic research of what self-love can do and mean to our being together. This resonated with Amy Webb’s artist collection of presented jars filled with substances, herbs and liquids that help her to face anxieties. Another part of the exhibition entailed again work that has been further developed by Kaylie Kist from the Art 1 exhibition, and Angelina Kumar’s Gunar project.

Publication project: MSP publication (2022)
Over the course of 2022 Karen Vantvelt conceptualised and initiated a publication project for which she invited all alumni of the classes of 19/20 and 20/21 (participants due to compensation money). The magazine-publication invited all artists to contribute what they feel they would like to contribute, as long as it fitted in the proposed B5 envelop. The format of this publication is based on a publication invented by Isabelle Vanhoutte (HARMONIE magazine, 2010-2016).
The MSP publication has an edition of 120 pieces and was launched at the opening of the Art 1 exhibition. The dissemination of the publication has taken a careful approach of asking people to commit to the wish of the publisher, that is: in the moment of disinterest, one would find a new host or guardian for the publication. Artists contribution include Carina Jansen, Sol Enae Lee, Gerardo Gomez Tondo, Lo Yuen Ming, Cara Farnan, Amy Webb, Kaylie Kist, Parva.K, Al-yene, Fiachra Corr, @No.More.Later, Angelina Kumar, Winston Nanlohy, Sin Wah Lai, Charli Herrington. At this moment there is a second edition of the publication on its way.
All of the projects mentioned above were made possible by the COVID-19 compensation payment by the city of Utrecht and HKU, intended for alumni of the classes of 19/20 and 20/21. For more context on MSP visit this link