ABOUT

 


Cristina Morales is a London-based Spanish cultural activist. With a BA in Socio-cultural Anthropology from the University of Barcelona and a MA in Arts & Culture Production from the Open University of Catalonia, she has become a curator, writer and self-taught multidisciplinary artist linking art with politics. She has worked as a socially engaged cultural producer of many kinds for organisations such as HostelArt, Ribermusica and Interarts in Barcelona or Black Cultural Archives, Peckham Platform, Mahogany Carnival Arts and Haringey Arts in London to mention a few. Cristina is the founding curator of the first decolonial thinktank mapping Cultural Activism worldwide Counterspace. She is the founding artist of the Situationist brand of political designs and performances Totem Taboo. And she writes periodically on Decoloniality and counter-narratives, on Social Practice Art and Cultural Activism, and on African arts & culture, published by national, international and specialised media such as the London Institute of Contemporary Arts; El Mundo; Humanities, Arts & Society; A Beautiful Resistance; Inhabit; Wiriko; and Radio Africa.

Long bio.

CURATORIAL ACTIVISM

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An Alternative Map of the Universe ~ design by Marcelo Vendramel. Curated by Niccolo Moronato, Jessica Taylor and Abbas Zahedi for Guest Projects in London, 2019. Courtesy of the curators and the International Curators Forum.

Counterspace | 2019 – Present, London. Counterspace is the first decolonial thinktank mapping Cultural Activism worldwide. Connecting the dots it creates the first global directory, network and social movement linking the countercultural experiences and radical culture shakers (artists, curators or both) who are creatively decolonising culture, inspiring others to join the collective machinery towards change. Apart from the countercultural directory browsable by continent, praxis and colonial construct, it also offers other online and offline tools and resources such as panel and roundtable talks,  decolonial labs, a radical imagination library, online and printed publications.

Founding Curator | Researcher. Curator. Editor. Author. Speaker. Workshop facilitator.  Communication. Key achievements: Founding curator of the first online and offline decolonial thinktank, countercultural directory and social movement mapping and exploring Cultural Activism worldwide. Community organising fostering Social Practice Art global networks and unity as a key liberation factor in a – still dividing – identity politics activist scene.

 

Haringey Arts | 2016-2017, London. Haringey Arts is a community interest company developing the North London living/working converted warehouses district of Haringey connecting the creative talent in the area through events, workshops and collaborations creating profile.

Assistant Curator | Curation of commissioned artwork for warehouse related projects. Social Media Manager of ‘Tottenham Creative Warehouse District’. HA website updates & newsletters. Art programme curation for London primary schools with HA artists. Key achievements: Groundbreaking neighbourhood-based platform for gentrification-displaced artists, contexts of care/ dissent/ liberation and intentional intersection spaces for community development.

Black Cultural Archives | 2015, London. BCA is the first national Black Culture heritage public institution in the UK. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and celebrate Black Culture in Britain.

Relationship & Development Assistant | Digital Marketing. Key achievement: Revealing hidden histories of Britain’s Black heritage focusing on social and political issues through art.

Peckham Platform | 2015, London. Peckham Platform is a social art gallery connecting people, art and place in the South London neighbourhood of Peckham believing that communities can inform and shape their engagement with their locality by working with contemporary visual artists bringing meaningful contemporary Social Practice alive influencing policy making in the area and beyond.

Gallery Assistant | Assisting ‘Twelve’ exhibition by Melanie Manchot, ‘Cuming: a Natural Selection’ exhibition by Janetka Platun and ‘Doing Nothing is Not an Option: in Memory of Nigerian Writer and Activist Ken Saro-Wiwa’ exhibition by Michael McMillan. Key achievement: Fostering Social Practice Art in disenfranchised and gentrificated Peckham neighbourhood.

 

Interarts | 2014, Barcelona. Interarts is a private agency which specialises in human development through culture via cultural policies and cultural cooperation.

Project Assistant – Content Curator | Curator of Fomecc – Creative Industries Networking Platform in Spain, South America and West Africa, researching and selecting content, community build-up and follow-up. Key achievement: Community organising fostering creative industries international networks.

Ribermusica |  2007-2009, Barcelona. Ribermusica is a nonprofit organisation with a long trajectory working on social art using music as a tool for cohesion in Barcelona’s neighbourhood La Ribera through several community-based projects. Among them, Ribermusica Festival which brings music performances into unusual places.

Assistant Curator | Booking of 20 unusual venues (shops, libraries, barbershops, bakeries, parks, restaurants, hotels …) for editions 2007, 2008 and 2009. Key achievements: Hosting horizontal music performances, creating contexts of care/ dissent / liberation and intentional intersection spaces for community gathering / development.

HostelArt | 2005-2013, Barcelona. HostelArt was a groundbreaking platform in the independent backpackers hostel sector creating an alternative room for arts & culture by developing a nonprofit project where artists, travellers + city audience and hostels, benefited from a free monthly cultural programme. And where artists benefited from international art residencies in other European independent backpackers hostels.

Founding Curator |  Production, organisation, administration and communication of ninety-six art exhibitions, four hundred concerts, four hundred Dj sessions, four hundred screenings, two charity theme Festivals, a fashion catwalk, one hundred design markets, five outdoor live graffiti paintings, five big decoration projects and three international art residencies in other European independent backpackers hostels.  Key achievements: Democratising art, creating different art circuits, providing space for Barcelona’s multidisciplinary arts underground scene, facilitating international and local community gathering and intentional intersection contexts of dissent / liberation. Inspiring following independent backpackers hostels bringing arts & culture to their spaces worldwide.

WRITTEN ACTIVISM

ESSAYS / ARTICLES

DECOLONIALITY AND COUNTERNARRATIVES


Kiyoshi Awazu- Japan, 1971-1975.

London Institute of Contemporary Arts | ICA is a London-based institution supporting radical arts & culture. This essay was featured in ICA Daily permanent archive of recommended reading, viewing and listening from the ICA‘s curatorial team. Publication | ”The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’– May, 2020.

Inhabit | Inhabit is a French publication providing tools for freedom. This Pandemic Trilogy was selected by Inhabit as one of the best readings of the entire pandemic along with authors such as Naomi Klein, David Abram and Giorgio Agamben among others and featured in their permanent archive Territories. Publications | ”The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’– May, 2020. On Crisis and Meaning. And the Liminal Revolution in-Between.’– May, 2020. A Power-exposing Microbe Called Crown.’ – March, 2020. 

A Beautiful Resistance | A Beautiful Resistance is an American anti-capitalist and pagan organisation running Gods & Radicals Press. Publications | ‘The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’ – May, 2020. On Crisis and Meaning. And the Liminal Revolution in-Between.’ – May, 2020.

SOCIAL PRACTICE ART AND CULTURAL ACTIVISM : HUMAN AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ART


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Subversive forms of Social Sculpture by Joseph Beuys- Germany, 1973.

Humanities, Arts & Society  + Memory of the Future | HAS is a Paris-based organisation by UNESCO-MOST, International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences, Global Chinese Arts and Culture Society and Memory of the Future, which mission is to create a worldwide movement of artists and thinkers demonstrating what is the role and impact of arts on society and universal issues. This essay was published in English and French in a joint project called Open Windows. Publication | The Common Thread: Art as Counterspace.’– April, 2020.

El Mundo | Voces is a Spanish foundation with a blog in the Spanish national press El Mundo advocating for human and social development through disruptive arts & culture. Publication | Intercultural Dialogues through Art.’ – March, 2014.

AFRICAN AND AFRICAN DIASPORA ARTS & CULTURE


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Gregory Isaacs at African Museum by Beth Lesser – Jamaica, 1983.

Radio Africa Magazine  | Spanish cultural container dedicated to contemporary African arts & culture. Publication | ‘Bronx : Africa. The influence of African Culture in Bronx.’ – February, 2016.

Wiriko | Spanish magazine specialised in contemporary African arts & culture. Publications |  ‘From Roots Reggae to Dancehall in Jamaica.’ – January, 2016. Staying Power: Afro-British Self-Representation.’– April, 2015. Afro Comb: 6.000 Years of Culture, Politics and Identity.’ – October, 2013. African Echoes: On Cosmopolitan Identities and Trends.’– March, 2013.

 

 

 

ARTISTIC ACTIVISM

 

‘Space is The Place’ by Totem Taboo, Paris 2018. Musician: Celia Wa. Photography: Damien Paillard.

Totem Taboo | 2012 – Present, International. Totem Taboo is a Situationist brand designing political scenes + scenic artifacts building new collective imaginaries through the visual narrative of the symbol.

Founding Artist | Designer. Maker. Producer. Stylist. Art Director. Communication. Key achievements: First brand of contemporary ethnic / African fashion in Spain since 2012. First Spanish brand present in the most outstanding contemporary ethnic art & design shows in Europe such as Labo International Paris, 2012; Ethno Tendance Brussels, 2012 ; Afropunk Paris, 2016 or Africa Utopia London, 2017 to mention a few. First contemporary ethnic / African fashion brand dressing the contemporary free jazz scene with a Sun Ra’s inspired collection. First contemporary ethnic / African fashion brand creating Debord-inspired performative ‘Situations’. Stocked at biggest museum of anthropology in Europe –Quai Branly Museum‘s boutique in Paris, and the biggest African fashion hub in London, Soboye . Part of the  itinerant scenic fashion collective exhibition Parures organised by conscious fashion organisation Universal Love exhibited to date at Klimafestivalen in Oslo – Norway, 2018.

Mischief Makers at Brighton Pride featured in The Observer by The Guardian and BBC News, UK 2018.

Mischief Makers Carnival Arts | 2016 – 2018, London / UK. Mischief Makers is led by  freelance independent Carnival artist Emma Garofalo specialised in large scale kinetic costumes / puppetry & performance for community development projects all over United Kingdom.

Freelance Costume Assistant & Performer | Costume assistant for Northampton Carnival -London, 2018.  Performer for Brighton Pride Parade – Brighton, 2018.   ‘Anima Mundi’ Costume assistant for Luton International Carnival (EMCCAN Caribbean Carnival Queen first prize winner) – London, 2017 and Extinction Rebellion – London, 2019. Workshop assistant for Kew Gardens  – London, 2017. Costume assistant & performer for ‘Metamorphosis’ at Wandsworth Arts Fringe – London, 2017; Kew Gardens – London, 2017 and Camp Bestival  – Dorset, 2016. Key achievements: Fostering /embodying human rights themed participatory arts and politics of public space.

Mahogany Carnival Arts  | 2016, London. Mahogany is a group of multi-disciplinary artists led by Clary Salandy and Speedy Ramdeen – trained originally with Peter Minshall – who design and create Carnival large scale kinetic sculptures using the human body in the art form of ‘Mas Making’, Masquerade or Street Theatre having been instrumental in introducing such art across the UK and also being a seminal force in educating European communities in the development of Carnival as a catalyst for bringing together people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Freelance Costume Assistant & Performer | Costume assistant and performer for Lord Kitchener-inspired ‘London is The Place for Me’ collection for the 50th Anniversary of Notting Hill Carnival, winner of first prize and getting a Mahogany’s costume featured in page 29th of current British passport. Key achievements:  Fostering /embodying human rights themed participatory arts and politics of public space.


Situation Num I: Totem Taboo takes France’s Nation Square, Paris 2017. Photography: Fransi Nieto.

Other Live Art Interventions ~ Participatory / Situationist Performances:  Selva | 2015-2016, London. Performer for Trans-form fundraiser (first Carnival in India) at The Bussey Building – London, 2016. And Latin culture promoter Movimientos ‘s 10th anniversary at Rich Mix – London, 2015. Our Brixton | 2015, London. Performer for dancing occupation of Tesco supermarket on Brixton Hill, former community music venue. Brixton I love I care | 2014, London.  Performer for Brixton’s traffic lights customisation during gentrification. Projecta | 2011-2013, Barcelona. Performer for ‘Paint your Face’ during Spanish Occupy 15-M / Anti-austerity Movement and ‘Tube Anti-Xmas Musical‘. Walking Gallery | 2012, Barcelona. Performer for Barcelona’s Walking Gallery.

FOR THE PEOPLE

Please check my upcoming offerings in the Offering break-down menu above.


Credits: A Guide of Alternative Nows is a collaboratively created book by Amber Hickey, published by The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press in 2012.