Arianna Mercado
curator, writer

Tools of the Trade

Gantala Press
Donna Miranda
Harry Isra Muhammad
Pangrok Sulap
Cường Phạm
Izzy Waite

Cultural workers frequently operate within and through communities. Their labor intersects with several sectors, from the art world, academe, political spheres, and grassroots organizing. While moving across different circumstances and connections, various conflicts and interests arise from their relationships with production. We asked cultural workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, and the United States of America regarding the tools they use in mediating these ties.

Within cultural labor, various tools are used for specific purposes—whether to listen more carefully, externalize ideas, find the right words, or bring a community together. Tools become a fulcrum and necessary material in helping cultural workers continue their practice. The cultural workers in this project reveal their relationship with their own personal and general contexts, sharing the tools that have helped them along the way.

Tools of the Trade was an exhibition I co-curated with Yuji de Torres under Kiat Kiat Projects.