Hold Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand

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Hold Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand is a multi-disciplinary exhibition presented in London as part of SEA ArtsFest 2014. This exhibition features a selection of works from Southeast Asian artists working in the fields of visual arts and moving image.

Taking its title from a line in Auguries of Innocence, a well-loved William Blake poem, Hold Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand is a curatorial exploration on the notion of ‘Grain’, which is a core theme of SEA ArtsFest 2014. For the festival, the word ‘grain’ references the idea of rice, which is a unifying commonality as a food staple in Southeast Asia, as well as a significant economic and cultural feature of the region otherwise vastly stratified and full of difference.

If ‘grain’ is a popular trope with which many approach Southeast Asian culture — with its references to the physical landscape, agricultural production, consumption and trade, the imagery in the title of this exhibition conjures up multiple worlds of possibility in a single handful. The notion of manifold worlds within worlds, imagined in the poem, reflect the diversity and complexity of the region.

Though the line Hold Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand also invokes a physical imagery from the viewer’s perspective, it also refers to the artists taking control of their process of art-making. With each artwork selected, the audience gets to experience specific material contexts in relation to production, as well as an entry point into a larger world of historical connections and multi-directional influences.

The artists participating in the exhibition all have roots or intimate connections in Southeast Asia, but are also living and working all over the world.