affordable art fair racist email

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Vietnamese curator told not to attend art event because of ‘coronavirus anxiety’

'Your presence on the stand would unfortunately create hesitation on the part of the audience to enter the exhibition space.'

Mar 5, 2020, 7:43 pm



Allyson Waller

A Vietnamese curator is the recent victim of racist sentiments that are being exhibited in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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Museum curator Raquelle Azran requested that curator An Nguyen not assist at the upcoming Affordable Art Fair in London since Nguyen’s “presence on the stand would unfortunately create hesitation” due to Nguyen being Asian.

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Screenshots of the email have circulated online, with many calling the email “racist” and chastising Azran.

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In a statement to the Daily Dot, Azran, who specializes in contemporary Vietnamese Fine Art, apologized for her remarks.

“I (apologize) unreservedly for any (offense) caused by my actions,” Azran said. “They were insensitive and in hindsight reflected poor judgement for me to cancel An Nguyen joining my stand as an assistant…I shall continue, as I have over the past two decades, to encourage and exhibit Vietnamese artists and help them achieve the recognition they deserve.”

The Daily Dot has reached out Nguyen for direct comment but has not received a response.

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In an Instagram Story in response to the now-viral email, Nguyen said the bigger question at hand does not “solely” fall on Azran.

“If you are seeing that the issue is solely with the person in question alone it is not: It is the systematic structure of knowledge production that informs some us that normalizing non-aggressive discrimination is acceptable, which needs to change,” Nguyen said.

The Affordable Art Fair released a statement saying the fair had no involvement in Azran’s email and announced Azran would no longer be exhibiting her gallery at the fair.

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The Affordable Art Fair has not issued a formal response as to whether Azran will be permitted at future events.


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*First Published: Mar 5, 2020, 7:43 pm