In numerous international exhibitions, new perspectives and alternative ways of perceiving the world are being presented. Alongside this ongoing trend, Korean art leaders have been incorporating new voices into mainstream art history.
Binna Choi (b. 1977), a South Korean curator and the director of the Casco Art Institute in Utrecht, will be one of the three curators leading the Hawai‘i Triennial 2025 (HT25).
Choi will collaborate with Wassan Al-Khudhairi, an independent curator, and Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu, an independent curator and faculty member at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (Honolulu), to curate the fourth edition of the Triennial. The exhibition will take place across the Hawaiian Islands from February 15 to May 4, 2025.
“After a decade of exploring ‘the commons’ and its art across Europe and Asia, I have encountered its most palpable presence right here in Hawai‘i, in the middle of the Pacific,” Choi said. “With aloha and deep gratitude, I will continue learning about the power and beauty of this land and the (inter)generational, native/non-native collaborative work of protecting it and its values as I carry this special responsibility of curating Hawai‘i Triennial 2025.”
Binna Choi is among the first Koreans to lead an organization located outside Korea. She has been serving as the director of the Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons in the Netherlands since June 2008.
Casco Art Institute was established in 1990 as an independent nonprofit art organization that aims to be an experimental platform that shares ethics and values such as diversity, equity, pluralism, and sustainability through a collaborative process.
Binna Choi’s curatorial and collaborative art practice at the Casco Art Institute breaks through institutionalized and binary systems by exploring the commons, which suggests multi-layered, collaborative, decolonial, post-capitalist, matriarchal, and solidarity economies.
Her most significant curatorial collaboration projects at Casco include Grand Domestic Revolution (2009–2012), We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning (2015–2016), and Japan Syndrome (2013).
Choi served as co-artistic director of the Singapore Biennale 2022, Natasha, which runs until March 19, 2023. She was also one of the curators of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?), in 2016.
As a member of the Akademie der Künste der Welt (Academy of the Arts of the World, ADKDW) in Cologne, Germany, she curated the exhibition project Gwangju Lessons (2020), which traveled to the Asia Culture Center in Gwangju, South Korea. Choi is also a member of the faculty at the Dutch Art Institute and an advisor for Afield.
Wassan Al-Khudhairi, one of the co-curators of HT25, is a curator who specializes in modern and contemporary art from the Arab world. She is an independent curator and curatorial advisor for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, where she was appointed Chief Curator in 2017. Al-Khudhairi was the first director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. She was co-curator of the 6th Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan in 2017 and co-artistic director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2012.
Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu is a Native Hawaiian who has been working for 15 years at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. She worked on the landmark exhibition, E Kū Ana Ka Paia: Unification, Responsibility and the Kū Images, in 2010. She is currently an associate specialist in Public Humanities and Native Hawaiian Programs within the American Studies Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
The Hawai‘i Triennial is the state’s largest contemporary art exhibition, held at various locations across Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Hawai‘i Contemporary, which was formerly known as the Honolulu Biennial Foundation until 2019, was established in 2015 and held its first biennial in 2017. The institution aims to connect the various communities throughout the Pacific Ocean region and beyond. The Hawai‘i Triennial contributes to the local arts ecosystem and gathers diverse ideas through contemporary art.