discussion panel

The Sacred and the Profane

featuring JJ Charlesworth, Byzantia Harlow and Jan Tarnas

JJ Charlesworth

a writer and art critic. Since 2006 he has worked on the editorial staff of the London-based international art magazine ArtReview, where he one of the editors. JJ studied fine art at Goldsmiths College, London, in the mid-1990s, before turning his hand to criticism. He has written reviews, articles and commentaries for publications such as Art MonthlyModern PaintersTime Out LondonThird Text and the Daily Telegraph, and online platforms such as art-agenda, artnet.news and CNN Style. JJ writes frequently on the intersection of politics and art, particularly on current 'culture wars' debates in Europe and America. Taking inspiration from the Marxist political tradition, JJ describes himself as a left-libertarian and humanist, opposed to all forms of misanthropic, anti-human cultural tendencies, whether these come from the 'progressive' left or 'conservative' right.


Manick Govinda

an independent writer, artists mentor, lecturer, curator and arts consultant. He has previously worked closely with many critically acclaimed artists such as Zarina Bhimji, Zineb Sedira, Franko B, David Blandy and Larry Achiampong to name a few. He is the co-curator alongside Agnieszka Kolek of Culture Tensions, a new series of public discussions and conversations at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art. Manick describes himself as an Eclecticist, open to different ideas and thoughts, open to unresolved contradictions. His Secular/Hindu/Muslim family background is one aspect of his eclectic life.


Byzantia Harlow

graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2015. Solo exhibitions include Take What Resonates, Harlesden High Street, London (2021); Lunar Water, Platform Southwark, London (2019) and From the same source I have not taken, Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London (2018). Group exhibitions include Shaking the Habitual, Galeria Duarte Sequeira, Portugal (2020); Earth Eaters, Cole Projects, London (2020); Ancient Deities, Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh (2020); Moving Oracles curated by Johanna Janssen, Berlin (2020); Hummadruz, Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall (2018) and Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA London & Bluecoat Liverpool (2016). Harlow’s practice draws on faith, belief, ritual, replication and gaps between experience and effect. Her installations ask viewers to take a leap of faith through the door to possible enlightenment and potential disillusionment. Alongside her art practice Harlow works as a Psychic Reader using a Tarot Deck she created. She has a project on Soho Radio exploring theoretical concerns in collaboration with invited guests.


Agnieszka Kołek

artist, curator and co-founder of Passion for Freedom London Art Festival. She holds MA in Fine Art from the University of Arts London. She was brought up as a Catholic. As a child she suffered a serious illness which made her realise how everything is impermanent and every moment is precious.


Jan Tarnas

an art historian, philosopher, and an art and literary critic. Since 2018, a PhD student in the Faculty of Philosophy of the Catholic University of Lublin. His research fields include art ontology, methodology, and philosophy; art history and theory; and literary theory. He is currently writing a doctoral dissertation on the ontology of the work of art. Managing Editor of Obieg since January 2021.

Debates have been financed by
Partner organization
Media partners
  • Cover photo
    • Film still from the animation In the Shadow: A Modern Odyssey by Lubomir Arsov


  • About the debate
    • Admission free.
    • The event streamed live at Facebook and YouTube.
    • The recording of the event (with subtitles in Polish and English) is available here.