Onyeka Igwe: history is a living weapon in yr hand
Preview: Friday 12 January, 6–8 pm
history is a living weapon in yr hand is a solo exhibition of new and reconfigured work by London-based artist Onyeka Igwe.
The exhibition will be centred around a new two-screen adaptation of Igwe’s dual timeline experimental film A Radical Duet (2023). The film imagines what happened when two women of different generations, but both part of the post-war independence movement, came together in London to put their fervour and imagination into writing a revolutionary play. The film depicts this process, and envisages what that play would look like, if staged today.
1947 London was a hub of radical anti-colonial activity. International intellectuals, artists, and activists like Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Sylvia Wynter, C.L.R. James, Kwame Nkrumah, and George Padmore were all in London at the eve of the end of British colonialism. Individually, they were agitating for their respective countries’ national independence, but did they meet? And if they all did, what did they discuss? What did they conjure?
The film will be accompanied by elements of the set design and props from the making of A Radical Duet, taking inspiration from Sylvia Wynter’s ideas on theatrical adaptation. Wynter builds on Brechtian principles of modern epic theatre and advises on how set design can support a theatre to ‘explode [social] fears by bringing them out into the light of day’.
Join us for a first look round the exhibition on Friday 12 January from 6–8 pm. Book your ticket
For this exhibition, Igwe will be working with Collective Text, an organisation supporting accessibility in art and film through creative captioning, audio description and interpretation.
A Radical Duet was funded by Film London Artist Moving Image Network, Bonington Gallery, June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive, and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities Cultural Programme. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
history is a living weapon in yr hand is produced in collaboration with Peer Gallery, London, where it will be presented in autumn 2024.
Peer is a not-for-profit free-to-access space for contemporary art, located in the neighbourhood of Hoxton in East London. They place artists, young people and local communities at the heart of their internationally recognised programmes of public exhibitions held in their street-facing gallery, an ongoing series of workshops, talks and events, as well as offsite artist commissions produced in the local area.
Onyeka Igwe is a London-born and based moving image artist and researcher.
Her work is aimed at the question: how do we live together? Not to provide a rigid answer as such, but to pull apart the nuances of mutuality, co-existence and multiplicity.
Onyeka’s practice figures sensorial, spatial and counter-hegemonic ways of knowing as central to that task. For her, the body, archives and narratives both oral and textual act as a mode of enquiry that makes possible the exposition of overlooked histories.
She has had solo/duo shows at MoMA PS1, New York (2023), High Line, New York (2022), Mercer Union, Toronto (2021), Jerwood Arts, London (2019) and Trinity Square Video, London (2018). Her films have screened in numerous group shows and film festivals worldwide.
Currently, she is Practitioner in Residence at the University of the Arts London and she will participate in the group show ‘Nigeria Imaginary’ in the national pavilion of Nigeria at the upcoming 60th Venice Biennial in 2024. She was awarded the New Cinema Award at Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival 2019, 2020 Arts Foundation Fellowship, 2021 Foundwork Artist Prize and has been nominated for the 2022 Jarman Award and Max Mara Artist Prize for Women. Onyeka is represented by Arcadia Missa Gallery.
Join us for a first look around history is a living weapon in yr hand, a new exhibition by Onyeka Igwe, a London-born and based moving image artist and researcher. Her work is aimed at the question: how do we live together? She is interested in the prosaic and everyday aspects of black livingness and exploring […]
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