Archives of Resistance and Repair

Shiraz Bayjoo, Maeve Brennan, Onyeka Igwe, curated by Lexington Davis & Julia DeFabo

Onyeka Igwe | Videostill Specialised Technique | 2018 Courtesy of the artist and BFI National Archive.

Presenting recent works of moving-image and installation art, ARCHIVES OF RESISTANCE AND REPAIR explores artistic engagements
with historical records from a decolonial, anti-imperialist perspective. The work of Shiraz Bayjoo, Maeve Brennan, and Onyeka Igwe deconstructs dominant knowledge regimes by confronting documentary materials with new critical methodologies that foreground intimacy and embodied experience. For each artist, the archive serves as a starting point, a site where personal and public histories converge. They hone in on disparate regions, from Mauritius to Nigeria to the potentially innumerable places implicated in the illicit antiquities trade. Prioritising emotion, memory, and physicality in their encounters with the archive and its holdings, the artists recover marginalised histories and reimagine familiar narratives.

The exhibition illustrates that archives are not neutral sources of information, but bodies of knowledge carefully shaped by individuals and institutions with ideological objectives. The unequal hoarding of information and resources has shaped how history is told and meaning is made. To document and collect information as if it is an inalienable right is a colonial perspective that presumes authority over the privacy of others. Intervening in these repositories and reclaiming the materials they possess, Bayjoo, Brennan, and Igwe create alternative archives based on affinity and care. By exposing the power dynamics that govern control of documents and material history, the three artists reveal tensions between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ histories. Their work questions: who and what has been left out, suppressed, forgotten? Through research-informed practices, the artists demonstrate that the archive is not a static storehouse of material, but a resource for the ongoing production of meaning. Their bodies of work remind us that the future can only be negotiated through reconciliation with our past and its lingering material remnants.

ARCHIVES OF RESISTANCE AND REPAIR is part of a series entitled Dancing at the Edge of the World, curated by Petra Poelzl.

Exhibition Booklet

Neue Galerie Innsbruck
05.11.2021 – 15.01.2022 extended until 26.03.2022

OPENING: 04.11.2021 | 18.00
The openings took place in the context of the Premierentage 2021.


SHIRAZ BAYJOO is a contemporary multi-disciplinary artist who works with film, painting, photography, performance, and installation. His research-based practice focuses on personal and public archives addressing cultural memory and postcolonial nationhood in a manner that challenges dominant cultural narratives. Bayjoo has exhibited with the Institute of International Visual Arts, London; New Art Exchange, Nottingham; 5th Edition Dhaka Art Summit; 14th Biennale of Sharjah; 13th Biennale of Dakar; and 21st Biennale of Sydney. Bayjoo is a recipient of the Gasworks Fellowship and the Arts Council of England. He is an artist in residence at the Delfina Foundation and has recently been awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.

MAEVE BRENNAN is an artist and filmmaker based in London. She is the current Stanley Picker Fine Art Fellow (2019-22) and is participating in British Art Show 9. Solo exhibitions include Chisenhale Gallery, London; The Whitworth, University of Manchester; Spike Island, Bristol; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin; Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Turku, Finland; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria and OUTPOST, Norwich. Her films have been screened internationally at festivals including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Sheffield Doc Fest and FILMADRID (Official Competition 2018). Brennan was a fellow of Home Workspace Program, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2013 -14) and was the recipient of the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018 and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2021.

ONYEKA IGWE is an artist and researcher based in London working between cinema and installation. Through her work, Onyeka is animated by the question — how do we live together? — with particular interest in the ways the sensorial, spatial and non-canonical ways of knowing can provide answers to this question. She uses embodiment, archives, narration and text to create structural ‘figure-of-eights’, a form that exposes a multiplicity of narratives. The work comprises untying strands and threads, anchored by a rhythmic editing style, as well as close attention to the dissonance, reflection and amplification that occurs between image and sound. Her works have been shown in the UK and internationally at film festivals and galleries. She was awarded the New Cinema Award at Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival 2019 and the 2020 Arts Foundation Fellowship Award for Experimental Film.

Special Thanks to ED CROSS FINE ART | London.