• Curated Exhibition
  • The Showroom, London
  • 2015

The Chimurenga Library

The Showroom 63 Penfold Street London NW8 8PQ Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm Pan African Space Station (PASS) broadcast: 7-11 October, 2-8pm Extended exhibition opening hours during PASS: 12-8pm sorryyoufeeluncomfortable residency: From Africa to Future. Thursday 29 October, 6.30-8.30pm Living Archive with Nadeem Din-Gabisi, Debbie Golt and Etienne Joseph Oscillations Over Oceans Continued with Rabz Lansiquot & Nyasha Mangera-Lakew and Auntie Flo Thursday 12 November, 6.30-8.30pm From Africa to Future Study Day Saturday 14 November, 12-6pm The Otolith Collective and The Showroom present the Cape Town-based outfit Chimurenga. For this their first UK presentation, Chimurenga will infiltrate The Showroom's building in the form of 'The Chimurenga Library', inserting themselves into the existing frameworks, functions and structures of the space without displacing its everyday activities. Founded by Ntone Edjabe in 2002, Chimurenga (a Shona word that loosely translates as "struggle for freedom") is at the centre of vibrant new cultural projection across Africa, which includes championing new music, literature and visual arts. Drawing together myriad voices from across the continent and the diaspora, Chimurenga takes many forms operating as an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa. Outputs include a journal of culture, art and politics of the same name, a quarterly broadsheet called The Chronic, The Chimurenga Library - an online resource of collected independent pan-African periodicals and personal books, and the Pan African Space Station (PASS) an online music radio station and pop-up studio. For the first week The Chimurenga Library will play host to PASS with a live broadcasting programme of music, interviews and events with Chimurenga collaborators in London including musicians, journalists, writers, curators and filmmakers. The live broadcast studio will function amidst a major cartographic installation, mapping a series of "routes" running throughout the building between the two floors. These taped routes will link ideas with people, writing, research, music, publications, record cover design and other materials. Other events will take place off-site in different venues, extending these "routes" still further. After the live broadcast studio closes, the sounds and images generated in this process will live on as part of the library installation until the show closes. Areas of interest will include the work of photographer George Hallett,who used the book jacket and record sleeve as a curated exhibition space during the apartheid era; a critical look at the concept of and crude distinction drawn between Sub-Saharan and Arab Africa; and FESTAC '77 The Second World Black Festival of Arts and Culture held in Lagos from 15 January to 12 February 1977. Working with many UK collaborators such as the London-based collective Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable and UK participants of FESTAC '77, ideas, thinking and debate will move fluidly between events, environments, broadcasts, music and sound recordings, publications, archive material and objects. Bringing together existing work, research material and areas of interest whilst at the same time expanding focal points, the project represents a moment of activation, interaction and expansion within a mobile and complex network of geographical and organisational contexts. Participants in the PASS programme include: Agency for Agency, John Akomfrah, Christine Eyene, Shabaka Hutchings, Dego (2000 Black), Pass Me the Microphone (Amanprit Sandhu and Hansi Momodu-Gordon), Jenny Mbaye, Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, Audrey Brown, Matthew Temple, Anthony Joseph, Ayesha Hameed, Phoebe Boswell, George Shire, Tom Skinner, Larry Achiampong, Ekow Eshun, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Christian Nyampeta, Funsho Ogundipe, Ros Gray, Henriette Gunkel, Michael McMillan and Paul Bradshaw. Events All events are free, no booking necessary. In conjunction with The Chimurenga Library, the sorryyoufeeluncomfortable collective are in residence at The Showroom. SYFU are a group of thinkers, makers, and activists of mixed interests, who are focused on dismantling racist-sexist-ableist-hetero-patriarchy, among other topics, through art, conversations, exhibitions and critical writing. Throughout the PASS broadcast and The Chimurenga Library exhibition, SYFU will explore topics including cultural creolisation, women's contributions to Pan Africanism, storytelling, music and the politics of urban diasporas under the broad title From Africa to Future. Programme: Living Archive with Nadeem Din-Gabisi and Etienne Joseph (Archivist and Researcher) Thursday 29 October, 2015. 6.30-8.30pm. Nadeem Din-Gabisi invites music journalist Debbie Golt from Outerglobe and archivist Etienne Joseph to share their memories through their experiences with music. The public are also invited to bring their own music and share stories about their selection, be it on CD, record, phone, tape or memory stick, and to create an archive collection for The Chimurenga Library. Oscillations Over Oceans Continued / Rabz Lansiquot & Nyasha Mangera-Lakew and Auntie Flo Thursday 12 November 2015. 6.30pm-8.30pm The event explores 'African' electronic music, its production and consumption on the continent and in Europe. Asking what the impact of the increasing popularity of this music style on dance floors in the 'West' does for Africa in terms of representation, appreciation and success. Or if it can be a portal to other aesthetic strategies which could significantly fight against the power of Western cultural hegemony. From Africa to Future Study Day Saturday 14 November, 2015. 12-6pm Join sorryyoufeeluncomfortable in their research in The Chimurenga Library through workshops, film screenings, music, readings and conversations. The collective will be inviting thinkers, educators, makers and the public to collectively think through material in the library and to collaborate on the research for a series of posters. Learn about the material in the library with Ben Verghese of Chimurenga and writer Leeto Thale, listen to selected readings from the library and map various Afro futures with academic Henriette Gunkel. The Chimurenga Library and PASS is co-curated by Chimurenga, The Otolith Collective and The Showroom, and has been supported by Arts Council England, the SA-UK Seasons 2014 and 2015, a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa and the British Council. The project is also generously supported by Wendy Fisher and Caro MacDonald with additional support from Kathy Robins. With thanks to Robert Devereux. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of James Currey, Kodwo Eshun, Ros Gray, Henriette Gunkel, Christian Nyampeta, George Shire, The Stuart Hall Library and Matt Temple (Matsuli Records) in loaning objects for the exhibition. We also gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the British Library in supplying audio recordings for the exhibition. The recordings are drawn from the Library's African Writers' Club collection. Chimurenga, founded in 2002 and based in Cape Town, is a project-based mutable object: a print magazine, a publisher, a broadcaster, a workspace, a platform for editorial and curatorial activities and an online resource. The Otolith Collective is a publicly funded, not-for-profit arts organisation run by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of the award-winning artist collective The Otolith Group. The Otolith Collective curates exhibitions, seminars and screening programmes with museums, galleries and foundations. The Showroom is a space for contemporary art that is focused on a collaborative and process-driven approach to production; be that artwork, exhibitions, discussions, publications, knowledge or relationships.