Shiraz Bayjoo: Searching for LibertaliaThe New Art Exchange, Nottingham 19 Jan - 17 Mar 2019 Searching for Libertalia is a pseudo- archive presented by artist Shiraz Bayjoo linking three historical narratives about the island of Madagascar. The exhibition intertwines the island’s history of piracy with the fictional story of Captain Misson, slave trading by the French East India Company between the 17th and 19th centuries...
Shiraz Bayjoo: Ile de France presented at AKAA, Paris 20189 - 11 Nov 2018 Concurrent with Shiraz Bayjoo's participation in the 4th Biennale de Casablanca
and ahead of his forthcoming In Search of Libertalia show at The New Art Exchange and Ile de France installation at the 14th Biennale of Sharjah next year, Ed Cross Fine Art presents a screening of his acclaimed Ile de France Film accompanied by still photographs and an installation of smaller images, both from his Ile de France body of work.
Ile de France 16mm HD Film, 2015 31mins 18secs
Ile de France (2015) is a non-narrative film focusing on Mauritius' landscape, architecture and the details of objects tracing its colonial history and multicultural social fabric.
Using a painterly approach to the moving image, Shiraz Bayjoo (b. Mauritius 1980) invites us on a lyrical journey through the island, using tracking shots of details of the rugged coastal landscape and jungle encountered by seventeenth century Dutch colonisers, of the French graffiti on early settlements, of the objects of prayer in a traditional Muslim merchant timber house, of footage of independence celebrations from Britain in 1968 playing on a domestic TV set, and of the missing key of an ancient piano in a former sugar baron's mansion. Whilst the film is absent of protagonists, Bayjoo skilfully conveys the island's complex social history.
The film catches a soft light outlining the place of structures and objects in contemporary Mauritian life. Alongside the film, a series of postcards drawn from Ile Maurice (2009) and Extraordinary Quarantine (2014) a seres of Ile de France prints capture everyday scenes, whose simple framing reveal new details and insights at each viewing.
Ile de France offers a tapestry of histories that unfold like the roots of the banyan tree that permeates the island. A polyphony of sounds, narratives, languages and songs weave through the visual footage. The soundtrack also captures the roar of the ocean as a reminder of its indomitable presence throughout history.
Bayjoo's work often focuses on representation, on material objects as conveyors of personal stories to counter official histories. Working across different media, he brings moving image work together with objects and documents to offer a physical and intimate space of encounter.
Ile de France (Isle of France) is titled after Mauritius' name under French rule (1710-1810), a loaded term marking out its role as a microcosm of France to contribute to the trade and industry of its Empire. Islands are also the locations where utopian desires can be projected: the setting for the Enlightenment era novel Paul et Virginie (1788) by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, or the location of anarchist societies of pirate or 'maroon' escaped slaves. Yet the film also reminds us of the darker side of imperial rule including passages from Saint-Pierre's diary outlining violence and slavery.
By looking at colonial histories and their legacies in the Indian Ocean, Bayjoo examines the deeper roots of globalisation. In a time when the adage 'no man is an island, entire of itself' is as prescient as ever, Bayjoo's work highlights the complexity of the creolisation of people, languages and environments.
Ile de France has been screened and exhibited at: INIVA, London; Gasworks, London; 198 Gallery, London; Greenlease gallery, Missouri, USA; SAW Video, Canada (2015), ICAIO; British Council; Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius; Averard hotel, London (2016); Clark House, Mumbai (2017), the 21st Biennale of Sydney; MADA, Monash University, Melbourne; Glynn Vivian, Swansea; 13th Biennale de Dakar (2018). Forthcoming exhibitions include: Sharjah Biennale (2019).
Supported by the Arts Council of England & The Mill
Development supported by Gasworks Gallery and INIVA
Shiraz Bayjoo (b. 1980) is a Mauritian artist based between London and Mauritius, whose work focuses upon the legacies of European colonialism across the Indian Ocean region. Bayjoo studied at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (1998-2001) and was artist in residence at Whitechapel Gallery (2011), a recipient of the Gasworks fellowship and the Arts Council of England (2014). He has exhibited at Tate Britain (2010), the Institute for International Visual Arts INIVA, London (2015), the 13th Biennale of Dakar and the 21st Biennale of Sydney (both 2018). Forthcoming projects include the 14th Biennale of Sharjah and a solo presentation at the New Art Exchange, Nottingham (both 2019). His work is represented in public and private collections both in Europe and Asia. Bayjoo is a founding member of the artist collective The Working Collection with Brook Andrew and Rushdi Anwar.
Emily Butler is Mahera and Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery. Projects include the ongoing Artists’ Film International programme, survey exhibitions such as The London Open 2018, Electronic Superhighway (2016), major solo shows by Hannah Höch (2014), John Stezaker, Wilhelm Sasnal (2011), displays from collections including ISelf (2017-18) and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (2017), commissions by artists such as Katja Novitskova (2018), Benedict Drew (2017), Kader Attia (2013) and Rachel Whiteread (2012), as well as festivals such as Art Night 2017. She previously worked in the British Council’s Visual Arts Department, and contributes to international publications and independent projects such as Open Source 2015 and 2016 where she worked with Shiraz Bayjoo.