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Iniva: 2017 in review

The Stuart Hall Library

Ting-Ting Cheng, On the Desert Island, 2017. Photograph by George Torode.

Those who have worked closely with Iniva this year – artists, curators, writers, scholars and educators – know too well that this endeavour requires steadfast determination as much as a life preserving lust. Two strands of our public programme have given a platform on which to debate a variety of positions: this year the Stuart Hall Library Research Network has explored the theme of virtualities which interrogated subjects as diffuse as decolonial aesthetics to discovering connections between objects, individuals and belief systems through archives or the collusion between carbon trading and industrial forestry. Precarious Decades is our topical and sporadic events programme bringing together artists and curators to examine strategies of hope and subversion through collaboration and allegiance. Given the precarious political moment we find ourselves in now, do artists working today see themselves presenting a different spectrum of historical, theoretical and political influences and encounters? Are new terms of reference for curatorial and artistic practice framed by the experience of the diaspora? All these debates and more have been recorded and you can listen back here.

Through the work of inaugural Stuart Hall Library artist-in-residence, Ting-Ting Cheng, we are constantly reminded of the words of Professor Stuart Hall from 2000: Britain is facing these two possibilities as alternative futures and I want the British to consciously move towards a more cosmopolitan idea of themselves. This month is the last chance to visit this work described as aprofound and challenging subject presented in an immersive deeply moving way’ (Ned Carter Miles in ArtAsiaPacific), before we welcome the next artists-in-residence in February 2018 who are Squirrel Nation. They are a collective of three practitioners who will explore the evolution of diasporic identities and how a sense of belonging or isolation is shaped in the context of cultural or social location and technological channels.

Artists and Exhibition Histories

Keith Piper. Unearthing the Banker’s Bones, 2016. Image courtesy of Bluecoat Liverpool.

Keith Piper’s Unearthing the Banker’s Bones, which was presented at New Art Exchange and included a co-commission with the Arts Council Collection, used the genre of science fiction as a metaphor to play out anxieties around race, class and migration in a world where the banker is a shape-shifting trickster. Our collaboration with Black Artists and Modernism saw two study days presented in the Stuart Hall Library focusing on artists David Medalla and Li Yuan-Chia. Key figures in discussion of transnational and trans-local artistic practices, they defy categorisation under one nation but also settle precariously within the term British artist. Does this label matter? The inter-nation wrestling match continues.

Iniva collaborated with South London Gallery and curated the public programme for the exhibition The Place is Here. Unearthing archival materials in our library, discussing new perspectives on other archives and representing performances by Larry Achiampong and Libita Clayton brought another dimension to artistic practices that anticipated much of the work that Iniva now does.

Our presentation at London Art Fair 2018 (17-21 January 2018) focuses on the practice of British artist Donald Rodney (1961-1998) with a selection of work, some not seen in public before, which captures the breadth of his remarkable practice.

Whose values?

Emotional Learning Cards: Let’s Talk About Values.

Our new pack of Emotional Learning Cards upsets the normalising tendency which views everything British as the same rather than different. Our ambition is to support young people to achieve self-actualisation, so our cards aim to help them maximise their potential, enabling them to do the best that they are capable of. Artist Shiraz Bayjoo was commissioned to make the artwork and the cards, which focus on key life values, are designed to be used in a wide range of settings such as schools, therapy and in the home. They are currently being used in ArtLab, our artist and art therapist in-schools project, which runs over the course of one term, and includes an exhibition in January 2018.

With thanks

To each and every one of our contributors, artists, partners, participants and our volunteers, the team at Iniva sends a heartfelt thanks for your incredible support in 2017 reminding us that our questions remain crucial and life affirming.

As an extra thank you to everyone who receives our newsletter we are offering a seasonal 10% discount in our online shop and 20% on featured items. As a registered charity and a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on funding from a variety of sources to help us achieve our mission. Every donation helps us to support outstanding artists and scholars who delve into those contemporary conundrums of life and enable us to create more horizon expanding experiences for our audiences. Please support our work.