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Artist of the week

Artist of the week: Sheela Gowda

 Sheela Gowda has been nominated for the Artes Mundi prize this year

Sheela Gowda is noiminated for this year’s Artes Mundi art prize alongside Miriam Bäckström (Sweden), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Phil Collins (England), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Darius Mikšys (Lithuania) and Apolonija Šušteršič (Slovenia). Find out more about the prize this year.

Initially trained as a painter, since the 1990s Sheela Gowda has increasingly developed a sculptural and installation practice that explores how materials can make specific reference to the social and cultural context of India. She is known for creating large-scale sculptural installations which take everyday materials as the starting point and for works that combine abstract forms with references to society.

Gowda’s use of unconventional materials is a highly evocative element of her practice, where the tactile qualities of thread, hair, traditional dyes, pattern and weaving, bring the viewer’s attention to a meaning that transposes these elements into social objects and practices located within a network of production and distribution, framed in relation to India’s socio-political legacy.

In 2011 she had her first UK solo exhibition, Therein & Besides, at Iniva at Rivington Place. For the show she created a new large scale installation, of all people,  made up of thousands of wooden chips, roughly carved by craftsmen into votive objects.



They formed part of a composition of larger frames and doors painted emerald green, peppermint, pink and off-white which also reveal the marks of weathering and infestation by insects. Moving through this environment, the viewer is invited to recalibrate their experience of the work from a number of different heights and perspectives.

Collateral was made by rolling, arranging and burning incense on mesh frames to produce intricate patterns. This sculpture of ash has a fragmented and broken appearance which suggests a landscape ravaged by war.

Watch a video of Sheela Gowda installing her work made of burned incense ash at Rivington Place in 2011.

Artist of the week: Shiraz Bayjoo

Artist Shiraz Bayjoo has been busy! He features as artist of the week again thanks to his show ‘Bow Boys Archive‘ as Artist in Residence at The Whitechapel Gallery. Until 26 February 2012.

In his new installation at Whitechapel Gallery, Bayjoo has brought together the formal and thematic elements of his practice to create The Bow Boys Archive; a work generated and researched during his artist’s residency at Bow School of Maths and Computing.  Composed of archive images, portraits of the students, news footage and a barricade of abandoned household and office furniture the installation is as much a contemporary reworking of a history painting as it is an archive. The history painting and the archive function in similar ways, to document histories that shape and form the identities that preserve them.

Bayjoo’s Bow Boys Archive explores histories and notions of collective memory and place. Students’ family stories are set against a history of migration and the fight for human rights. It includes film, photography and painting in an emotionally and politically charged installation.

For the past few years, Shiraz Bayjoo’s work has been exploring collective identities and the symbols, flags and emblems that groups use to represent themselves. This ongoing exploration has seen Bayjoo compiling motifs, myths and narratives that have cultural, political, social and religious resonances, to create visually rich displays that speak as much of the history of painting as the cultural and political histories that they reference.

Shiraz Bayjoo and Iniva

In 2009 Bayjoo transformed Rivington Place’s Education Space into a temporary artist-run factory for the Workforce learning project, making it the setting for a new workforce in response to exhibitions by NS Harsha and Chen Chieh-jen, and in 2011 he ran Social Archive One, a film project aiming to explore the contrasting economics of Rivington Place’s locale with the people who live and work in the area through films made by Bayjoo and members of the public. The project will continue in summer 2012, capturing views of the residents of Shoreditch in the run up to the London Olympics, and the following year after the Olympics are over. Watch the videos from Social Archive One here.

Find out more about Shiraz Bayjoo in Iniva’s archive or visit his website.

Artist of the week: Margareta Kern

Margareta Kern participates in Counterpoint, an exhibition at the Rochelle School, Shoreditch, as part of Platforma Festival from 29 November – 4 December. She was also part of Contrapuntal Perspectives dialogues, as part of which I was in conversation with TJ Demos and Oreet Ashery.

Counterpoint is a group show and multidiciplinary event dedicated to Edward Said’s idea that, on account of their awareness of different realities with respect to culture, nationhood, language, identity and the law, refugees and migrants can create a uniquely plural vision of society.

The works included in the show span a variety of media, examining ideas around issues of exile, migration, displacement and identity. Margareta Kern is showing a video work in this exhibition called Guestures/Gostikulacije created this year.

Double-screen video-installation GUESTures | GOSTIkulacije

Double-screen video-installation GUESTures | GOSTIkulacije, is part of a series of works that stem from artist’s long-term ethnographic, archival and historical research and interviews with the migrant worker women in Berlin, who were part of an organised mass labour migration, from the socialist Yugoslavia to West-Germany, in the late 1960′s. 

Inspired by the principles of the verbatim theatre and its political potential, the video GUESTures | GOSTIkulacije was filmed with actress Adna Sablyich in artist’s studio in London, basing her performance on audio-recordings of conversations between migrant workers and the artist. The resulting work both follows and subverts the impulse of the verbatim style to achieve a certain ‘ideal’ authenticity of expression through the use of documentary material. On two equally sized rectangular screens we can simultaneously follow two complexly linked contents; on one we see the artist creating the film-set, a kind of ‘fictional’ framework for these women’s stories, intervened occasionally by archival footage from German factories in which these women worked, whilst on the other we are solely focused on the actresses performance. The desired effect of the Brechtian ‘distancing’ of the narrative is additionally achieved through occasional subtle interventions by the artist herself, from significant pauses in the interpretation of the text, to the sudden inclusion of the artist’s voice replicating parts of the interview. Each part of the video, is as much a portrait as it is a space of experimentation with the questions of voice, testimony and narrative; document/ary, performativity and the historical imaginary. 

Margareta Kern’s artistic practice engages with the social and political sphere through multi-layered and inter-disciplinary projects. Kern is interested in the relationship of performance, narrative and participation to documentary and experimental image making, as well as in the relationship of art and activism.

Informed by contemporary ethnography, Kern’s work to date has engaged with intimate spaces and narratives, and with questions around visibility, power and representation. She recently organised a series of events, terms & conditions, with Iniva  ranging from talks and discussions to workshops and walking tours, explore the impact of neoliberal capitalism on migration and labour with a focus on the social and economic injustices, inspired by Iniva’s three year project At the Intersection: Art & Economies. You can watch video clips and listen to auido recordings of several of these talks online.

Also showing alongside Margareta Kern is another artist who has previously worked with Iniva, Oreet Ashery who created a piece for Progress Reports.

The venue for this exhibition is: Club Row, Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, E2 7ES.

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Artist of the Week: Agnes Poitevin-Navarre

Agnes Poitevin-Navarre participates in ‘Fellow Artists – Fellow Muses’ at King’s College Cambridge Arts Centre until 26 November

Information about the exhibition: “Maps have the capacity to open worlds of reality and imagination”  wrote Professor Jeremy Black in “Remarkable Maps – Examples of How Cartography Defined, Changed and Stole the World”. The art practice of Agnès Poitevin-Navarre epitomizes that idea. The exhibition at King’s College Arts Centre is a wonderful platform to explore and engage with this conceptual artist’s past and new body of work.

‘The Art of Being Anecdotal’ could be the subtitle of this exhibition that includes the ‘Colour Coding’ series, ‘The Reader’ and the magnificent ‘Fellow Artists, Fellow Muses’ installation that was shown last year at the Royal Geographical Society in London. This solo show also features new work such as the artist hair embroidered floorplans series as well as the newly commissioned ‘Proustian Map of Cambridge’, a collaboration with Cantabrigians that elaborates on the locals’ greatest achievements and pearls of wisdom.

Agnès Poitevin-Navarre is a conceptual artist interested in the limits of categorizations and semantics. She graduated with an MA from the Slade, UCL, in 1997 and has since been exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally. She works across a range of media but is known primarily for her cartographic and anecdotal work. She uses maps as a shorthand to explore notions of identity, nationality and social codes. She also composes collages and masterminds installations, giving them a poetic twist.

Find out more about this exhibition here

Working with Iniva: Agnès Poitevin-Navarre participated in Iniva’s Creative Mapping project, working with Year 7 students to produce Personal Cartographies; on a series of workshops the group identified key words, symbols and pictograms that define their personal, pronoid journeys and with Hackney Community College students working on the Mapping the Creative Process project.

Artist of the week: NS Harsha

NS Harsha exhibited his installation of 192 sewing machines ‘Nations’ at Rivington Place in 2009. The artist is showing again in the UK, this time at the Asia Triennial in Manchester (1 October – 27 November).

His work Thought Mala’ for the Asia Triennial is installed in the John Rylands Library. Visitors are offered spiritual garlands which Harsha has produced to borrow - as they would a book in the library - and are encouraged to handle, wear and meditate over them.


The Victorian gothic building, which is justifiably compared to a cathedral in appearance, has its interior transformed from a site of learning and theory to one of calm contemplation and spiritual reflection by Harsha’s ‘Thought Mala’ piece.  On now it is to be seen by anyone in or visiting Manchester before 27th of November. Visit for details.

NS Harsha lives and works in Mysore, India.  He studied for a BFA in Painting at C.A.V.A. Mysore (1992), has a Masters in Painting from Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda (1995) and received the Sanskriti Award, Sankriti Pratishthan, New Delhi (2003). He was also the recipient of the 3rd Artes Mundi Prize awarded in 2008. NS Harsha worked with Iniva in the 1990s and was also part of Iniva’s Drawing Space: contemporary Indian drawing exhibition in 2000.

Artist of the week: Nilbar Güreş

detail from ‘Self-Defloration’, Nilbar Güreş

A busy couple of months for Nilbar Güreş with two solo shows, the first at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart where she will display ‘Uberkannte Sportaten (Unknown Sports)’, a work which was shown at Rivington place in December of last year alongside the opening of her new comission for the Rivington Place window, Beekeeper.

The Künstlerhaus Stuttgart exhibition opened on the 8th of September and closes at the end of October and will showcase nine other video, photographic and mixed media works, as well as limited edition posters of her ‘Trabzone’ series. The Künstlerhaus will also have the pleasure of showing Güreş’s ‘Wolf and Schaf’ a new work produced this year. Güreş’s will also be representing Turkey’s ‘Rampa’ gallery at Frieze Frame; the 13th to the 16th of October, a new part of the fair for young Galleries who will give their entire space to a single artist.

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Artist of the week: Othello De’souza-Hartley

Othello De’Souza-Hartley is a photographer and visual artist. He received a BA Honors in Media and Cultural with Drama and Theatre Arts from Middlesex University and a Post Graduate in Photography from Central St Martins School of Art. Othello has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in London.

For the past two years he has been doing a part-time MA in Visual Art (Fine Art) at Camberwell College of Art, working on a project that explores Masculinity.

Masculinity Project Phase 3 (IN), 2011 exhibition: Open to the Public Friday 2-Thursday 8 September 2011

Mapping culture was an Iniva Learning project created with Othello De’Souza-Hartley where a group of year 5 and year 6 at Shacklewell school produced a ’culture map’.

The young people photographed places and objects around their school that they felt represented culture, marking them on the map with their personal connections written on index cards. The final map represents a personal and collective.  The project was created in collaboraton with A Space.

Find out more about Iniva Learning projects here:

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Artist of the Week: Sonia Boyce

Network – a new film by Sonia Boyce

From 13 September – 19 November 2011 artist Sonia Boyce will show a specially commissioned film, Newtwork, at Peckham Space. The film explores how forms of social communication such as mobile phones and social networking sites like Facebook have become the most popular ways for young people to maintain their relationships with friends and family.

The artist worked with Southwark Council’s Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA) Young Women’s Group to chart the nature of these relationships and the languages that have formed around these technologies. The exhibition will comprise a series of films, choreographed in the gallery space as an installation: a set of dialogues featuring the young people in front of as well as behind the camera.

Sonia Boyce says: “I was particularly interested in the type of conversations that are generated and amongst groups of young people.  I wanted to explore their inter-connected micro-communities, and that boundary between the public and the private that is bridged online and through personal mobile phones.  It’s fascinating to me that young people’s communities can reach geographically and culturally distant areas through the use of new technology, and how this can challenge traditional notions of the concept of ‘community.”

Information from the Peckam Space website.


Sonia Boyce is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. Her early work addresses issues of race, ethnicity and contemporary urban experience expressed in large pastel drawings and photographic collages, questioning racial stereotypes in the media and in day-to-day life. Recent work combines photographs, collages, films, prints, drawings, installation and sound working collaboratively with audiences.

Boyce was Iniva’s artist in residence in 1998 has created a work for the Rivington Place portfolio which is currently available to view on the 1st floor of Rivington Place. 

Boyce has also contributed to several Iniva publications including Annotating Art’s Histories publication Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers edited by Kobena Mercer, Peep, and Annotations 2 (performance).

Last year she talked in the series of talks organised in partnership with Film & Video Umbrella, Making the Cut. Here is a clip from the talk:

Artist of the week: Idris Khan

Idris Khan new exhibition, Contrary Motion,  at Göteborgs Konsthall, Sweden

This exhibition of Idris Khan’s work will take place from 13 May–21 August 2011. Photography is always present in his work but often in conjunction with other techniques such as film and sculpture; and he continues to explore new techniques and forms of expression. At Göteborgs Konstall amongst other works he shows Listening to Glenn Gould’s Version of the Goldberg Variations while Thinking about Carl Andre, 2010, a 10m long work made of 30 steel panels aligned in two rows, with Bach’s Goldberg Variations blasted into the rough surface.

His work is often about literature, music or selected works from art history, including Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Cello Suites, Philip Glass’ Contrary Motion, the Quran, Sigmund Freud’s The Uncanny, William Turner or Caravaggio. Themes explored pertain to art, time, memory and life – that which may be described as the ego’s existential system of reference in space. Khan’s images, sculptures and videos, repetitive actions take place in which the memory of the preceding event lingers on and actively affects the following one.

In 2006 Iniva jointly commissioned Idris Khan’s film debut with Victoria Miro GalleryIdris Khan: A Memory… After Bach’s Cello Suites. It is a layered film in which cellist Gabriella Swallow plays excerpts from Bach’s Six Suites for the Cello Solo. Khan’s fascination with Bach’s Cello Suites is rooted in the fact that a number of different versions have been published and each performer brings their own knowledge and interpretation, so these fragments of music are repeated but never the same. Find out more.

Born in 1978 in Birmingham, England, Idris Khan lives and works in London. He was educated at the Royal College of Art, London. Since 2004 he has exhibited widely internationally.

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Artist of the week: Shiraz Bayjoo

Artist Shiraz Bayjoo collaborates with members of the public in an exhibition of film and photography discovering economy in Shoreditch through the eyes of the local people

Albion, Redchurch St, photo by Shiraz Bayjoo

On 19 -23 July Social Archive One: An Economic Forecast (Shoreditch) will show at Rivington Place. Artist Shiraz Bayjoo devised this project as part of Iniva’s 3 year project Art at the Intersection: Art & Economies. It harnesses the talents of the general public in the creation of short films interviewing those living in, working in and visiting the area and exploring its changing economy.

Shoreditch is known as the trendy hub of East London, but it was not always so. Once a largely green area and then a slum, run down and undesirable, Shoreditch was not the centre for creative industries it is now, attracting swathes of tourists, revellers and shoppers every weekend.

Teams of aspiring filmmakers and social archivists were guided by Bayjoo to create a series of short interviews teasing out opinions on subjects such as the decline of manufacturing, the gentrification of the area, to questions like: ‘Is Redchurch Street going to be the new Brick Lane?’  Business owners interviewed on film range from the recently opened design shops, vintage shops, cafes, passersby to car park owners and leather goods manufacturers who have been here since the 1970s.

Other work by Bayjoo with Iniva has included the Workforce project which transformed Rivington Place’s Education Space into a temporary artist-run factory, making it the setting for a new workforce in response to exhibitions by NS Harsha and Chen Chieh-jen.

Workforce recreated the collectivising demand of industry as governments call their workforce to mobilise and unite under a common cause, that of nation building. Continuing the legacy of union banners and other collective symbols such as the red flag, Bayjoo brought his workers together beneath the banner of his artistic product. 261 workers contributed over 1000 hours of free labour.

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