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shiraz bayjoo

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.

Art & Economies: Social Archive One

What’s happening in our local community? We found out in Social Archive One

As part of our Art & Economies project, we wanted to focus on our local community. Invia is located in London’s East End in Shoreditch, an area that has seen immigrant groups moving to the area historically. Artists moved in for the cheap rents and this evolved to government introduced regeneration and now the area is well on its way to total gentrification. We invited members of the public and artist Shiraz Bayjoo to become social historians to document local histories and sentiments about the changing economies of the local area on film.

We found a group of leather makers who have been in the area since 1972 to a woman whose family have operated a tea stand since 1919.  Will either of these two firmly established business survive the influx of high end shops to the local area? 

Watch: or

Discovering Shoreditch past and present through film

Inivator Tara Brown explores Shoreditch with the Social Archive One filmmaking project

As someone born and raised in North West London, only moving to the ‘far east’ last summer, Shoreditch first appeared to me as if fully grown and always hipster. And so getting an opportunity to take part in creating a social archive – an economic map of this dynamic area – was definitely of interest to me.

I attended the second workshop on the first day with two other women in the group. After a quick introduction we went off on a flash history tour of Shoreditch and learnt about its transformation from a green and pleasant land to industrial overcrowding, destruction by WWII bombing to the trendy playground it’s become today. The tour was great, if only to orientate myself better. I’m so used to going in one straight line via Rivington Place to Hoxton / Dalston when actually Shoreditch is full of allyways, nooks and crannies to explore.

Back at Rivington Place we were introduced to artist Shiraz Bayjoo who gave us a quick lesson in using technical equipment and we were off, looking for businesses to interview and document. In independent hand bag shops, art galleries and places with no names at all, just addresses we met a variety of people and asked them about their business and the economics of Shoreditch.

Economics is a funny word; it seems to demand expertise and academic excellence on the subject, but in reality affects all of us so strongly we’ve got a view on it. This made all of our subjects shy, but with a bit of pressing we managed to get a sample of their struggles and successes. After a nervous start we all had a turn asking questions and had a rapport with everyone we met. We had our own struggles with the equipment as well – I was a bit rubbish on the camera and the battery ran out part way through the last interview. They were all fantastic and I hope we did them justice… They might even come to the screening – that would be absolutely brilliant.

I left leaving the workshop wanting to have a proper wander around the area, resting in Arnold Circus, site of the world’s first social housing structure, watching reliant robins whizz past by artisan bakers and jewellers. I had seen a new side to the town, a new sense of reality and true grit next to the shiny glass mountain range that is the City. I hope it stays that way, but it’s not Shoreditch’s style – I’ll just have to go along with it she decides to do next.


Films created as part of Social Archive One: An Economic Forecdast (Shoreditch) will be exhibited at Rivington Place from 19 – 23 July, as well as online. There is a screening party on the evening of 21 July from 6:30 – 9pm, all welcome.

Tara Brown is one of the Inivators, a group of young creatives who work with Iniva’s Education Curator and professional artists to create exhibitions and events in response to Iniva’s main programme. Find out more about the Inivators programme here.