Image: Shiraz Bayjoo, ‘Ile de France’ (2015), HD video still.
Shiraz Bayjoo’s commission Pran Kouraz (take courage), 2019, explores notions of migration and displacement through a 13 minute, 16mm film made with pupils from Mission Grove primary school, Walthamstow. Bayjoo asked the children to consider their rights as young people alongside their own experiences of courage and overcoming adversity. Together they interrogated the myriad experiences of trans-migratory groups today, bringing together their understandings of displacement, loss and courage and voicing the importance of personal agency in the world they will inherit.
Bayjoo places these against his own experience of flight and resistance from Mauritius, once known as the Maroon republic. The story of the enslaved Maroon becomes a wider metaphor for journeys of escape, overcoming and the transformation of self.
This new work includes sculptural costumes inspired and worn by the children and a performance devised in collaboration with Mauritian dramaturg David Furlong.
Co-commissioned with Iniva and Art Night. The work with young people has been facilitated through Iniva Creative Learning (ICL) which encourages emotional literacy. ICL evolved out of a long standing partnership between Iniva and A Space, an arts and therapies service.
Curated by Helen Nisbet — her first edition as Art Night’s Artistic Director — the all-night programme will take place on 22 June 2019, beginning at 5.00pm in King’s Cross and 7.00pm in Walthamstow. Art Night takes place as part of the official programme for the first ever Mayor’s London Borough of Culture in Waltham Forest.