New Work: Onyeka Igwe
No Dance, No Palaver

5 July, 2018
– 5 July, 2018
7pm – 9pm
Waterlow Park Centre
Specialised Technique (Onyeka Igwe, 2018). Courtesy of the artist and the BFI archive.

We are delighted to present three films by Onyeka Igwe that make up her series No Dance, No Palaver in the context of our New Work screening series, showcasing recent work by artists based in the UK. 

No Dance, No Palaver is the culmination of Onyeka’s research into the Aba Women’s War of 1929. All of the films use the first anti-colonial uprising in Nigeria as a entry point to experiment with colonial moving images relating to West Africa during the first half of the 20th century. The series serves as an attempt to use critical proximity, being close to, with or amongst, the visual trauma of the colonial archive to transform the way in which we know the people it contains.

The screening will be followed by Onyeka Igwe in conversation with Imani Robinson and Rabz Lansiquot, members of sorryyoufeeluncomfortable.


Her Name in My Mouth 6:02
The film revisions the Aba Women’s War, the first major anti-colonial uprisings in Nigeria, using embodiment, gesture and the archive. The film is structured around the repurposing of archival films from the British propaganda arm cut against a gestural evocation of the women’s testimonies.
Sitting on a Man 6:42
Traditionally, women in Igbo speaking parts of Nigeria, came together to protest the behaviour of men by sitting on or making war on them by adorning themselves with palm fronds, dancing and singing protest songs outside the man in question’s home . This practice became infamous due its prominence as a tactic in the Aba Women’s War, the 1929 all woman protest against colonial rule. Two contemporary dancers reimagine the practice, drawing on both archival research and their own experiences.
Specialised Technique 6:16

William Sellers and the Colonial Film Unit developed a framework for colonial cinema, this included slow edits, no camera tricks and minimal camera movement. Hundreds of films were created in accordance to this rule set. In an effort to recuperate black dance from this colonial project, Specialised Technique, attempts to transform this material from studied spectacle to livingness.

Specialised Technique was developed with the support of FLAMIN, Arts Council England and the Fenton Arts Trust.

Onyeka Igwe is an artist filmmaker, programmer and researcher.
She lives and works in London.
In her non-fiction video work Onyeka uses dance, voice, archive and text to expose a multiplicity of narratives. The work explores the physical body and geographical place as sites of cultural and political meaning.
Her video works have shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Nuit Blanche, Toronto, The Showroom, London, articule, Montreal and Trinity Square Video, Toronto as well as at the London, Edinburgh Artist Moving Image, Rotterdam International and Hamburg film festivals.

sorryyoufeeluncomfortable is a London-based collective creating intentional spaces for radical study, conversation and multi-disciplinary art-making.
Formed out of the Baldwin’s Nigger Reloaded Project, initiated by artist Barby Asante and curator Teresa Cisneros, SYFU has presented work at ICA, 198 CAL, Wellcome Collection, Tate Exchange, The Showroom and Iniva in London, as well as BALTIC (Newcastle), KVS (Brussels), Nottingham Contemporary (Nottingham) and Framer Framed (Amsterdam)


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