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a so-called archive, Onyeka Igwe

Wed 8 Sep - Sun 17 Oct 2021 / Wednesday - Saturday, 12-5pm

LUX, Waterlow Park Centre, Dartmouth Park Hill, London N19 7JF
Free, Booking via Eventbrite
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LUX is pleased to announce an exhibition of moving image, sound and ephemera by Onyeka Igwe showing at LUX, Waterlow Park from 8th September to 17th October 2021.

With a forensic lens, Onyeka Igwe’s a so-called archive interrogates the decomposing repositories of Empire. Blending footage shot over 2020 in two separate colonial archive buildings—one in Lagos, Nigeria, and the other in Bristol, United Kingdom—this double portrait considers the ‘sonic shadows’ that colonial images continue to generate, despite the disintegration of their memory and their materials. Igwe’s film imagines what might have been ‘lost’ from these archives. It mixes the genres of the radio play, the corporate video tour, and detective noir, with a haunting and critical approach to the horror of discovery.

a so-called archive depicts the former vaults—along with their histories of hoarding, monetisation, documentation and now abandonment—as metonyms for the enduring entanglements between the UK and its former colonies. These sites were and continue to be home to purulent images that we cannot, will not, or choose not to see. -Mason Leaver-Yap

Igwe’s first solo exhibition at LUX a so-called archive, includes the film of the same name, as well as an outdoor audio piece and ephemeral display in the library expanding on the archives interrogated in the film. A collective reading event will also take place on Saturday 16th October – details to be announced. Audio described and captioned screenings will take place daily.

This exhibition is part of this year’s Curatorial Fellowship programme this broken piece of yard by Cairo Clarke. 

Screening Schedule

The runtime of a so-called archive is 20 minutes. The film will screen three times within a one-hour time slot. The first screening will be followed by audio described and captioned screenings. Booking is encouraged but you are welcome to walk in. Please check the screening schedule below. (OC: Open Caption, AD: Audio Description) 

12pm | 12.20pm (with OC) | 12.40pm (with AD)

1pm | 1.20pm (with OC) | 1.40pm (with AD)

2pm | 2.20pm (with OC) | 2.40pm (with AD)

3pm | 3.20pm (with OC) | 3.40pm (with AD)

4pm | 4.20pm (with OC) | 4.40pm (with AD)

Reading list compiled by Onyeka Igwe

  • Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (Verso Books, 2019)
  • Zong!, M. NourbeSe Philip, Setaey Adamu Boateng (Wesleyan University Press, 2008)
  • How the Essay Film Thinks, Laura Rascaroli (Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, Katherine McKittrick (ed.) (Duke University Press, 2014)

Safety Information

  • Booking is encouraged and the gallery operates under a strict capacity limit of 12 people. 
  • All visitors and staff are asked to wear a face mask unless they are exempt from this requirement. We will have disposable masks available at the reception.
  • Scan the QR code via your NHS Test and Trace app upon arrival.
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided on the entry to the building.
  • Please adhere to social distancing to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.
  • Please stay home if you feel unwell.

If you have special access needs to attend our events please contact us at +44(0)20 3141 2960 or [email protected]


a so-called archive, Onyeka Igwe, 2020

Onyeka Igwe 

Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between cinema and installation. She is born and based in London, UK. Through her work, Onyeka is animated by the question — how do we live together? — with particular interest in the ways bodies, architecture and non-canonical ways of being and knowing can provide answers. She uses embodiment, voice, archives, narration and text to create structural ‘figure-of-eights’, a format that exposes a multiplicity of narratives. The work comprises untying strands and threads, anchored by a rhythmic editing style, as well as close attention to the dissonance, reflection and amplification that occurs between image and sound.

Onyeka is part of B.O.S.S., a sound system collective that brings together a community of queer, trans and non binary people of colour involved in art, sound and radical activism. Together with Rachael Rakes and Laura Huertas Millán, she is part of a curatorial and research initiative, Counter-Encounters, thinking on alternative and anti ethnographies. 

Onyeka’s video works have been screened at Artists’ Film Club: Black Radical Imagination, ICA, London, 2017; Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, 2020, and at film festivals internationally including the London Film Festival, 2015; Rotterdam International, Netherlands, 2018, 2019 and 2020; Edinburgh Artist Moving Image, 2016; Images Festival, Canada, 2019, and the Smithsonian African American film festival, USA, 2018. 

Solo projects include Corrections, with Aliya Pabani, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada, 2018, and There Were Two Brothers, Jerwood Arts, 2019.

Recent group projects include Reconfigured, Timothy Taylor New York, USA, KW Production Series, Berlin, Germany, 2020, [POST] Colonial Bodies 2, CC Matienzo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2019, there’s something in the conversation that is more interesting than the finality of (a title), The Showroom, London, UK, 2018 and World Cup!, articule, Montreal, Canada, 2018.

Forthcoming solo exhibitions include The story is what’s in that room, Mercer Union, Toronto, Canada and a so-called archive, LUX, London, UK, all 2021. 

She was awarded the 2020 Arts Foundation Futures Award for Experimental Short Film and was the recipient of the Berwick New Cinema Award in 2019.