Respected activist Viraj Mendis, video and music artists Tagné+Kooj and playwright-poet Louise Wallwein MBE are on the bill at a unique event to support migration justice on 25th September 2019 in Manchester.
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) mark their 30th birthday with this event looking back over their 30 years of delivering Justice, Rights and Resistance. Among the performances, speakers and discussion the event will feature a special performance of ‘Declaration’ by Kooj Chuhan and Tagné Tebu. Combining live music and projected visuals, they have collaborated with GMIAU and These Walls Must Fall to create this emotive work (more info below). The event will look back on successful campaigns against racist immigration policies and discuss future challenges in the continued fight for immigration justice.
Before talking about Transnational Justice let’s first remember the obvious, simply that we are ruled by laws. So the major kinds of injustice in the world must need to be addressed in partnership with progressive sectors of legal theory and practice. This is something which us creative activists do too little of.
Last month I was presenting the work I do at a very worthwhile conference on political and legal justice connecting with environment, economy, health, migration, equality, activism and arts, the Transnational Law Summit at King’s College London. More info about this is at www.transnationallawsummit.org .
Keynote presenters included Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Dexter Dias QC. Panel presenters like myself included the well known ecoliteracy guru Fritjof Capra, Nick Flynn from Avaaz and Jannie Staffansson from the Saami Council. Well funded (and equally well dressed) the conference had the air of being high profile with the strong intention of supporting justice for the future.
Transnational Justice – game-change for climate justice?
I’m not going to attempt a full review or critique of the conference, but the session I found really compelling was titled ‘Climate Change and Court Rooms’. Was this the beginning of major shifts in reparatory forces to gain justice for damage to communities and to counter climate change? Continue reading →
‘The Poppy Retake’ video art installation by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan is the focus for a new short film about the upcoming Manchester World War I exhibition titled World War I’s Hidden Voices which launches on Weds 6th December 2017 at the amazing Central Library building in the heart of Manchester.
‘The Poppy Retake’ is partnering with the extensive ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire’ set of educational graphic panels by Southern Voices to create the exhibition, which runs from 7th December 2017 – 24th February 2018. Key details below: Continue reading →
At the exhibition launch of World War I’s Hidden Voices (6th December – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER) the Manchester actress Rani Moorthy will perform a dramatised reading of a powerful poem reflecting on the effects of the First World War from an Indian and colonised country perspective. She will be accompanied by musician Jaydev Mistry and also VJ projections by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan. The poem is by Sarojini Naidu and is titled The Gift Of India, written in 1915 while the war was ravaging.
The exhibition features The Poppy Retake art installation by Kooj Chuhan, the launch event will be on Weds 6th December from 5.30pm and the performance and speakers begin at 6.30pm. More information at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake . The event is free but registration is strongly advised at www.hiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk . #poppyretake
About Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu was a distinguished poet, renowned freedom fighter and one of the great orators of her time. She was famously known as Bharatiya Kokila (The Nightingale of India) and was a prolific poet with over three books of published poems, highly praised by Rabindranath Tagore. Sarojini Naidu was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the governor of a state in India. Continue reading →
India, Africa, the West Indies, colonialism and recruitment, impacts of war and our ongoing culture of war explored in two parallel exhibitions under the title World War One’s Hidden Voices
The Poppy Retake (v3) by Kooj Chuhan // From the Shadows of War and Empire by Southern Voices // #poppyretake
On show 7th December 2017 – 24th February 2018 at Manchester Central Library (First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK // Opening times 9am-8pm Mon-Thurs and 9am-5pm Fri-Sat (Sunday closed) Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983
OPENING NIGHT – 6th December 2017 5.30pm-7.30pm including speakers Ahmed El-Hassan (Southern Voices) and Colette Williams (Mbari), plus live performance from Jaydev Mistry (music), Rani Moorthy (dramatised readings) and Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan (VJ projection) // First Floor exhibition from 5.30pm, then speakers and performance from 6.30pm on Ground Floor Booking for this free event is strongly advised: www.hiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk
MINI-CONFERENCE – 10th February 2018
thought-provoking talks, workshops, films and discussion for World War One’s Hidden Voices– full details to be announced www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake
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THE POPPY RETAKE (v3)
…colonial narratives, spirits from the dead and video war games…
video art installation by Kooj (Kuljit Singh Chuhan) – new version
Modern war propaganda began with World War I which obscured its pointlessness and deep colonial connections, while pretending to be the ‘war to end all wars’. This artwork explores coercion into war, involving an African woman working for a war-themed park. She finds herself caught between colonial narratives, spirits from the dead and video war games.
Since the end of WWI we have seen numerous wars with the majority in regions once colonised. Modern video gaming is now the epitome of obscuring both the horror and the colonial roots of much conflict. The Poppy Retake suggests our multiple connections with wars as forms of cultural recruitment but which impact mostly on people from ex-colonies. It extends the perspectives developed in the documentary exhibition ‘From The Shadows Of War and Empire’. Continue reading →
The Community Learning Festival 25th-27th July 2017 at MMU Brooks Building (Birley Fields Campus) is set up to celebrate the diversity of learning happening in the local area https://birleycommunityfestival.wordpress.com/ . It includes a lot of consciousness-raising activities and possibilities for activism towards progressive goals. The Poppy Retake installation is set up there in a compact version, supporting the talk by Southern Voices about Colonialism and WWI, and also Kooj (me) will be delivering a session about using video for community activism with references to The Poppy Retake installation.
The installation looks strong, here is how it looked yesterday (some components might be added today – trying to keep playful with trying things out here):
A new video art installation The Poppy Retake at Z-arts Centre launched on 18th April to a diverse and appreciative crowd. The main projection screen follows the story of an African woman (performed by Tracey Zengeni) working in a woodland park devoted to the theme of war. Subtle clues suggest she herself has a refugee background.
Objects from World War I draw her into an alternate reality of video games which she can’t control and which mix between playable wars and real wars. Through a magical mirror, she meets her own spiritual alter-ego who tells her to escape before it’s too late, and also an elderly Sikh spirit who tells of the realities of World War 1 from an Indian perspective. More about The Poppy Retake at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake .
A powerful accompanying set of graphic documentary panels were exhibited by Southern Voices, titled ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire’. They narrated the story of the contribution by and impact on the colonies from World War I. More about this project at www.southernvoices.org/sv-proj .
There were thoughtful speeches by Southern Voices’ WWI project coordinator Kirit Patel, community researcher Washington Alcott, artist Kooj Chuhan, and a tribute to the late Deyika Nzeribe by his brother Ikem. There was poetry performed by Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, and finally a fantastic musical set by Serge Tebu (Keyboard) and Emmanuela Yogolelo (vocal) along with backing on bass and drums by Joe and Ephraim.
Words and poetry within The Poppy Retake at Z-arts – incl. Sarojini Naidu
During the dramatic video sequence within The Poppy Retake at Z-arts Centre there are the words of soldiers from India and the West Indies during World War I taken from letters they had written, which are a part of drawing the main character into the war loop. At the launch event, one particularly strong and relevant poem from India in 1915 was read by Afshan and is reproduced here: Continue reading →
THE POPPY RETAKE is a new video art installation by Kooj Chuhan with an alternative take on World War I by connecting colonialism and computer games with a systematic war culture. The installation references the involvement of and impact on European Colonies by World War I and was supported by the experiences of the actor, Tracey Zengeni, herself having sought refuge in the UK. Its going to premiere at the fantastic Z-arts centre gallery on Tues 18th April from 6pm, and will be on show there for nearly two weeks. There are full details at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake including of the opening preview night. Here is an introductory trailer for the work:
Essential details for The Poppy Retake:
at Z-Arts Gallery, 19-28 April 2017
335 Stretford Road Manchester M15 5ZA 0161 226 1912
Open daily 9am-9pm except Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday closed
PREVIEW: Tues 18th April 6pm
Speakers: Susan Chieni, Kirit Patel and others / Poetry: Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi / Music: Serge Tebu & Emmanuela Yogolelo
FREE ENTRY but booking advised: www.poppyretakeshadows.eventbrite.co.uk
Will wars ever end? Was World War One’s ‘Lest We Forget’ a deluded slogan by Europeans who endured enormous suffering yet ignored even greater calamities for their colonies? Is war in fact the default future human addiction as global economics, culture and inequality spell more conflict forever? Continue reading →
They are hosting a bold weekend of films on climate change, migration and the refugee crisis titled ‘Gimme Shelter’. Here is the blurb from Tyneside Cinema’s own website:
“It is predicted that climate change will have a big impact on human migration in the next 50 years, with millions set to be displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding, intensifying drought and further agricultural disruption.
Tyneside Cinema aims to inform and spark discussion through a curated programme focusing on the urgency of action on climate change as well as its very real connection to the current refugee crisis. The programme contextualises these issues and will cultivate a better understanding of the reasons behind human displacement and will see filmmakers joined by leading experts to discuss the connection between climate change, natural disasters and migration.
Join us after the screening for a special panel discussion with;
– Filmmaker and artist Kooj Chuhan, whose recent films have focused on climate-linked migration
– Professor Tahseen Jafry, whose work in Glasgow focuses on climate and international development aid
– Durham University-based Professor Andrew Baldwin, one of the world’s leading academics on climate change and migration.”
Video of panel presentations from ‘Linking Climate Change with Migration’ public event 7th March 2016 at Kings College, which began with a screening of the film ‘Crossing Footprints’ by Kooj Chuhan. The climate migration panel also included Andrew Baldwin and Alex Randall. The video is approx 40 mins long:
There’s a great twitter feed from Platform of the discussion if you haven’t time to watch this but want a flavour of the points being made – see bottom of this post.
About the event and the climate migration panel:
On Mon 7th March 2016 a leading climate migration panel explored the connection between climate change and migration and the underlying issues such as whether and how migration should be made more visible across public and policy agendas on climate change. This followed a screening of Crossing Footprints, the film by Kooj Chuhan / Metaceptive projects + media, which shows how recent research linking climate change with migration has strengthened our understanding of this enormously, and how artists have begun to articulate this in human terms.
The event was hugely over-subscribed with a waiting list of 35 people, though there were spare seats on the day itself which suggests we should release quite a few more tickets than the venue capacity in future or possibly charge a small amount to ensure attendance. Thanks to all who came, the speakers, the chair, and Fernando Mitjans for filming it.
The ‘Crossing Footprints’ film will be available to watch online soon, once it has been fully signed off after final proofing.
The climate migration panel discussion included speakers:
Richard Black, leading scholar at SOAS on migration in the context of climate change Zita Holbourne, community, union and human rights activist, writer, artist and curator; co-founder of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts Andrew Baldwin, chair of international Climate Change and Migration research network based at Durham University Alex Randall, UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition Kooj Chuhan, artist, filmmaker and curator of the ‘Footprint Modulation’ exhibition exploring climate migration and justice
+ Public launch and screening of the film ‘Crossing Footprints: Human Migration and the Environment’ by Kooj Chuhan / Metaceptive Media, about both the Human Migration and The Environment Conference and the Footprint Modulation art exhibition www.metaceptive.net/footprint-modulation
Chaired by Dr Helen Adams, researcher on human interactions with environmental change at Kings College Continue reading →