MINI-CONFERENCE World War I’s Hidden Voices and Poppy Retake exhibition

World War I’s Hidden Voices MINI-CONFERENCE
Saturday 10th February 2018, 1pm – 4.30pm
at Manchester Central Library (First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK    Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983

Registration is strongly advised and completely FREE at https://conferencehiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk

India, Africa, the West Indies, colonialism and recruitment, the impacts of war and our ongoing culture of war explored in a free afternoon conference.

Saturday 10th February 2018, 1pm – 4.30pm
at Manchester Central Library (First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983

This mini conference is a part of the ‘WWI’s Hidden Voices’ exhibition offering an afternoon of presentations and discussions offering the most critical perspectives on World War I in any current public forum. The speakers will expose the full extent of involvement from the British colonies in World War I, the impact the war had on those regions, its legacy for those countries and cultural representation of the war. Sessions include:

The West Indies join the War by Washington Alcott
Women’s Perspectives from East Africa by Susan Chieni Cookson
Cultural Representation of World War One and other wars by Kooj Chuhan
Teaching Hidden Histories in Schools by Dipali Das
Community Research from a ‘Southern’ Perspective by Southern Voices

PLUS: Live poetry by Naomi Sumner Chan www.brushstrokeorder.co.uk

The documentary exhibition ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire‘ finally gives us a full picture of the vast involvement of people from colonised countries in World War One.  ‘The Poppy Retake‘ video art installation looks at how The Great War links with wider themes of war, colonialism, culture and coerced recruitment.  This mini conference is an afternoon of presentations and discussions with a range of speakers who will give us a deeper insight into some the themes from the exhibition.

The West Indies join the War
Washington Alcott, teacher and researcher specialising in African and Caribbean history, will look at the recruitment of West Indian soldiers to the global conflict and its impact on the islands.

Women’s Perspectives from East Africa
Susan Chieni Cookson, a Kenyan born high school teacher and lecturer who has a PhD in gender and education, will explore the impact of World War One on East Africa with the focus on women.

Cultural Representation of World War One and other wars
Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan, Indian-born filmmaker and digital artist, will look at some of the big arts projects that represent World War One, the influence of modern day media and how ‘The Poppy Retake’ came about.

Teaching Hidden Histories in Schools
Dipali Das, British Bengali writer and teacher, has been delivering workshops to primary school children based on Southern Voices’ World War One materials and will discuss her teaching experiences and outcomes.

Community Research from a ‘Southern’ Perspective
Southern Voices will present how they created this exhibition and the difficulties in getting the history ‘right’, plus examples of previous work.  They discuss why we need a ‘Southern Perspective’ at all?

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Mini-Conference flyerWorld War I’s Hidden Voices – an exhibition in two parts:
The documentary exhibition ‘From The Shadows Of War And Empire‘ by Southern Voices gives us a full picture of the vast involvement of people from colonised countries in World War One.
‘The Poppy Retake (v3)’ video art installation by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan connects The Great War with wider themes of war, colonialism, culture and coerced recruitment.

On show 7th December 2017 – 24th February 2018

www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake

www.southernvoices.org

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester World War I

Manchester World War I

Video Preview for Manchester World War I’s Hidden Voices incl. The Poppy Retake

‘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

The Gift Of India poem by Sarojini Naidu

Rani will dramatise a reading of the poem by Sarojini Naidu

Rani Moorthy

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

World War One’s Hidden Voices: documentary and art in two parallel exhibitions

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

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 RetakeTHE 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’.

www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake

 

From the Shadows of War and Empire

documentary exhibition by Southern Voices

Few know about how European powers brought colonies into World War I, took resources from these countries and took the war to ‘fronts’ outside Europe. An exhibition which finally tells this major part of the story from the colonies’ point of view. We focus on India, the West Indies, German and British East Africa, and Nigeria – the British Colonies.

Did you know that the first and last shots of World War One by ‘British’ forces were fired not in Europe, but in Africa? Or that 1.5 million soldiers from India fought for the British? The exhibition examines the impact of 1914-18 on these selected colonised countries from the viewpoint of the colonised peoples themselves – their situation as colonies, the impact of the war on them and on anti-colonial struggles. Accompanied by ‘The Poppy Retake’ art installation by Kooj Chuhan, this exhibition gives us incredible context and information about World War One’s Hidden Voices.

www.southernvoices.org

World War One's Hidden Voices - funder logosWorld War One's Hidden Voices - funder logosPlease share via Facebook
www.facebook.com/events/1660602353990894

 

Strong responses to The Poppy Retake at Z-arts: WWI’s colonial impact, the game of war today

The Poppy Retake at Z-artsA 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

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 which was read by Afshan is as follows:
The Poppy Retake at Z-artsThe Gift of India
by Sarojini Naidu (India, 1915)
Is there ought you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabers of doom.
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
they are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France
Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro’ my heart’s despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of victory?
when the terror and the tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memorial thanks
To the comrades who fought on the dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons!

New version to be developed

This is the first showing of The Poppy retake at Z-arts, it will be expanded and developed further into a new version to be shown at Manchester’s Central Library for three months from December 2017 to February 2018.
The evening was dedicated firstly to Deyika Nzeribe and Jaya Graves, both of whom were members of Southern Voices and who died within the last year www.southernvoices.org .  Secondly Kooj dedicated The Poppy Retake at Z-arts to his son Naseeb Chuhan whose conscious attitude and cultural interests influenced the video art installation, who used to work at Z-arts, and who also died within the last year www.naseebchuhan.wordpress.com .   A big thanks to all who were involved and helped out, a list of credits is at www.metaceptive.net/poppy-retake .
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