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Stuart Hall Foundation and iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) are thrilled to announce that artist and poet Rohan Ayinde has been selected for the fifth Stuart Hall Library Artist’s Residency – a funded opportunity with support from Arts Council England that builds on Professor Stuart Hall’s unique contribution to intellectual and cultural life. 

Building on the distinct connections between iniva and Stuart Hall Foundation, the residency allows a visual artist the space to think about some of the key themes related to the work of Iniva and the Foundation, including the language of the diaspora, culture, identity and archiving. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Professor Stuart Hall’s arrival in Britain from Jamaica in 1951 and in commemoration, the residency invited an artist to respond to the concept of ‘arrival’ and its capacity to transform and trouble notions of fixed cultural identities.

Selected through a richly competitive open call, Rohan Ayinde will be resident for three months at the Stuart Hall Library in London, UK, from September to December 2021. The panel selected Ayinde for his dynamic and imaginative proposal that brings a multidisciplinary and nuanced critical approach to grappling with the shifting landscape of race and black radical politics.

Ayinde’s work oscillates between abstract drawings, audio-visual poetry, performance and sculpture, and is interested in the ways that abstraction can function as a method for thinking about black radical thought as a form, or a poetics. His research during the residency will take Stuart Hall’s description of “diaspora identity” with the work of Frank Bowling as a starting point from which to develop a grammar for thinking a contemporary poetics of blackness/fragmentation. Through this research, Ayinde aims to create a series of audio-visual poems that “weave through the journey that black radical thought takes us on, seeking to give space and credence to the fracture it gives voice to and hopefully arguing that the fracture is a generative place into, and out of which, to make art”. 

On being selected, Ayinde said, “This feels like a moment of alignment and serendipity. I am ready to engage in dialogue with Stuart Hall’s legacy, and I feel a deep sense of gratitude for being given the space and time to do so by iniva and the Stuart Hall Foundation.” 

A public event where Ayinde shares his research will be presented towards the beginning of 2022.

‘Bury the Evidence’ by Rohan Ayinde

About Rohan Ayinde

Rohan Ayinde is an interdisciplinary poet based between London and Chicago. His work is centred around creating “otherwise” potentials (Ashon Crawley), and in so doing breaking down and simultaneously reconfiguring the ideological architectures that shape our daily and generational lives. Most recently, his work is shaped by a dance around the possibility opened up by the logics of black holes, specifically when read in conversation with the historical and material conditions of blackness.

Ayinde is one half of the wayward/motile collaborative duo, with friend/producer/dancer Yewande YoYo Odunubi. He received his MA in Visual and Critical Studies from SAIC (2019). He is the gallery manager for Blanc (Chicago), is a curatorial fellow with ACRE, and has curated shows at Blanc, ACRE Projects, and NOW Gallery. 

“The panel was unanimous in the decision to select Rohan Ayinde for the Stuart Hall Library Residency. His practice opens up new ways of thinking of the spatial relation between the spoken word and the image. We are beyond excited to see how the time in the Stuart Hall Library will continue to support Rohan’s practice and thinking.”

Sepake Angiama, Artistic Director at Iniva

“Rohan presented us with an original and beautifully written proposal. Offering him this opportunity to use the library’s collection to focus on developing his ideas around a new language in relation to Stuart’s work on ‘diaspora identity’ and the dissonance this experience provokes is also a very important opportunity for us. Rohan’s thinking is in close correspondence with the Stuart Hall Foundation’s #reconstructionwork programme and we are very much looking forward to seeing how his residency progresses.”

Maria Amidu, artist and trustee of the Stuart Hall Foundation

About iniva

iniva is an evolving, radical visual arts organisation dedicated to developing an artistic programme that reflects the social and political impact of globalisation. With the Stuart Hall Library acting as a critical and creative hub for our work, they collaborate with artists, curators, researchers and cultural producers to challenge conventional notions of diversity and difference. They engage a wide audience, particularly young people, in discourse and debate on issues surrounding the politics of race, class and gender.

Through their programme they work predominantly with British-born and British-based visual artists of African and Asian descent supporting them at different stages in their careers. They offer residencies, commission new work and promote existing practices enabling ambition and artist development. By cultivating innovative thinking, they are committed to disseminating research across a wide cultural spectrum and geographical network. iniva’s ambition is to build a greater body of knowledge around each of the artists with whom they work to ensure the legacy of their practices for future generations of researchers and audiences.

Founded in 1994, under the leadership of renowned academic Professor Stuart Hall, iniva is a non-profit organisation based in East London. It has established itself as a pioneering arts organisation in the artistic environment in the UK and beyond. iniva has worked with internationally renowned artists and curators early in their careers including David A Bailey, Sonia Boyce, Sheela Gowda, NS Harsha, Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen, Chris Ofili, Yinka Shonibare, Kobena Mercer, Okwui Enwezor, and Guy Brett.

iniva is a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and is generously supported by individual donors, trusts and foundations.

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