iniva and Stuart Hall Foundation 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 October 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.
Sepake Angiama, Artistic Director at Iniva, said, “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.”
Notes to Editors
Maria Amidu, artist and trustee of the Stuart Hall Foundation, said, “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.”
About the Stuart Hall Library Artist Residency
The Stuart Hall Library Artist Residency was established in 2017 as a collaboration between iniva and the Stuart Hall Foundation. The fifth Stuart Hall Library Artist’s Residency commencing in October 2021 is supported by Arts Council England. This residency is a funded opportunity for an artist based in the UK to be in residence at iniva’s Stuart Hall Library in London, UK, over a three-month period from the September to December 2021. The selected artist will receive a total sum of £4,500 and given support to pursue their research in the library.
Building on the distinct connections between both organisations, the residency offers a visual artist the opportunity to develop their practice by excavating the ideas contained within the library, taking the writings of Professor Stuart Hall as a starting point. The residency is particularly aimed at working with artists or artist collectives whose practice is informed by perspectives on politics, identity and activism; who is interested in the language of the international and ideas around diaspora; and whose methodology may relate to notions of archiving and the archival.
There are no expectations on a fixed outcome of the residency and the prime focus is the process of research itself. However, the artist is usually expected to produce a digital output of their choice (e.g. short film, sound, blog post, animated presentation etc.) for archival purposes and to co-organise a public event which allows sharing of reflections or work in progress from the residency. The form of the digital output and the event is agreed with the artist during the residency as appropriate to their practice and research undertaken.
The artist is expected to be to in residence over a three-month period from October to December 2021 and to spend at least five days per month researching in the library.
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 i.as.in.we, 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.