WE’RE ALL HERE – Ayo Akingbade, Newsreel Collective, Black Audio Film Collective
Shoreditch Library, N1 6LP
14 – 26 November 2018
Sited at Shoreditch Library, Hoxton Street, ‘We’re All Here’ presented three films; Divide and Rule – Never! (1978) by Newsreel Collective, Handsworth Songs (1986) by Black Audio Film Collective and Street 66 (2018) by artist and filmmaker Ayo Akingbade that take a historic and current look at society, race, class, work, housing, protest, activism, human relationships, assumptions and misunderstandings, dividers and supporters.
This presentation took its cue from a very recent work by young British Nigerian artist and filmmaker Ayo Akingbade. Street 66 is about Ghanaian housing activist Dora Boatemah and her influence on the regeneration of Angell Town Estate in Brixton. Alongside, Divide and Rule – Never! is a film that has inspired Akingbade’s upcoming work, Dear Babylon. Made in 1978, the film uses lo-fi animation, archive footage and interviews and invites multiple young working-class Londoners, first and second generation Black and Asian immigrants and ex-National Front members to discuss their experiences of racism. Also presented is Black Audio Film Collective’s Handsworth Songs (1986) that was originally commissioned for Channel 4. It blends newsreel, still photos and a sound mosaic, creating an experimental, layered narrative that gives an account of those involved in or observing the 1985 riots. Despite being made at different times, all three films demonstrate the ongoing human need in society for empathy, understanding and standing together.
I'm both glad and sorry to hear that Divide and Rule - Never continues to have life and feel relevant. We would have hoped that what it has to say would be unnecessary by now. Paul Morrison, Newsreel Collective.
On 20 November we hosted an evening screening and talk with artist and filmmaker Ayo Akingbade and member of Newsreel Collective Joy Chamberlain. Listen to the conversation here:
Ayo Akingbade is a British Nigerian artist and filmmaker based in London. Her film Tower XYZ (2016) received a Special Mention Award at International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and won the inaugural Sonja Savić Award at Alternative Film/Video Festival, Belgrade. Akingbade has since produced two new films. Street 66 (2018) which premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam and A is for Artist (2018) which premiered in the Experimenta strand at BFI London Film Festival. She is a recipient of the Sundance Ignite Fellowship (2018) and is included in Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2018). She is a graduate of London College of Communication and is currently studying at Royal Academy Schools.
Street 66 by Ayo Akingbade (2018, 13 mins). Chronicling the life of Ghanaian housing activist Dora Boatemah and her influence on the regeneration of Angell Town Estate in Brixton, South London. Dr. Theodora Boatemah MBE was born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1957, where her mother worked in President Kwame Nkrumah’s cabinet. In 1987, she founded the Angell Town Community Project and campaigned for the community-controlled regeneration of the Angell Town Estate in Brixton. Dora was awarded an MBE in 1994 for services to the community in Brixton and received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University in 1996. Dora died in 2001 at the age of 43.
Divide and Rule - Never! (1978, 41 mins) is a punk-infused documentary by the Newsreel Collective invites young working-class Londoners to discuss their experiences of racism. First and second generation Black and Asian immigrants, as well as ex-National Front members, paint a detailed picture of discrimination in 1970s Britain. The film uses lo-fi animation, archive footage and a pulsating soundtrack to compare racial inequality in London to Britain's colonial 'divide and rule' policy, European fascism and the rise of Nazi Germany. Reggae band The Enchanters are interviewed about their involvement with the Rock Against Racism movement, which started in 1976. The film also shows the 1978 Brick Lane Protest, organised by the Anti-Nazi League and the Hackney and Tower Hamlets Defence Committee.
Handsworth Songs by Black Audio Film Collective (1986, 1h 58secs). Handsworth Songs was commissioned by Channel 4 for their series Britain: The Lie of the Land and won seven prizes internationally, including the John Grierson Award for Best Documentary (BFI). The production company used their now renowned methods of intermixing newsreel, still photos and a sound mosaic, creating an experimental multi-layered narrative. It gives accounts of those involved in or observing the 1985 riots and more significantly their personal reflections.
‘We’re All Here’ is part of PEER’s Local Programme. We extend our thanks to Shoreditch Library, across the road from PEER, for hosting the film programme. This is a continuation of our working together after they hosted Abigail Reynolds’ Lost Libraries, April – June 2018.
Library opening times: Monday to Thursday 10am–8pm, Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 10am–5pm & closed on Sunday.