The Chimurenga Library

The Showroom , London, United Kingdom
08 Oct 2015 - 21 Nov 2015

The Chimurenga Library

Chimurenga Library at Cape Town Central Library, 2009. Courtesy Chimurenga.

For their first UK presentation, Chimurenga will infiltrate The Showroom’s building in the form of The Chimurenga Library, inserting themselves into the existing frameworks, functions and structures of the space without displacing its everyday activities.

Founded by Ntone Edjabe in 2002, Chimurenga (a Shona word that loosely translates as “struggle for freedom”) is at the centre of vibrant new cultural projection across Africa, which includes championing new music, literature and visual arts. Drawing together myriad voices from across Africa and the diaspora, Chimurenga takes many forms operating as an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa by Africans. Outputs include a journal of culture, art and politics of the same name, a quarterly broadsheet called The Chronic, The Chimurenga Library—an online resource of collected independent pan-African periodicals and personal books, and the Pan African Space Station (PASS)—an online music radio station and pop-up studio.

For the first week The Chimurenga Library will play host to PASS with a live broadcasting programme of music, interviews and events with Chimurenga collaborators in London including musicians, journalists, writers, curators and filmmakers. The live broadcast studio will function amidst a major cartographic installation, mapping a series of “routes” running throughout the building between the two floors. These taped routes will link ideas with people, writing, research, music, publications, record cover design and other materials. Other events will take place off-site in different venues, extending these “routes” still further. After the live broadcast studio closes, the sounds and images generated in this process will live on as part of the library installation until the show closes.

Areas of interest will include the work of designer George Hallett—who used the book jacket and record sleeve as a curated exhibition space during the apartheid era; a critical look at the concept of and crude distinction drawn between Sub-Saharan and Arab Africa; and FESTAC ’77, The Second World Black Festival of Arts and Culture held in Lagos.

Working with many UK collaborators such as the London-based collective Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable and UK participants of FESTAC ’77: ideas, thinking and debate will move fluidly between events, environments, broadcasts, music and sound recordings, publications, archive material and objects.

Bringing together existing work, research material and areas of interest whilst at the same time expanding focal points, the project represents a moment of activation, interaction and expansion within a mobile and complex network of geographical and organisational contexts.

Participants in the PASS programme include: Agency for Agency, Christine Eyene, Shabaka Hutchings, Dego (2000 Black), Pass Me the Microphone (Amanprit Sandhu and Hansi Momodu-Gordon), Jenny Mbaye, Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, Audrey Brown, Matthew Temple, Anthony Josephs, Ayesha Hameed, Phoebe Boswell, Tom Skinner, Larry Achiampong, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Christian Nyampeta, Funsho Ogundipe, Ros Gray, Henriette Gunkel, Michael McMillan and Paul Bradshaw.

A detailed PASS programme will be available shortly before each broadcast.

After the live broadcast studio closes, the sounds and images generated in this process will live on as part of the installation until the exhibition closes.

The project is co-curated by Chimurenga, The Otolith Collective and The Showroom, and has been supported by the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015, a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa and the British Council. The project is also generously supported by Wendy Fisher and Caro MacDonald, with additional support from Kathy Robins. With thanks to Robert Devereux.

Preview: October 7, 6:30–8:30pm

Pan African Space Station (PASS), Live broadcasts: 7 – 11 October, 2–8pm
Extended exhibition opening hours during PASS: 12–8pm

Chimurenga, founded in 2002 and based in Cape Town, is a project-based mutable object: a print magazine, a publisher, a broadcaster, a workspace, a platform for editorial and curatorial activities and an online resource.

The Otolith Collective is a publicly funded, not-for-profit arts organisation run by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of the award-winning artist collective The Otolith Group. The Otolith Collective curates exhibitions, seminars and screening programmes with museums, galleries and foundations.

The Showroom is a space for contemporary art that is focused on a collaborative and process-driven approach to production; be that artwork, exhibitions, discussions, publications, knowledge or relationships.

The Showroom
63 Penfold Street
London NW8 8PQ
United Kingdom





All content © 2023 Contemporary And. All Rights Reserved. Website by SHIFT