Artist Shiraz Bayjoo worked with a group of young people in Bow, East London, asking them to place themselves at the centre of an exploration encompassing individual oral histories with notions of collective memory and place. The exploration had two sets of parameters; the boys were asked to seek out metaphorical connections between themselves and the immediate physical environment of Bow. They were then asked to seek out images from the general media, and the visual world around them in order to place and describe themselves in the greater context of east London, Britain, the Common wealth, and migration.
The journey of this exploration, the images found, and ideas questioned are brought together in the Bow Boys archive. The boys’ own family stories of migration to east London are set against a longer history of migration from the Common Wealth. As the Bow Boys drew towards their conclusion the visual narrative was increasingly dominated by images of protest, and the fight for civil and human rights. The boys define their identities within the physical confines of inner city London, forged through the struggles of their parents and other generations and communities. They set themselves against a greater history of migration and struggle throughout the common wealth.
The narratives are processed through artist Shiraz Bayjoo’s own method of simplifying and reformatting images and video as a series of emotionally and politically charged paintings, photographs, and installation. The archive forms part of Shiraz Bayjoo’s personal exploration into collective, emerging identities and porous borders.
To download the project plan click here