b 1980, lives and works in London.
Strength is Unity, Labour is International, 2021. Decal and glaze on porcelain. Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.
In his practice, Shiraz Bayjoo considers collective identity through the entangled legacies of European colonialism, and their relationships to slavery and indentured labour. For a public artwork commissioned by London Borough of Tower Hamlets in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, the artist contemplated how various critical voices in London bred liberation and self authorship around the globe. Deriving from his public mural, Strength is Unity, Labour is International is a vivid justaposition of archival images of suffragettes, labourers, and anti-fascist protesters. Stylistically referencing Victorian ceramic mural making and South Asian cinema posters, the work sheds light on the multiple outcomes of an empire. As a digital commission in a virtual space, the work also asks the question: do we need monumentality and materiality to contemplate and commemorate complicated topics? Through its criticality and vivid imagery, the work shows that provocation and weight can be transmitted without material articulations.
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