Category Archives: race

CONTINENT CHOP CHOP: climate justice film project on Indiegogo

Nnimmo Bassey with international activist Vandana Shiva

Nnimmo Bassey with international activist Vandana Shiva

We’ve launched a crowdfunder so that we can work with poet, author, activist Nnimmo Bassey. To support us click on the CCC logo on the right to go to Indiegogo.
For more information about the project click on the Continent Chop Chop menu.

What is CONTINENT CHOP CHOP?

A new transmedia performance by Virtual Migrants, touring from November 2015.  It focuses on climate destruction and how it is linked to global austerity policies and refugees.  It currently includes only a short voice-over from Nnimmo Bassey as a part of the story.  We’ve launched a crowdfunder for this climate justice film project on Indiegogo. The new film created in collaboration with Nnimmo Bassey will become a centre-piece of the performance.

Poster Film Collective "Whose World Is The World" cultural consciousness

Cultural consciousness: Poster Film Collective in the 80s and other online pieces

Selected posts by Kooj Chuhan recently on Virtual Migrants’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VirtualMigrants :

Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s

Whose World Is The World by Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s. Any parallels now? http://poster-collective.org.uk/whoseworld/index.php
These posters were often in the youth clubs and community centres that we worked in, running creative, campaigning and discussion activities focused on anti-racist and suppressed historical ideas and knowledge. They gave a continuity in the environment that the people who used the building could continue to reflect on after the activities and workshops, in an immediate and visual way without too much text clutter. I really think we need this kind of stuff again in our physical environment, maybe the digital world makes us forget these possibilities?

Migrant crisis: tackle the cause and not the symptom?

The Chance Or Choice report suggests long term answer lies in Continue reading

Image from the film Battle Of Algiers

Condemn murder but DON’T be Charlie!

Condemn murder but DON'T be Charlie!After the recent completely tragic murders I looked at a good number of Charlie Hebdo covers on Google images, and found racist stereotyping to be pretty consistent.  I might add that Muslims seem to be the target of ridicule by Charlie Hebdo more than others are, though thats purely based on the sample from Google images and not a statistical survey.   Sure, Charlie Hebdo does satirise almost everyone, but the way this is done in the case of Muslim people is using repeated images of Muslims that are practically from the colonial era, the equivalent of using gollywogs to depict people of African descent.  If those were to be used to supposedly satirise Africans, most would Continue reading

on sale: EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, booklets – socio-art exploring asylum/refuge

EXHALE – artists’ DVD, audio-CD and booklets – box set on sale now!

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsOUT NOW! only £15.99 including free delivery
an alternative to the usual festive items for those of a conscious disposition…

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsEXHALE :
local streets, global waters, bloodstained papers
5 years of video, music and electronic art engaging with asylum and migration in a new world order

“memorable and passionate”  art monthly
“evocative, metaphorical”  The Guardian
“brilliantly executed”  City Life

Box set with video-DVD, audio-CD, interactive ROM art and two booklets with 40 pages of essays, images and contexts
IN STOCK – ORDER ONLINE NOW!    http://www.virtualmigrants.com/order.htm

Proceeds from sales will support our forthcoming multimedia performance around the themes of race, environment and refuge.

EXHALE is about people mending broken identities; piecing together links between the war on terror and the war against asylum seekers; school kids understanding the basics of humanity; expressing critical threads between slavery and modern migration contexts; being caught up in legal categories that demean your rights; and a range of other critical narratives along with a different take on how art can engage and discuss such issues.

EXHALE, a multiple-format publication containing original artworks (video, interactive and audio) by Keith Piper, Kooj Chuhan, Aidan Jolly and a number of other artists and collaborators.  This contains a series of short films, interactive art, music, writing and photography with conscience, anger, sensitivity and emotion, reflecting unsensational yet powerful and thought-provoking narratives on the lives and contexts around the asylum and migration stories which the artists connected with across the UK.  It also includes exclusive interviews with both Keith Piper and the What If I’m Not Real artists team.

exhaleWideMultishots_ewon sale: EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, booklets

The box set includes a video-DVD, an audio-CD, interactive ROM art, and two booklets of essays, images and contexts.  It contains the entire set of moving image and interactive works from the ground-breaking Terminal Frontiers exhibition which toured the UK and beyond from 2005-7, including the What If I’m Not Real installation and film which received a rave review at SIGGRAPH (http://www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale/siggraph07.htm).  It also contains “The Next Breath” project, a set of short fast-take semi-documentary narratives as video and audio pieces involving artists, refugees, asylum seekers and others from Glasgow, Derby, London and Plymouth.

For full information about the many artists involved, the range of works, and the artistic process that led to their creation (and of course, how to order online) please check the section on our old website   www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale   or email us at  info[at]virtualmigrants.com

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‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ exhibition in Oxford presents video art ‘Buy This (v3)’

This weekend on 1st Nov 2014 the ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ Exhibition in Oxford presents video art titled “Buy This (v3)” on race-migration-climate issues by Kooj Chuhan / Virtual Migrants.

The ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ exhibition

DohMixMehUpMore info:

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ – Diaspora and Identity in Art

A free one-day exhibition and performance programme exploring the role of the arts in understanding, expressing and experiencing diaspora.

1st November 2014, 3pm – 10pm

Panel Discussion:
‘Exploring Diaspora through Continue reading

Unlawfully shooting working #migrants in #Greece #racism

Important story from the Guardian this week about farm guards shooting working migrants in Greece at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/greece-migrant-fruit-pickers-shot-they-kept-firing .  Some extracts here:

Greece’s migrant fruit pickers: ‘They kept firing. There was blood everywhere’

Last year, Greek farm guards shot at illegal migrant strawberry pickers, wounding 35. When a court acquitted them this summer, there was outrage. At the camp, where they continue to live like slaves, the workers share their stories

Is a man worth nothing when he is branded illegal? Tipu Chowdhury has spent the past 17 months wondering. The answer has not been easy. Even now, after being forced to endure subhuman living conditions, after being starved and worked like a slave, the Bangladeshi does not speak ill of Greece. Instead of anger, there is resignation, an almost fatalistic acceptance that this is the life meted out to those who go “undocumented”.

Had he and his fellow strawberry pickers not been shot at – had the case not reached the courts and the men who did the shooting not been scandalously freed – he might not have pondered the question at all.

“When they pointed their guns at us, and there were around 200 of us gathered in that space, we thought they were joking,” says Chowdhury of the April 2013 attack. “After all, we hadn’t been paid for more than five months. We couldn’t believe it when they actually began shooting.”

This week, unions, anti-racist groups and peasant workers’ associations will launch a solidarity campaign in support of the Bangladeshis, starting with a mass demonstration timed to coincide with a speech the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, will give on Sunday outlining the government’s economic policy at the international trade fair in Thessaloniki. As preparations get under way, 33-year-old Chowdhury has found himself reliving the events of that day, one that would go down as the worst assault in Europe on migrant workers in living memory.

(full story continues at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/greece-migrant-fruit-pickers-shot-they-kept-firing )

Remember Oluwale 45th Anniversary incl #VirtualMigrants performance – Sat 3rd May 2014

45 years since David was found dead in the River Aire. Please help promote and come to our fundraiser for a memorial garden next saturday at Left Bank Leeds 3rd May with Virtual Migrants, Angel Of Youths, DJ SaIQa, Nigerian Community Leeds, street food, stalls, raffle + more.

Remember Oluwale 45th Anniversary Fundraiser – Saturday 3rd May 2014

http://www.rememberoluwale.org/david-oluwale/fundraiser-saturday-3rd-may-2014/

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Committed To Represent exhibition at GMIAU’s AGM

The Committed To Represent exhibition by Virtual Migrants will be shown at the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 25th January 2014.  Created by Kooj Chuhan with Ursula Sharma (GMIAU) along with photography by Mazaher, this exhibition celebrates the critical work of legal caseworkers in the difficult lives of refugees.  This from GMIAU’s news-mail:

GMIAU AGM and Public Meeting Saturday 25th January 2014 2.30pm
F
riends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS (behind Central Library)
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Our exhibition ‘Committed To Represent’ will be displayed

A number of invited speakers will contribute to the discussions.

Drinks and light refreshments will be available.

We are in very turbulent times. During the past 12 months legal aid has been removed for most immigration cases and the government is ‘consulting’ on the next set of cuts which will include further restrictions on access to the law, including judicial review and appeals, and the insidious ‘residency test’. The Immigration Bill has been introduced and if it get passed as it is it will include duties on landlords and banks to check the immigration status of potential tenants and customers. Immigration will once again be top of the political agenda in the run up to general election in 2015 and none of the public debate about immigration is positive. This makes it even more difficult for the people that GMIAU is here to support and represent – not just in a legal sense but also to stand up against the injustice and discrimination that is the reality of many peoples day to day lives.

We need our supporters more than ever. We need to work together to steer the organisation through these challenging times, to make sure not only that we survive but that we’re stronger and louder than before in our defence of access to justice and human rights. Please come and join us on the 25th need to be doing over the next year and beyond to make sure we stay at the forefront of creating a better and more positive contribution to the lives of people in the North West who need immigration legal advice and representation .

The cuddlification of Black revolutionaries

To erase the political bedrock of people’s beliefs from the telling of their history is to distort their life’s work.

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This is a CROSS-POST by Jenny Bourne, Institute of Race Relations; the original is at:
http://www.irr.org.uk/news/the-cuddlification-of-black-revolutionaries/

The rewriting of history and reputation to chime with what the white-media-middle-class is ‘comfortable’ with does not just apply to Nelson Mandela,[1] it has for some years been applied in this country to Black revolutionary Claudia Jones too. After an almost complete neglect of her reputation from her solitary death in 1964 to Buzz Johnson’s 1984 book, I think of my mother: notes on the life and times of Claudia Jones, she has gradually become better known, her history reclaimed[2] and her contribution acknowledged beyond Britain’s black community. There are now two plaques commemorating her in London, in 2008 she made it onto a postage stamp (admittedly for Black History Month) and now it is rumoured that a biopic is under discussion by film executives. But the more revered and mainstreamed she has become, the more her genuine political talents and commitments have been slowly revised, cleansed and repackaged to meet contemporary fads.

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Claudia Jones was a staunch revolutionary. Her Communism, which for the most part, bound her (as it did her comrades) to following the Soviet line, informed everything she believed – her internationalism, her anti-colonialism, her stand against ‘colour bar’, her view that (when she became a Maoist) ‘women held up half the sky’ and so on. Read her speeches, her articles in the West Indian Gazette; examine the company she kept, such as that of partner Abhimanyu Manchanda. Under McCarthyism she was deported from the USA in 1955 and arrived in Britain because Trinidad and Tobago, her homeland, then under British rule, did not want her back.

To provide this backdrop is not, in any way, to detract from her tenacity and her achievements but rather to set them in their right context. For just as Mandela is now celebrated for his forgiveness and generosity of spirit – in a Christian saintly tradition – Claudia Jones, too, is celebrated in a similar vein. She is revered now for her contribution to Britain’s multicultural vivacity – via the Notting Hill Carnival. But today’s Carnival has very little to do with what she began in 1959 or why. She suggested a kind of spirited celebration with calypso to remind West Indians of home, and it was held in a town hall. The reason was to wash the taste of the racism of the anti-black riots of 1958 ‘out of our mouths’. Similarly, she is embraced now as a leading feminist. But her ‘feminism’ was about the emancipation of the ‘Negro woman’; for her the personal was not the political – rather the political was personal. She should not be read out of her time, put on a liberal pedestal to please contemporary palates. Claudia Jones was tremendously industrious, influential and majestic – a political icon and role model if ever there was one. But she also ran fashion pageants (the sort of beauty shows derided by feminists within a decade) and advertised hair straightening products in her paper. That was her time.

Just as in the case of Nelson Mandela, one can hazard that her greatness and strength were honed both through the hardships she underwent (including incarceration, deportation, poverty and ill-health) and the discipline and rigour of party politics. It was in the party that she began to analyse, write and to organise. She did not believe, as Mandela did not believe, that capitalism (like apartheid) would just roll over and die – it would take long and concerted revolutionary struggle. To erase the political bedrock of people’s beliefs from the telling of their history is not just a monstrous distortion of their life’s work, but is also a very bad political lesson for those trying to change the world in their wake.