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Curator Tour: Open Eye Gallery

George Osodi, Nigerian Monarchs (HRH Shehu of Borno Empire Abubakar Umar Garbai El Kanemi), 2016. Image courtesy the artist

George Osodi, Nigerian Monarchs (HRH Shehu of Borno Empire Abubakar Umar Garbai El Kanemi), 2016. Image courtesy the artist

Join Open Eye Gallery’s curator Thomas Dukes for an introduction to the works of Madiha Aijaz and George Osodi.

Nigerian Monarchs is a series of photographs that depicts the regional rulers in George Osodi’s home country of Nigeria. The images convey the different personalities of the rulers as well as the extravagant regalia that now stand as symbols of lost power: their role has been largely relegated to a ceremonial one with no constitutional powers. Celebrating the ethnic diversity and cultural complexity of Nigeria, the portraits also reference Europe’s colonialist past: some of the rulers’ ancestors were kings during times of slavery. Osodi hopes to redress their inaccurate depiction during the early days of colonialism by portraying the rulers in the stately and dignified manner that befits them.

Madiha Aijaz’s new film installation These Silences Are All the Words explores the public libraries of Karachi, Pakistan, against the backdrop of the city’s changing landscape. Focusing on librarians who have been working for years in traditional institutions such as Bedil Library, Aijaz tells the stories of an aging intelligentsia. The conversations with both librarians and the library’s users reflect on the shift of language from Urdu and its poetic and literary history to the ambition and individualism associated with English. Many of Aijaz’s works similarly offer a perspective on a country sharply divided along linguistic lines. Her work contextualises the complexity of the postcolonial state and its ambitions surrounding the English language, not only as the legacy of the Raj, but also as a tool for authority and social mobility. Using photography, film and text, Aijaz combines different media to present a city’s history from a literary point of view.

Madiha Aijaz is commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, Karachi Biennale and The Tetley, as part of the New North and South, in collaboration with Hospitalfield and ROSL Arts


11 August 2018, 3–4pm


Open Eye Gallery
19 Mann Island
L3 1BP

Open Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm, Free


Free, drop-in