Onyeka Igwe, No Dance, No Palaver at Africa in Motion Film Festival

1 November 2018

Tramway, Glasgow

Onyeka Igwe, Her Name in My Mouth, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

No Dance, No Palaver is a series of three works by artist Onyeka Igwe representing the culmination of her research into the Aba Women’s War of 1929. All of the films use the first anti-colonial uprising in Nigeria as an entry point to experiment with colonial moving images relating to West Africa during the first half of the 20th century. Igwe utilises material from the colonial archive, employing it as a mode of resistance.


Onyeka Igwe, Her Name in My Mouth, 2017. HD video, 6 min.The film revisions the Aba Women’s War, the first major anti-colonial uprisings in Nigeria, using embodiment, gesture and the archive. The film is structured around the re-purposing of archival films from the British propaganda arm cut against a gestural evocation of the women’s testimonies.

Onyeka Igwe, Sitting on a Man, 2018. HD video, 7 min.Traditionally, women in Igbo-speaking parts of Nigeria came together to protest the behaviour of men by sitting on or making war on them by adorning themselves with palm fronds, dancing and singing protest songs outside the man in question’s home. This practice became infamous due to its prominence as a tactic in the Aba Women’s War, the 1929 all-woman protest against colonial rule. Two contemporary dancers re-imagine the practice, drawing on both archival research and their own experiences.

Onyeka Igwe, Specialised Technique, 2018. HD video, 6 min.William Sellers and the Colonial Film Unit developed a framework for colonial cinema, which included slow edits, no camera tricks and minimal camera movement. Hundreds of films were created in accordance to this rule set. In an effort to recuperate black dance from this colonial project, Specialised Technique attempts to transform this material from studied spectacle to livingness.

Selected by Onyeka Igwe

Rabz Lansquiot, Nyansapo, 2018. HD video, 11 min.Nyansapo traces family heritage through an interview with the filmmaker’s grandmother, utilising archive footage to visualise a history.

Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, Unearthing. In Conversation, 2017. HD video, 13 min.The seats in the theatre are still empty when the performer – the artist – enters the frame. She speaks about a colonial flashback. She is haunted by a series of historic photographs of or taken by the Austrian ethnographer Paul Schebesta in the 1930s in the Belgian colony of the Congo.

Total running time: 42 min

Onyeka Igwe will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

This programme is presented as a partnership between LUX Scotland and Africa in Motion Film Festival, with two films selected by Onyeka Igwe alongside her trilogy.