‘Personal Archiving Project’, Shiraz Bayjoo

The ‘Personal Archiving Project’ explored the history of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity (LCD) along with personal stories of its residents. Working with the Randall Close Resource Centre, participants created a visual map of the services they know today and the social history that has helped to shape them.

The project’s lead artist Shiraz Bayjoo explored the LCD archive, drawing out photographs from three distinct periods in the development of the charity. The visual material was presented to the participants who collectively pieced together a collaged timeline. Participants were asked to create a narrative exploring their own stories, using photographs and objects from their own past, and present lives. Participants photographed jewellery and copied old photographs that were added to their collaged timelines.

This process also took on the form of recorded interviews, as participants pulled together their memories to create a video. Participants interviewed each other about their experiences of living with disability, as well as staff and volunteers at the centre.

At times, this has been a difficult and painful process for some of the participants as they explored aspects of their own lives and disability. The participants explored their community and the relationships they have formed, presenting an understanding and insight into what is often a hidden part of our society. The project celebrates their successes and illustrates the rich lives they have led and some of the difficult challenges that they have faced. It aimed to empower and create a sense of community amongst the participants as they present to an outside audience their sense of who they are and how this community fits into a wider social history.

The final works for the exhibition were recomposed by Shiraz Bayjoo into mirrored landscapes and repeating elements that create a sense of symmetry and pattern that seeks to draw the viewer along the narratives presented.

The ‘Personal Archiving Project’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

The project ran from October 2013 to March 2014.

‘Crossing The Street’, Shiraz Bayjoo

‘Crossing The Street’ brought together a diverse mix of local Cable Street residents and businesses. Cable Street is a rich environment ranging from the industrious past of the docks and the 1960’s railway overpass, to the tower blocks and 18-century Georgian mansions. The community is equally diverse and has seen great change over the last 100 years, from the anti-fascist riots of the 1930’s to the post war waves of immigration and gentrification.

The project brought together residents and businesses who answered an open call sent out by Shiraz Bayjoo in-conjunction with Wilton’s Music Hall. The participants engaged in a series of photographic workshops experiencing different photographic techniques to explore their personal and common identities, bringing together a greater sense of their community and life along Cable street.

The photographs comprise personal objects juxtaposed with domestic and work spaces, daily routines of work and play. The participants have added to the social history of the area by including their own chapters to the story through their photographs of their own lives and the area as they see it.

‘Crossing The Street’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

The project ran from July to December 2011.

‘Capital Movement’, Shiraz Bayjoo

‘Capital Movement’ encouraged homeless artists on the Providence Row art programme to explore the underlying factors that drive them as artists and individuals. London’s homeless community is perhaps the capital’s most fluid, interacting with communities and institutions, often at polar ends of the social spectrum. This project explored the influences that fuel their artistic practice. The people, the places and the events that shaped their opinions and experiences, became the focus.

Many of the participants worked within traditional mediums such as drawing and painting, combining them with contemporary concepts such as installation. This project encouraged them to abandon the safety net of their practices, in an attempt to understand what drives their subject and interest as artists. Using photography as the instrument for an outsider eye, resulted in a series of photographs, considered and reflective of both the artist and the art that they make.

‘Capital Movement’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

The project ran from July to December 2007.