Onyeka Igwe: 'No Archive Can Restore You'

Image of a film by Onyeka Igwe, 'No Archive Can Restore You'

The former Nigerian Film Unit building was one of the first self-directed outposts of the British visual propaganda engine. The Colonial Film Unit stands empty on Ikoyi Road, Lagos, in the shadow of today’s Nigerian Film Corporation building. The rooms are full of dust, cobwebs, stopped clocks, and rusty and rotting celluloid film cans. Amongst these cans, a long-lost classic of Nigerian filmmaking, Shehu Umar (1976) was found in 2015. The films housed in this building are hard to see because of their condition, but also perhaps because people do not want to see them. They reveal a colonial residue that is echoed in the walls of the building itself.

Igwe’s film imagines several ‘lost’ films from the archive in distinctive soundscapes, juxtaposed with images of the abandoned interior and exteriors of the building. An exploration into the ‘sonic shadows’ that colonial moving images continue to generate.

Produced in association with the KW Production Series, a co-production by Julia Stoschek Collection and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.

Onyeka Igwe
2020 (in production)

About the artist

Onyeka Igwe is a London-based artist and researcher working between cinema and installation. Her video works have shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, LUX, Berlin Biennale, London Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Essay Film Festival and Smithsonian African American Film Festival. She has exhibited at articule (Montreal), Trinity Square Video (Toronto), The Showroom (London) and Jerwood Space (London).

Further resources

Still from a film by Onyeka Igwe, 'No Archive Can Restore You'

The Coral Rig

'In the ocean, intervals of time are marked by the growth and expansion of new life—geologic time is of a different scale. Here one does not count years, but rather sediment, fossilisation and proliferation.' —Yaniya Lee responding to 'No Archive Can Restore You' Read more...