Northwestern Events Calendar


The Loose Ends of Empire: Unforgetting Colonialism


When: Thursday, February 25, 2021
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM CT

Where: Online
Webcast Link

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free and open to all, online

Contact: Block Museum of Art   (847) 491-4000

Group: Block Museum of Art

Co-Sponsor: Gender & Sexuality Studies Program

Category: Social, Fine Arts


"The Loose Ends of Empire: Unforgetting Colonialism" is a program of experimental film and audio-visual works from the UK, the second in a series of programs exploring the legacies and futures of Black British cinema, guest curated by Northwestern graduate students Madison Ivory Alan-Lee, Gervais Marsh, and Tyler Talbott.

(Various Artists, 1985-2019, United Kingdom, digital, approx. 59 min)

 Starting at 7 PM Central Time on February 25, “The Loose Ends of Empire” will be available on the Block’s Eventive page, including a discussion with filmmaker Onyeka Igwe and Professor Bimbola Akinbola, Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. The program will be available to watch for a 48-hour period. Please RSVP for access.

About the program:
Haunted by the specter of British colonialism, three experimental meditations in sound and image by Keith Piper, Onyeka Igwe, and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa explore memory, amnesia, and empire across thirty years. Together, these works offer visual and sonic bricolages of the remnants of British imperial power, drawing on archival material to critically examine fact and fiction, repression, and remembrance.

About the films:
In Keith Piper’s multimedia slide sequence The Trophies of Empire (1985), fragmentary reflections trace Britain’s ties to slavery and colonization through images of the city streets of London. In a single continuous take, Promised Lands (2018) reflects on the ways that historical colonialism shrouds the present. Meditative and dissonant, the film is a contrapuntal critique of colonial amnesia and imperial power. Finally, Onyeka Igwe’s the names have changed, including my own and truths have been altered (2019) juxtaposes colonial, personal, and televisual archives. This study of memory and amnesia reveals the ambiguities and tensions that arise from the interplay of objects and archives. Following the program, filmmaker Onyeka Igwe will appear in conversation with Professor Bimbola Akinbola, Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.


The Trophies of Empire (1985) (Keith Piper, 1985, Tape/Slide, transferred to digital, UK, 13 min)

the names have changed, including my own and truths have been altered (Onyeka Igwe, 2019, UK, 26 min)

Promised Lands (Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, 2015-2018, Uganda, Austria, Germany, 20 min)



Onyeka Igwe 
Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between cinema and installation, born and based in London, UK. Through her work, Onyeka is animated by the question —  how do we live together? — with particular interest in the ways bodies, architecture and Othered ways of being and knowing can provide answers. She uses dance, voice, archives, narration and text to create structural ‘figure-of-eights’, a format that exposes a multiplicity of narratives. Onyeka’s video works have been screened at Artists’ Film Club: Black Radical Imagination, ICA, London, 2017; Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, 2020, and at film festivals internationally.

Bimbola Akinbola 
Working at the intersection of performance, visual culture, and literature, Bimbola Akinbola’s scholarly and creative work is concerned with conceptions of belonging and queer worldmaking in African diasporic cultural production. In addition to her scholarly work, Akinbola is a practicing visual artist and has worked on a number of performance-based projects exploring Blackness, memory, and erasure in collaboration with dance companies, universities, and independent choreographers across the U.S. 

The films in “The Loose Ends of Empire" appear courtesy of LUX and artist Keith Piper.

Co-presented by The Block Museum of Art with support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Black Arts Initiative, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, the Department of Radio/Television/Film, Screen Cultures Program, and the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

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