Poppy Retake at Central Manchester Library

The Poppy Retake colonial narratives, spirits from the dead and video war games
a video art installation by Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan


WWI at Manchester Central Library, a new version showing as a part of

World War I’s Hidden Voices:
India, Africa, the West Indies, colonialism and recruitment, impacts of war and our ongoing culture of war explored in two parallel exhibitions:  The Poppy Retake (v3) by Kooj Chuhan  //  From the Shadows of War and Empire by Southern Voices  //  #poppyretake

On show 7th December 2017 – 24th February 2018
at Manchester Central Library
(First Floor), St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD, UK    //   Opening times 9am-8pm Mon-Thurs and 9am-5pm Fri-Sat (Sunday closed)  Tel. +44 (0)161 234 1983

MINI-CONFERENCE – 10th February 2018
Presentations and discussions with a range of speakers offering the most critical perspectives on World War I in any current public forum and giving a deeper insight into themes from the exhibition.  Full details CLICK HERE.
Registration is FREE and strongly advised at www.conferencehiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk

OPENING NIGHT – 6th December 2017  5.30pm-7.30pm
including speakers Ahmed El-Hassan (Southern Voices) and Colette Williams (Mbari), plus live performance from Jaydev Mistry (music), Rani Moorthy (dramatised readings) and Kuljit ‘Kooj’ Chuhan (VJ projection)    //    First Floor exhibition from 5.30pm, then speakers and performance from 6.30pm on Ground Floor
Booking for this free event is strongly advised: www.hiddenvoicesww1.eventbrite.co.uk

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The Poppy RetakeTHE POPPY RETAKE (v3)

video art installation by Kooj (Kuljit Singh Chuhan) – new version

Modern war propaganda began with World War I which obscured its pointlessness and deep colonial connections, while pretending to be the ‘war to end all wars’.  This artwork explores coercion into war, involving an African woman working for a war-themed park.  She finds herself caught between colonial narratives, spirits from the dead and video war games.

Since the end of WWI we have seen numerous wars with the majority in regions once colonised.  Modern video gaming is now the epitome of obscuring both the horror and the colonial roots of much conflict.  The Poppy Retake suggests our multiple connections with wars as forms of cultural recruitment but which impact mostly on people from ex-colonies.  It extends the perspectives developed in the documentary exhibition ‘From The Shadows Of War and Empire’.


From the Shadows of War and Empire

documentary exhibition by Southern Voices

Few know about how European powers brought colonies into World War I, took resources from these countries and took the war to ‘fronts’ outside Europe.  An exhibition which finally tells this major part of the story from the colonies’ point of view.  We focus on India, the West Indies, German and British East Africa, and Nigeria – the British Colonies.

Did you know that the first and last shots of World War One by ‘British’ forces were fired not in Europe, but in Africa?  Or that 1.5 million soldiers from India fought for the British?  The exhibition examines the impact of 1914-18 on these selected colonised countries from the viewpoint of the colonised peoples themselves – their situation as colonies, the impact of the war on them and on anti-colonial struggles.  Accompanied by ‘The Poppy Retake’ art installation by Kooj Chuhan.


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Artistic support team:
Actor – Tracey Zengeni
Interview appearance by Sikh elder – Maluk Singh Chuhan
Sound Recordist and Second Production Assistant – Jaydev Mistry
First Production Assistant – Aidan Jolly
Event co-manager – Rosalind Sandhu-Cartlich
Creative social media – Maya Chowdhry
Video Documentation – Mazaher R
Southern Voices partnership coordinator – Kirit Patel

at the Z-arts Centre launch:
Serge Tebu, Emmanuela Yogolelo and Amani Creatives – music
Ikem Nzeribe and Washington Alcott – speakers
Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi – poetry

at the Manchester Central Library launch:
Rani Moorthy (dramatised readings) and Jaydev Mistry (music) – performance
Ahmed El-Hassan and Colette Williams – speakers

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