Shiraz Bayjoo at the Sharjah Biennial 14

En Famille, a series by Shiraz Bayjoo, features in Journey Beyond the Arrow, one of three special exhibitions at the Sharjah Biennial 14 until 10 June 2019.

En Famille 1 by Shiraz Bayjoo

En Famille 1

Shiraz Bayjoo

© Shiraz Bayjoo

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Made of acrylic, resin and photographic transfers on wood, each of the works in En Famille by Shiraz Bayjoo, incorporates evocative images from the mid 19th century. The artist discovered these in an album of photographs that originated from the former home of a wealthy, aristocratic ‘Sugar Baron’ in Mauritius. Emerging from ethereal, dream-like spaces, the figures in the photographs are thought to have been household servants who would have once worked in the house. Who originally took these photographs and for what purpose, is unknown. While the style and function of photography at the time was predominantly ethnographic or administrative in nature, the photographs in En Famille bring a compelling note of intimacy into the unknown lives, thoughts and dreams of the once ‘hidden’ people of the house.

Emerging from pools of blue, orange and green tones, each image of the series is set within a wooden support, objects that were once jewellery trays belonging to Bayjoo’s great aunt. A jeweller in Mauritius, she stacked and used the trays to display pieces for sale. Playing on the idea of the trays’ original purpose to display objects of great beauty, Bayjoo’s works retain an element of mystery in their ghostly and jewel-like presentation of people about whom we know very little.

Producing painting, video, photography, performance and installation, Bayjoo’s research-based practice often focuses on personal and public archives. These sources allow him to explore ideas around cultural memory, nationhood, and the challenges of establishing a collective identity within a globalised post-colonial context.

Shiraz Bayjoo was born in Mauritius in 1980. He studied at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. He was artist-in-residence at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2011, and has exhibited at Tate Britain and the Institute of International Visual Arts, London.. In 2014 he was a recipient of the Gasworks Fellowship; and in 2018, he presented multi-media and archival works linked to the history of Mauritius, at the sixth edition of the 1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House, London.

Further Information

Sharjah Biennial 14
Sharjah Art Foundation
c/o Sharjah Art Museum
PO Box 19989
Al Shuwaiheen
Arts Area, Sharjah

Telephone: +971 6 568 5050
Email: info@sharjahart.org