From 2 December 2022, FACT presents a new exhibition by artists Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley & Josèfa Ntjam. Working across archives, maps and video games, the artists consider how acts of resistance, rebuilding and reimagining can lead to transformative new worlds. The exhibition will run until spring 2023 and is the final instalment of Radical Ancestry, FACT’s exploration into the sense of belonging.
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley creates artworks that archive the experiences of Black Trans people and communities who can be otherwise underserved. Through worldbuilding and gaming, her work intertwines reality and fiction to encourage us to explore alternative narratives within interactive digital environments.
Since February 2022, Brathwaite-Shirley has worked with a group of young people from Liverpool, self titled ‘The Bandidos’. Together, they have created a video game that shares their experiences of Liverpool and presents their new, imaginative world. Visitors are invited to experience the world online, and inside the gallery within a large-scale immersive environment. Passing through a bus shelter, visitors emerge onto remnants of a suburban street. A pond, a living room, a playground and a derelict shopfront offer four portals into the experimental video game. Players are encouraged to explore and learn in these alternative dimensions that reshape the rules and systems that frame our lives.
Artist, writer and performer Josèfa Ntjam works across a wide range of mediums, combining sculpture, photomontage, film and sound. For this exhibition, Ntjam presents an immersive installation centred around her film, Dislocation (2022), alongside new sculptures as part of her Metamorphosis (2019-present) series.
The installation submerges visitors into an aqueous, interstellar cave. Strewn with jellyfish, plankton and mushrooms, the gallery is transformed by mythological icons and symbols of resistance, solidarity and care. Through her practice, Ntjam looks at ways to reject widely accepted Western narratives around origin, identity and systems of classification by intertwining research of archives, African mythologies and counter-culture.
Ntjam’s work promotes alternate readings of history, with references spanning the mythic futures of jazz composer Sun Ra, the siren goddess Mami Wata and the speculative underwater civilisations popularised by Detroit techno duo Drexyia. For Ntjam, these tales of resilience offer ways to rethink the aftermath of colonialism and the Transatlantic slave trade, through new forms of knowledge and connections. Presenting this work in Liverpool, a port city that prospered from the slave trade, only heightens its resonance and urgency.
The free exhibition will be accompanied by a public programme of events including artist talks, curator tours and family workshops.