"The Centre Being Rome" takes its departure point as the story of Captain Misson, beginning with his visit to Rome via the Port of Naples, where he seeks out the ‘height of the civilised world’. Upon witnessing the excesses of the clergy and the Papal court, and befriending a fallen priest, together they decide to rebel against the centres of power and the established order by entering into piracy. This brief but detailed start to Misson’s story was detailed by the author Defoe, who incorporated the long standing symbol of Rome as a centre of civilisation
Bayjoo's installation, composed of over painted found photographs laminated upon a a freestanding structure, includes recent and historical images of Rome. The resulting work, and its title, acts as a provocation and an invitation for the viewer to consider Rome's situation as both a geographical centre and an ideological reference point which in its steadfast resistance to change somehow embodies an alternative (however unwitting) to the hyper-capitalist centres of North Western Europe, the Far East and the The United States.
The title also refers to the fact that Rome is the destination of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants per year, as a result of poverty and conflict in Asia and Africa. In recent years the social fabric of Rome has been reshaped by a growing immigrant population who live alongside the Italian majority and the ever present yet transient expatriate minority.
Bayjoo's work, as part of an ongoing research project into post colonialism documents the power that some cities or regions have in attracting or diverting the flow of migrants and playing host to their stories.
The Centre Being Rome is part of 'Searching for Libertalia’, the second part of Shiraz Bayjoo’s (born Mauritius 1979, lives and works in London) Indian Ocean trilogy, exploring themes of national sovereignty, democracy and the authoring of collective identity in the pre and post colony.
The work is one of 6 one-week long installations being held in Una Vetrina, arising from collaborations between artists and critic and theorist Mike Watson under the name 'Conduit'. The following shows will be held on:
May 31st: Andrew Rutt
June 7th: Girolamo Marri
July 12th: Ali Al Sharj
More to to be announced...