︎︎︎experimental methodology                                                                                                                                     cybernetic archive ︎︎︎

amrar zaga

“our space”=sylheti

by saif osmani

object from annetta's archive object from annetta's archive

workshop with MA urban planning students from sheffield university. ︎︎︎
The emergence of Spitalfields & Banglatown has shifted the psycho-geography of a post-WWII East End of London to encompass the Global East with the first Banglatown forming in and around Brick Lane in London’s East End. With recent pressure from the City, Brick Lane’s identity appears increasingly under contestation.

As part of his ongoing research, the artist Saif Osmani adopts the role of Archivist in search of what he describes as “missing” Bangla archives; materials, pamphlets and paraphernalia that chronicle the impacts of local and national planning policies on British-Bangladeshi culture formation. Since the 1970s community centres, clothing shops, curry houses, grocers and video and cassette shops have enabled creative interest groups in poetry, theatre, textiles and the visual arts to emerge in the area. In ‘Amrar Zaga’ the artist asks: “how have the ecosystems in Brick Lane’s Banglatown facilitated the British-Bangladeshi imagination to emerge?”

The personal archive of Annetta Pedretti (1954-2018) holds clues to how the ‘Banglatown’ concept came about in the late 1990s. Banglatown set the grounds for a community to feel at home, a place for public demonstrations against the Far Right and structural racism while simultaneously allowing the diaspora a space to enact their new “Bangladeshi” identity.

The title for the exhibition is taken from Annetta’s own, ‘Threads in the Fabric of Time’, an agency that she used to participate in local campaigns while acting as a stakeholder in cultural groups and organisations that exist today. In her personal records she wrote down her thoughts during and after these encounters with public bodies, such as with planning departments and policy maker

exploring bengali east end through the looking glass of annetta pedretti

this project - archival research and development, workshops, exhibition and events - was made possible without the support of The Heritage Lottery Fund.