Exhibition / 9 Mar – 11 May 2024

Interventions: Gallery Reset - Alteration

Nelly Ating, Audrey Albert, Ffion Denman, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay

Exhibition Preview: Friday 8 March, 6 - 8pm

Curated by Nelly Ating

What does it mean to be altered?

Like clothes are altered by a tailor to fit the wearer, so too are the records of history. Fragments of histories crafted, maintained for specific purposes, often silenced. The suppression of histories has shaped ideologies, social systems. The alteration of history has altered the fabric of society.

Interrogating archival photographs and objects that centre a Western history of decolonialisation through alteration, the artists Ffion Denman, Nelly Ating, Audrey Albert, and Ariella Aïsha Azoulay consider the role that galleries and institutions play in the public discourse and interpretation of history. Specifically, the contortion of history regarding the Welsh Patagonia colonisation, the South African Afrikaans occupation, the Chagossian Islands under British colonisation, and the occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces are reinterpreted by the artists in the gallery space. As Conrad (2016) points out, global history aims to come to terms with the connections of the past. Therefore, from image circulation to the use of these material objects, the artists aim to draw from similar historical alteration as a marker that connects levels of distortion.

What has this got to do with the gallery as an institution?

As political concepts are not neutral, the gallery bears witness to many levels and forms of alteration. Can the gallery’s past be reimagined, interwoven with other pasts?


Last year we were delighted to start working with Audrey Albert and the Imperial War Museums on a project as part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national partnership programme of over 20 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict. Led by Imperial War Museums, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund was created following the success of 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary. Albert’s commission focuses on the Chagos Islands. We are looking forward to showing some of Audrey’s work in progress this Spring as part of the Interventions: Gallery Reset show Alteration, with the commission culminating in a solo exhibition at Ffotogallery in 2025.

Interventions: Gallery Reset is a series of gallery ‘takeovers' made possible with Art Fund’s ‘Reimagine’ grant, providing new opportunities for artists to experiment, challenge and ask provocative questions, with a focus on themes such as identity, migration, gender, social inequality and the environment.

Thumbnail: from Matter Out Of Place © Audrey Albert

About Artists

Portrait of Nelly Ating

Nelly Ating

Nelly Ating is a photojournalist who focuses on questions of identity, education, extremism, and migration. As a photojournalist, her work has been published in local dailies in Nigeria and legacy media such as the BBC and CNN. Her photographic work documenting the rise of Boko Haram terrorism between 2014 and 2020 in Northeast Nigeria shone a light on the aftermath of violent extremism. Ating has exhibited at galleries and photographic festivals in Africa, Europe and the US, as well as judged and reviewed photography competitions such as African Women in Media (AWiM) and Ugandan Press Photo Awards. She is a member of Women Photograph, Black Women Photographers, African Women in Photography, the Journal Collective, and African Database for Photojournalists run by the World Press Photo. She is currently a PhD candidate at Cardiff University researching the discourse of human rights through photography.

Portrait of Audrey Albert

Audrey Albert

Audrey Albert is a Mauritian-Chagossian, visual artist and creative facilitator. Based in Manchester, Audrey’s research-led practice enables her to consider and investigate themes of mixed identity, collective memory and displacement.

Selected for the Future Fires 2020 programme at Contact and the 2021 Creative Fellowship for Manchester International Festival, Audrey is currently working on Chagossians of Manchester (CoM) and Ble Kouler Lakaz (Blue is the colour of Home), both socially-engaged art project about Chagossian culture and heritage.

Audrey’s work highlights stories of empowerment that celebrate Chagossian culture and heritage. Through these works, she pay homage to Chagossian ancestors, including her own, whose descendants are still affected by forceful displacement.

Portrait of Ffion Denman

Ffion Denman

Ffion Denman is a photographer and educator currently living in Cardiff.

My body of work opens up complex conversations on cultural displacement and the values of Welsh identity in Patagonia. The work in progress, goes beyond a romanticised notion of my Patagonia from my childhood imagination and invites onlookers to consider a more nuanced and intricate story; which includes the question of what happens when a dominant culture overshadows a minor, and more vulnerable one.

Portrait of Ariella Aïsha Azoulay

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is a film essayist and independent curator of anticolonial archives and exhibitions, and Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature at Brown University. Her research and books focus on the potential history of key political concepts and institutions: the archive, sovereignty, art, and human rights. Potential history, a concept and an approach that she has developed over the last decade, has far-reaching implications for the fields of political theory, archival formations, and photography studies.

Azoulay is the author of Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019) and The Civil Contract of Photography (2008). Her films include The World Like a Jewel in the Hand: Unlearning Imperial II (2022) and Un-documented: Undoing Imperial Plunder (2019).