the names have changed, including my own and truths have been altered
This is a story of the artist’s grandfather, the story of the ‘land’ and the story of an encounter with Nigeria—retold at a single point in time, in a single place. The artist is trying to tell a truth in as many ways as possible. So the names have changed tell us the same story in four different ways: a folktale of two brothers rendered in the broad, unmodulated strokes of colonial British moving images; a Nollywood TV series, on VHS, based on the first published Igbo novel; a story of the family patriarch, passed down through generations; and the diary entries from the artist’s first solo visit to her family’s hometown.
Onyeka Igwe pushes against the materials of the archive—its distortions, fabrications and embellishments—with her own kind of auto-fictional response. The artist summons a variety of artistic, literary and personal sources to create a singular biographical document of many strands. the names have changed throws the ordinary and the everyday within the archive into relief by daring to write and re-write the stories of diasporic African life against the grain of colonial history’s master narratives using a variety of forms. As witnessed in the choreographed sequence in which Igwe and the British-Nigerian dancer Titilayo Adebayo, both dressed in black, perform a dance that is part-call and response, part-classical chorus in miniature, riff- ing on the story of the artist’s grandfather as told by her grandmother. —Tendai John Mutambu