Monumental Persistence

Following Government advice about coronavirus (Covid-19), the Henry Moore Institute is currently closed until further notice.

We will attempt to reschedule disrupted events where this is possible. Find out more.

Join us for the screening of three short-films which use documentary and montage in three distinct ways to examine the altering status of monuments. Extending and reinterpreting the historical context of their subjects; each film has its own take on the symbolic redistribution of monuments affected by colonialism and conflict.

The Return of the Axum Obelisk (2009)
Theo Eshetu (28 minutes)

Eshetu shows the return of the 'Roman' Axum Obelisk to Ethiopia more than 70 years after Mussolini had it shipped to Italy as spoils of war. Building on his own film documentation of this extraordinary incident of restitution, Eshetu has created an elaborate work whose compositional complexity is a small-scale honouring of the technical feat of engineering involved in reinstating the towering obelisk. Eshetu also addresses the theme through traditional Ethiopian painting, using filmed modern re-enactments of the origin myth of the story of the Queen of Sheba who reigned over the region surrounding Axum – to present the obelisk’s reinstallation as a “ritual ceremony of transformation.”

Cacheu (2012)
Filipa César (10 minutes)

Cacheu is a 10-minute shot of a lecture, performed by Joana Barrios, revolving around four colonial statues, which are stored today at the Fortress of Cacheu, one of the first bastions constructed by the Portuguese in 1588 in order to facilitate slave trade in the West African country of Guinea Bissau. Barrios evokes symbolic conflicts by tracing back different contexts in which the statues make an appearance: on a pedestal during Portuguese colonialism, dethroned and broken in pieces after Independence in the film Sans Soleil by Chris Marker, as background ghosts in Mortu Nega by Flora Gomes, and finally displayed at the Cacheu fort. The montage is a process that takes place before shooting, so that the image production is a result of a performative assemblage between text, acting, projected image and the framing of the camera by the director of photography, Matthias Biber.

Turbo Sculpture (2010-13)
Aleksandra Domanović (19 minutes)

Turbo Sculpture (2010-13) is a moving image work underscoring the artist’s concern with the public life of sculpture. It interrogates the phenomenon of public sculpture in the former Yugoslavia, the artist’s country of birth, dedicated to non-national media celebrities, such as Bruce Lee, Bob Marley and Samantha Fox. It is commonly argued that the rejection of the traditional regional/political context of civic monuments (leading to the turbo sculpture age) is a condition of the post-traumatic recalibration of identity and ideology that occurred following the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.


Due to our current closure, all of our events are postponed until further notice. We will attempt to reschedule whenever it is possible to do so. Thank you for your understanding.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

The Henry Moore Institute will be reopening from Tuesday 18 May.