Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba at Gasworks

Artists: Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba

Exhibition title: Nosferasta

Venue: Gasworks, London, UK

Date: October 6 – December 19, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Gasworks, London

Note: Exhibition book is available here

Gasworks presents the first UK commission by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer in collaboration with Oba. The exhibition launches their ongoing film Nosferasta, a nightmarish chronicle of colonial encounters dating back to 1492.

Nosferasta is the first iteration of a Rastafarian vampire film starring and co-written by Oba, a Trinidadian artist and musician based in Brooklyn. Spanning 500 years of colonial destruction, human trafficking and blood sucking, the film reimagines Oba’s origin story. In the late 15th century, Oba is shipped as cargo from West Africa to the Caribbean, where he is bitten and converted by the vampire Christopher Columbus, ensuring his undying allegiance to the colonial project.

Oba claims he has three birthdays: the day he was born, the day he was bitten, and the day he killed his master. There is a dark irony in the fact that Columbus is both a despotic father figure to Oba and his partner in crime. Engaged in unholy union, this unlikely duo spread vampirism across the Western Hemisphere, pulling the strings of ‘New World’ geopolitics until Oba’s encounter with Rastafarianism, an anticolonial religion, enables him to break Columbus’ spell.

In the film, period scenes are in tense dialogue with unscripted vignettes of Oba’s post-vampiric existence in present-day Brooklyn. These portray Oba’s real-life struggles with the colonial bureaucracy he once helped to build, including his quest for U.S. citizenship and literacy. Combining film forms and jumping across multiple timelines, locations and perspectives, Nosferasta tells the story of an ageing Rastafarian vampire at the decline of colonial empires. It examines the guilt of being complicit in imperial conquest, while acknowledging the extreme difficulty of unlearning centuries of vampiric conditioning. Ultimately, the film tackles an uncomfortable question: How can you decolonise yourself, if it’s in your blood?

Nosferasta shows alongside a votive demon sculpture by Oba. Within the sculpture Khalil and Sweitzer have included a sound installation that whispers a timeline of major events in vampire history which have shaped colonial modernity to the present day. and a replica of a mural by Oba, originally painted without permission to beautify Adam Khalil’s apartment building in Brooklyn.

Nosferasta is commissioned and produced by Gasworks, London and Spike Island, Bristol, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. The film is also supported by Cinereach.

The film will be presented at Spike Island, Bristol, in February 2022.

Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters.







Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil & Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Installation view. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. Photo: Andy Keate

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Film still. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Film still. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Film still. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Film still. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Film still. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer with Oba, Nosferasta, 2021. Film still. Courtesy of the artists. Commissioned and produced by Gasworks and Spike Island, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art

The Book, 2021. 176 pages, 148 x 105mm. Nosferasta: The Book features critical essays, speculative fiction and visual contributions by Peggy Ahwesh, Lou Cornum, Alex Esco, Sabel Gavaldon, Adam Khalil, Mutabaruka, Oba, Austin Sley Julian, Bayley Sweitzer, and Laura Vallés – Interspersed with excerpts from Oba’s literacy diaries. Designed by fag tips (aka Virgil b/g Taylor)

The Book, 2021. 176 pages, 148 x 105mm. Nosferasta: The Book features critical essays, speculative fiction and visual contributions by Peggy Ahwesh, Lou Cornum, Alex Esco, Sabel Gavaldon, Adam Khalil, Mutabaruka, Oba, Austin Sley Julian, Bayley Sweitzer, and Laura Vallés – Interspersed with excerpts from Oba’s literacy diaries. Designed by fag tips (aka Virgil b/g Taylor)

The Book, 2021. 176 pages, 148 x 105mm. Nosferasta: The Book features critical essays, speculative fiction and visual contributions by Peggy Ahwesh, Lou Cornum, Alex Esco, Sabel Gavaldon, Adam Khalil, Mutabaruka, Oba, Austin Sley Julian, Bayley Sweitzer, and Laura Vallés – Interspersed with excerpts from Oba’s literacy diaries. Designed by fag tips (aka Virgil b/g Taylor)

The Book, 2021. 176 pages, 148 x 105mm. Nosferasta: The Book features critical essays, speculative fiction and visual contributions by Peggy Ahwesh, Lou Cornum, Alex Esco, Sabel Gavaldon, Adam Khalil, Mutabaruka, Oba, Austin Sley Julian, Bayley Sweitzer, and Laura Vallés – Interspersed with excerpts from Oba’s literacy diaries. Designed by fag tips (aka Virgil b/g Taylor)