Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul

Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul


March 27, 2023
Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul
Artist’s book
New York book launch: March 31, 7pm
London book launch: April 11, 6–8pm

Convening polyphonous voices from past and present, I Will Keep My Soul is an orchestral layering of photography, historical documents, poetry and interviews, all rooted in the social history, geography and community of New Orleans.

In this prismatic artist’s book, UK-based artist Helen Cammock traverses the city, rendering her observations and encounters into reverberant texts and percipient photographic images that tender the city’s invisible histories. She weaves these contemporary sequences with archival materials from the Amistad Research Center to sustain the city’s complex past. The book object itself—its flexibility, its tactility, its use of transparent paper to layer images and texts—invites the reader into a capacious experience in which multiple and sometimes competing truths can be seen and heard.

Among the newspaper clippings, instructions for activists, a nineteenth-century publication on Creole slave songs that speak the long struggle for Civil Rights, the most persistent historical voice in I Will Keep My Soul belongs to sculptor Elizabeth Catlett whose observations punctuate each section of the book. Cammock also draws on correspondence and photographs that articulate Catlett’s participation in the Civil Rights movement as well as her struggle for agency, autonomy and support during her 1976 commission to create a bronze monument to New Orleans musician Louis Armstrong, sited at Congo Square, a place laden with histories of immense oppression as well as celebration.

Textual contributions by Jordan Amirkhani, Andrea Andersson and Kristina Kay Robinson are not positioned as traditional art criticism, but instead further deepen the reader’s knowledge, experience and understanding of the opposing forces—geographical, economic, historical, cultural—that have formed the city New Orleans. The book also includes a contribution by Roshanak Keshti and excerpts from an interview conducted by Courtney J. Martin.

Summoning, holding and arranging these voices with extraordinary deftness and acuity, I Will Keep My Soul coalesces into a rhizomatic and particularly American story of art and activism, of culture and capital, of being and belonging.

I Will Keep My Soul by Helen Cammock / copublished by siglio, Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought and California African American Museum  / cloth-flexi / 10.75 x 7.75  inches / 188  pages, full color throughout / ISBN 978-1-938221-33-0 / Use code EFLUX for 20 percent off at Siglio.

New York City book launch: March 31, 7pm. Helen Cammock reads from the book and converses with writer/art historian Re’al Christian at the Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA), New York NY, 225 West 13th Street. RSVP here.

London book launch: April 11, 6–8pm. Helen Cammock reads from the book and converses with Rivers director/curator Andrea Andersson at Kate MacGarry Gallery, 27 Old Nichol Street, London, E2 7HR.

Helen Cammock uses film, photography, print, text, song and performance to examine mainstream historical and contemporary narratives about Blackness, womanhood, oppression and resistance, wealth and power, poverty and vulnerability. Her works often cut across time and geography, layering multiple voices as she investigates the cyclical nature of histories in her visual and aural assemblages. In 2017, Cammock received the Max Mara Art Prize for Women and in 2019 was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize. She has exhibited and performed worldwide including recent solo shows at the Whitechapel Gallery,  The Photographer’s Gallery (London, UK), STUK Art Centre (Leuven, Belgium), Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia, Italy), VOID (Derry, Northern Ireland), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, Ireland), Kestner Gesellshaft (Hamburg, Germany) and group shows at Serpentine Galleries, Tate Britain (London, UK), and Hamburger Kunstalle (Germany). Other upcoming solo shows include Oakville Galleries (Toronto, Canada) and Amant (New York).

siglio publishes uncommon books that live in the rich and varied space between art and literature. Driven by its feminist ethos, siglio champions uncategorizable, unwieldy and expansive works by artists and writers who invite readers to see the world anew by reading word, image and page in unfamiliar ways. For siglio, “the book” is many things, above all, a space for heterodoxy, ambiguity, wonder and play.

RSVP for Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul
March 27, 2023

Thank you for your RSVP.

Siglio will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.