NH Tit-Bits
03 July 2011
Lyrically political Isaac Julien, a heir of Derek Jarman

Isaac Julien is one of the most innovative British video artists. A son of Caribbean immigrants, in the 80s, after graduating from St. Martin’s School of Art, he was one of the co-founders of Sankofa Film and Video Collective (1983–1992) – a film collective aiming at providing the ground for ‘black film culture’, raising the awareness of the audience, and sharpening the claws of political artists. Julien not only advocated the issue, but he also stood behind the most famous film made by Sankofa, The Passion of Remembrance, from 1986, a manifesto of the new identity of British African Americans struggling not only with the post-colonial legacy but also with the issues of gender identity and sexual preferences.

The Wroclaw audience knows him from Derek, a film from 2008, screened during the 8th ENH. It's a remembrance about Derek Jarman, the artist's friend and mentor. In this film Julien collected the pieces of Jarman's unknown films and joined them in a collage with a love letter written by an actress, Tilda Swinton. During the 11th edition of the festival we will have the chance to see two of his films: The Leopard, a cinematic transposition of a famous, multi-channel installation of the artist, Western union: Small Boats, exhibited in the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle; and Better Life with Maggie Cheung in one of the roles ‒ a film consisting of three stylized stories about ghosts in Shanghai.

"I am putting the fire underneath people": Isaac Julien in conversation with Katarzyna Bojarska (Obieg, 2009)

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