From Poirot to poppers! Jarman Prize Shortlist Celebrates Filmmakers Who Take Risks | video art

From Agatha Christie novels to gay porn montages, the source material for the Film London Jarman Award 2022 nominees list is as varied as the work itself.

This year’s contenders for the £10,000 prize include British-Kenyan filmmaker Grace Ndiritu, whose 2021 film Black Beauty features an advertisement for a factor 5,000 skin cream against a mind-blowing TV interview with the writer Jorge Luis Borges. And Onyeka Igwe, a London-based artist whose 2022 film The Miracle on George Green tells the story of the children who tried to save an ancient chestnut tree in Wanstead, east London, writing letters to the tree house inside.

The prize, named after pioneering filmmaker Derek Jarman and honoring UK artists working with moving images, has earned a reputation for spotting burgeoning talent within the UK art scene. Previous names on the shortlist included Heather Phillipson, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Monster Chetwynd and Charlotte Prodger.

Reinventing literature… an image taken from Black Poirot by Rosa-Johan Uddoh (2019-2021). Photography: Rosa-Johan Uddoh

Rosa-Johan Uddoh, an interdisciplinary artist inspired by black feminist practice, is another hot name on the shortlist. She reinvents classic literature with Black Poirot (2019-2021), billed as a “20-minute ride on the Orientalized-Other Express”, while her other films investigate the lack of black British history on the national curriculum ( 2021’s Practice Makes Perfect) and Racial Passage in African American Social Institutions (2021 Brown Paper Envelope Test).

Elsewhere, Glasgow School of Art graduate Jamie Crewe delivers disorienting sensory overload with 2022’s False Wife, which draws inspiration from compilations of pornography known as “popper training videos” that instruct users to get greater pleasure thanks to the use of amyl nitrate.

The list includes London-based artist and writer Morgan Quaintance, who delves into the Senegalese capital’s vibrant cultural scene with Letter from Dakar in 2019, and Alberta Whittle, a Barbadian-Scottish multimedia artist, researcher and curator whose 40 Minutes 2022 The film Lagareh shines a light on the racial injustices of the British prison system, and whose work 2020 Holding The Line came together during the BLM protests.

a photo of Alberta Whittle's Lagareh (2022)
Racial injustices… a still from Alberta Whittle’s Lagareh (2022). Photograph: © Alberta Whittle. Courtesy of the artist, Scotland + Venice and Forma 2

Adrian Wootton, Managing Director of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “Taking risks in both subject and form, the 2022 shortlist features a diversity of themes that interrogate and articulate the world that surrounds us.”

This year’s Jarman Award winner is expected to be announced the week of November 21. The work of the nominees can be viewed ahead of the event on the Whitechapel Gallery website as well as in various cultural venues across the country.

About Herbert L. Leonard

Check Also

The world of a prolific Maltese filmmaker

ELIO LOMBARDI is well known for his many productions and, at 88, is currently working …