The Jarman Award artists take over the Whitechapel Gallery in London

On Saturday, November 12, the artists filmmakers shortlisted for this year Film London Jarman Award took over the Whitechapel Gallery for a day of presentations, lectures and film screenings.

After showing their work in major galleries across the UK, all of the shortlisted artists were present at the Whitechapel Gallery on Saturday for the final day of Film London Jarman Prize Tour. Throughout the day, the artists guided us and immersed us in their own journeys of artistic exploration and discovery.

Along with personal encounters with the artists, attendees were treated to a celebration of the life and work of Derek Jarman. The Whitechapel Gallery presented Derek Jarman at 80; a series of films and never-before-seen readings and audio recordings of the artist’s groundbreaking work.

Films from the Film London Jarman Award 2022 Touring Program and recorded interviews with this year’s class of artists were also screened throughout the day in the Whitechapel Gallery’s immersive study studio.

The day started with Onyeka Igwediscussing their recent and upcoming artwork in a conversation with Dr Jareh Das, writer, researcher and curator working between West Africa and the UK. Onyeka’s movie a so-called archive (2020), was screened at the Gallery, inviting the public to visit physical spaces rooted in the forgotten colonial pasts of the UK and Nigeria.

Following this discussion was Morgan QuintanceThe artist’s speech: (Return)Slideshow. Departing from the traditional basic format of a slideshow presentation, Morgan’s spoken narration, interspersed with music and moving images, unveiled the themes of his Film London Jarman Award Touring Program. Survive you, always (2020). The film, screened at the Gallery, recounts in a dual and emotional way the artist’s experiences with psychedelic drugs and urban difficulties in 1990s London.

In the middle of the day, the two Alberta Whittle and Rosa-Johan Uddoh presented readings of their recent work. Reading by Alberta of a text from a recent film from here Lagareh – The Last Born (2022) was followed by a conversation with Lisa Anderson, Executive Director (Acting) of the Black Cultural Archives. Lagareh explores themes of race, xenophobia and trauma through archival footage of postcolonial communities from Africa to the Caribbean, using storytelling as a powerful tool to confront complex emotions such as grief, rage and hope.

Rosa-Johan Uddoh presented readings from his new book It is practice makes perfect centered on themes of radical self-love and inspired by black feminist writing, similar to the practice and writing of Lola Olufemi who led a Q&A with Rosa following her presentation. Rosa’s featured film in Whitechapel last week was Poirot Black (2018-2021), a journey on the Orientalized-Other Express; as a remembered crime is investigated. The film tackles themes of symbolism in mass media, using music and archival footage from British popular culture to invite us into a lesser-known story.

In conversation with the London and Lisbon artist Celine Condorelli, Grace Ndiritu discussed his artistic inspirations, from themes of shamanism, stories of indigenous communities, and his desire to create a non-rational expansive cinema. In Grace’s movie black beauty (2021), an African model, while filming a commercial in Patagonia, falls into a hallucinatory trance as she reinvents herself as a Late Night talk show host in the presence of legendary Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The film takes you into a time-altering reality to explore key issues of climate change, migration, and pandemics.

Jamie Crewethe artist’s speech DEMONIC HALF PERSON covered the artistic techniques and inspirations that inspired her throughout her career, from sculpture to 18th century queer literature. After discussing how she has worked to create video responses to these themes in her work, Jamie’s film fake wife (2022) was also screened in Whitechapel. The film’s uplifting music and hypnotic visuals take viewers through a unique experience of shame, longing, and the desire for change, masked under the narration of a poppers training video.

Stay tuned to our website and social media as you can watch all the films mentioned here, when the winner of the Film London Jarman Award 2022 is announced on Tuesday 22nd November!

About Herbert L. Leonard

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