Before becoming one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and an international art world powerhouse, Isaac Julien began his career in the early 80s with the Sankofa Film and Video Collective. Formed in the aftermath of the Brixton Rising in an economically depressed South London, between Metropolitan Police and the predominantly Afro-Caribbean residents, Sankofa emerged when Julien was still a film student at Saint Martin’s School of Art alongside Maureen Blackwood (who collaborated with Julien on The Passion of Remembrance
), Martina Attille, Nadine Marsh-Edwards, and Robert Crusz.
Realizing the power and potential of the movingimage to empower and mobilize the masses, Sankofa was dedicated to developing a uniquely British and independent black film culture in the areas of production, exhibition, and audience. Growing in prominence alongside the rise of the Black Audio Film Collective (whose members included John Akomfrah—Images Festival’s opening night 2012), this era of black British film and video artists emerged out of sheer political will, centreing the investigation and articulation of contemporary black identities and cultures from the ground up. For our 30th anniversary, we shine a special international spotlight on Julien’s earliest works, which unfortunately remain prescient as ever.
After the screening, please join lawyer Anthony Morgan and writer Yaniya Lee in conversation.