About the Artist
Isaac Julien was born in London, England, where he continues to live and work.
He came to prominence in the early 1980s as a founding member of the Sankofa
Film/Video Collective, a seminal U.K. group that explored new ways of representing
black identity. Isaac Julien's connection to ArtPace began in 1999. In that year he was
chosen as an ArtPace resident, and while in San Antonio produced The Long Road
to Mazatl‡n (1999), a work that went on to earn him a Turner Prize nomination in
From his critically acclaimed documentaries Looking for Langston (1989)
and BaadAsssss Cinema (2002), to his multi-channel installations Paradise
Omeros (2002) and Baltimore (2003), Julien's work combines dreamlike
rhythms and lush imagery in stylized narratives. His films subvert the cinematic gaze to
address issues of immigration, race, gender, desire, and the politics of
Widely considered to be one of Britain's foremost contemporary artists, Isaac Julien has
exhibited extensively around the world. Paradise Omeros debuted at
Documenta11 in Kassell, Germany. Julien has had solo exhibitions at such
venues as the Tate Gallery, London, England; the Aspen Art Museum, CO; the Museum
of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the BildMuseet, UmeŚ, Sweden; and the MIT List
Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA. Julien has also served as a visiting lecturer at
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA and is a 2001 recipient of both the Eugene
McDermott Award in the Arts and the Frameline Lifetime Achievement Award
About the Exhibition
Isaac Julien's 20-minute filmic triptych, Paradise Omeros (2002) explores
the experience of creolization? psychological and linguistic impact of colonization,
immigration, and globalization. Based on Derek Walcott's Nobel Prize-winning epic
poem Omeros, Julien's work follows a young protagonist from the rich tropics of
St. Lucia to gritty urban England. In a key passage the main character is immersed and
transported from the blue waters of the island to London's inner city?gesting his
struggle for a sense of place and his feelings of fear, anxiety, love, and hate. Paradise
Omeros reworks normative conceptions of identity, black (African Diaspora)
experience, and sexuality through a shifting, dream-like structure that suggests the
emblematic search for "new life" promised by the West.
With Baltimore (2003) Julien again uses compelling visual strategies to
move forward a narrative that references high art, political history, and popular culture.
Named for the city in which it was filmed, the work draws on the history of
blaxploitation films of the 1970s. This 11-minute piece follows the legendary Melvin
Van Peebles, one of the pioneers of the new black cinema that emerged during that
decade, and a futuristic version of the foxy, gun-toting female that appeared in such
films. Julien skillfully employs the three-screen format to manipulate time and
perspective. The work seamlessly pivots between the characters walking through the city
and into three of its museums?re encountering artifacts and objects that bring to life
the past, present, and possible future of African-Americans.
October 30, 2003 ?nuary 25, 2004
Paradise Omeros: October 30?ember 14, 2003
Baltimore: December 17, 2003?uary 25, 2004
Thursday, October 30, 2003. 6:30-8:00 PM
Gallery walk-thru with the artist at 7:00 PM
Brown Bag Lunches
Join us for a tour of the exhibition followed by conversation and lunch by Pecan
Please call ArtPace to make reservations.
Paradise Omeros: Wednesday, December 10, 2003, 12:00-1:00 PM.
Baltimore: Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 12:00-1:00 PM
All events held at ArtPace, 445 N. Main Avenue. Free parking at N. Flores and Savings
Streets. ArtPace is open to the public Wednesday thru Sunday, 12-5 PM, Thursday 12-8
PM, and by appointment. There is no charge for admission.
Limited Edition Print and Catalogue
Isaac Julien has produced a limited edition print for ArtPace, culled from the Caribbean
imagery of Paradise Omeros. Also available is a catalogue documenting his film oeuvre.
Please call ArtPace for further details.
ArtPace, A Foundation for Contemporary Art | San Antonio serves as an advocate
for contemporary art and as a catalyst for the creation of significant art projects. We
seek to nurture emerging and established artists and to provide opportunities for
inspiration, experimentation and education. Through our International Artist-in-
Residence Program, we invite nine artists annually to participate in a two-month
residency which supports the evolution of new ideas in art. Our broad range of panels,
lectures, artist talks, and studio visits cultivates diverse audiences for contemporary art
and provides a forum for ongoing dialogue.
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