In Focus: Isaac Julien presents a selection of works from the museum’s permanent collection displayed in conversation with Julien’s Paradise (Omeros) #2, a photographic multiple created for The Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2002. Gifted by the artist in honor of our institution’s 25th anniversary, this triptych of still images was pulled from Julien’s three-channel video, Paradise Omeros. Loosely based on Derek Walcott’s poem “Omeros” (1990), the film explores themes of diaspora and mixed identities between St. Lucia and London through the protagonist, Achilles.
In addition, In Focus: Isaac Julien examines the transformations of self and community through a selection of works by past artists-in-residence Nick Cave, Robert Pruitt, Betye Saar, and Alison Saar, expanding on themes such as folklore, spirituality, feminism, colonial violence, and Afrofuturism. Supporting these works is archival material from Keith Piper and Yinka Shonibare. Focusing on the voices of Black British and American artists, each work reflects a penetrating and sometimes visceral response informed by experiences living in Caribbean and African diasporic communities.
This presentation is organized in conjunction with multiple cultural partners across Philadelphia including the Barnes Foundation; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; BlackStar Projects, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the occasion of the Barnes Foundation’s centennial and commissioned film installation, Isaac Julien: Once Again … (Statues Never Die), which was on view June 19–September 4, 2022.