Film-maker and installation artist Isaac Julien CBE, RA, in conversation with Professor Louise Yelin

‘Virtual’ event, hosted remotely (via Zoom), organised by Neuberger Museum of Art

On Wednesday 22nd April 2020 the Neuberger Museum of Art will virtually host an artist’s talk, featuring internationally renowned film-maker, installation artist and Academician Isaac Julien CBE RA, in conversation with Louise Yelin, Purchase College professor emerita of literature, and co-curator of the exhibition ‘Isaac Julien: Western Union: Small Boats’.

The three-screen film installation at the heart of the exhibition (originally scheduled to run at the Neuberger Museum of Art between February-May 2020) – which is currently closed, in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic – “reflects Julien’s longstanding engagement with the legacies of slavery and colonialism and a compositional approach that incorporates narrative collage across large-scale, multi-screen projections.”

Within this ‘virtual’ artist’s talk, Isaac Julien will discuss this installation, in relation to other works within his oeuvre, and share insights about how his multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language.

Event date/time:
Wednesday April 22, 2020 – 1.00-2.00pm EASTERN TIME (USA and Canada); 6.00-7.00pm BST (UK)

Digital delivery: This free online event will be delivered via Zoom. All viewers intending to join this session are required to pre-register, so that a secure connection link can be emailed in advance by the organisers.

Registration link:

Image from Isaac Julien’s ‘Small Boats’ series (2007). Source: BOMB Magazine.

About the speakers

Isaac Julien CBE RA

Film-maker, installation artist and Academician Isaac Julien CBE RA was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. After studying painting and fine art film at St Martin’s School of Art, then co-founding the ‘Sankofa Film and Video Collective’ (1983-92), Julien came to international prominence following the launch of his celebrated debut film, Looking for Langston (1989). The artist’s work is now held in collections around the world and has been staged in numerous solo exhibitions and presentations – including, Western Union: Small Boats at the Neuberger Museum of Art. In 2017 Isaac Julien was elected as a Royal Academician. For further information, please see the artist’s online biography: and Royal Academy (RA) profile.

Isaac Julien CBE RA. Source: Royal Academy of Arts.

Professor Louise Yelin

Louise Yelin, professor emerita of literature, taught at Purchase College from 1980 to 2016. In addition to teaching literature within the college’s School of Humanities, she participated in the interdisciplinary gender studies programme and was also a former recipient of the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Additional information and web links

Isaac Julien Studio:

‘Western Union: Small Boats’ (2007) is a film-based installation focused on the journeys made across the Mediterranean by individuals and families – (so called) “clandestines”–leaving Libya to escape war and famine. At the time when Julien created this piece in 2007, he used the work as a conduit through which to pose important questions concerning the circulation of human lives, the ‘movements’ of bodies, and the life stories of individuals in transition. Further details about this installation are documented on the artist’s website.

Further information about Professor Louise Yelin’s co-curation of the exhibition ‘Isaac Julien: Western Union: Small Boats’ – working with Helaine Posner (Chief Curator, Neuberger Museum of Art) – is available online via the Purchase College website

NOTE: After the ‘virtual’ Zoom-based event on 22nd April, a recording of the conversation will be available to view and listen to online at the following link:

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