National Galleries Scotland and Edinburgh Art Festival are delighted to be working together to present the UK and European premiere of Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour. This major new ten-screen film installation by celebrated British artist Isaac Julien, CBE, RA, offers a poetic meditation on the life and times of Frederick Douglass, the visionary African American writer, abolitionist and a freed slave, who spent two years in Edinburgh in the 1840s campaigning across Scotland, England and Ireland for freedom and social justice.
Filmed at sites in Edinburgh and other locations in Scotland, London and at Douglass’ home in Washington DC, Julien’s film portrait is informed by some of the abolitionist's most important speeches, weaving historical scenes with footage from recent times to foreground the continued relevance and urgency of Douglass’s words in the present day.
Presented by Edinburgh Art Festival in partnership with National Galleries of Scotland. Supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund and EventScotland, with additional support from British Council and Pro Av. Lessons of the Hour was commissioned by the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester with the partnership of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.
Image: Isaac Julien, JP Ball Studio, 1867 (Lessons of the Hour), 2019. © the artist.
Isaac Julien CBE, RA, (born 1960) is a distinguished installation artist, filmmaker and distinguished Professor at UC Santa Cruz. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His notable documentary-drama, Looking for Langston (1989) garnered Julien a cult following, and his 1991 debut feature film Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His works have been presented shown in solo exhibitions and biennales internationally and his works are held in collections across the world. www.isaacjulien.com
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