Performers activate Isaac Julien’s “The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats)”

On April 4, a group curated by D. Soyini Madison, Professor of Performance Studies, responded to Isaac Julien’s The Leopard and to our current moment through dance and movement. Audiences gathered in The Block galleries to witness the performance, which transpired in tandem with a screening of Julien’s work. Beginning with a short reading of original verse, the group activated space in the gallery and then moved through the Block’s stairwell and second floor landing. Using their voices and bodies, the performers touched upon themes of trauma, migration, and identity that weave through Julien’s groundbreaking video installation.

More on Isaac Julien’s The Leopard

Movement is central in Isaac Julien’s 2007 video installation The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats), presenting a lyrical and visceral meditation on histories of African migration. Produced at a time of debate about immigration policies and the relations between the individual and the geopolitical, The Leopard traces the effects of trauma, not just on people but also on buildings, monuments, architecture, and landscape. Vignettes choreographed by Russell Maliphant are woven throughout the work, echoing and articulating these journeys.

Photos from the evening

This program was presented by The Block Museum in collaboration with the Department of Performance Studies.

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