Other Destinies

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
21 January - 23 April 2017

The exhibition consists of two film projections, WESTERN UNION: Small Boats (2007) and True North (2004), which address movements of people, aesthetics of geography and displacement. The ROM’s installation of Isaac’s work is one of a three-part execution across Toronto with programs at OCAD University and The Images Festival.


“Isaac Julien is a key cultural thinker of our time and a renowned contemporary artist. Through his work, he addresses difficult and sensitive issues in a poetic and visually engaging manner,” said Silvia Forni, ROM Curator of African Arts and Culture. “We are thrilled to share his work with ROM visitors, and together with OCAD University and the Images Festival, give Toronto audiences an opportunity to fully explore his practice.”


Organized by former Managing Director of ROM Contemporary Culture, Ann Webb, and Dr. Silvia Forni, Curator of African Arts and Cultures, Isaac Julien: Other Destinies features two installations:


WESTERN UNION: Small Boats (2007) is an immersive, multi-screen experience through which Isaac explores multiple themes including notions of diaspora and transnational identities. Part of Julien’s Expedition trilogy, this powerful and visually engaging installation addresses the plight of people seeking a better life and the complex issues around migration.


True North (2004) contains reflective images of the sublime, using the landscape as a key location and theme, offering a fascinating, new visual reading of space and time and its relation to counter histories. It is inspired by the story of Matthew A. Henson, African American explorer and one of the first people to reach the North Pole accompanying Robert E. Peary.


The ROM presents a series of programs to complement the exhibition, including a keynote lecture titled Isaac Julien in His Own Words on January 24, 2017.  The artist will discuss the inspiration behind the work in Isaac Julien: Other Destinies and more recent developments of his oeuvre. His presentation will be followed by a conversation with Professor Michael Prokopow of OCAD University. (Source: ROM)

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