Isaac Julien knighted by Queen Elizabeth

June 22, 2022

On the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth released her 2022 Birthday Honours List on June 1, and among those to receive special honors was Isaac Julien, who was granted knighthood as part of the Queen’s Honours List.


Julien’s art practice breaks down the barriers between different artistic disciplines, drawing from and commenting on film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting, and sculpture, uniting them to give voice to the experiences of disregarded, often black, and queer narratives.


Julien is one of just a handful of black British artists to be knighted. Painter Frank Bowling and filmmaker Steve McQueen have both received the knighthoods in recent years.


Getting the knighthood at this particular time is a great honour, and I hope it shines a light on the importance of the arts, said Julien.


“The visual arts have led the way around these questions, and my work as a professor and educator at Santa Cruz is a central aspect of my practice", mentioned Julien in a statement published by the University of California Santa Cruz. 


As reported in the ARTnews, "Over the years, Julien has become widely known across the world for his technically complex multiscreen installations that have drawn heavily on the theories of Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, and others. Early on, he gained recognition for his films and videos about his identity as a Black gay man from London. Since then, he has turned his focus global, training his camera on recreations of Frederick Douglass’s life (Lessons of the Hour, 2019) and a visions intended to evoke a 2004 flood that killed 20 Chinese cockle pickers in England (in Ten Thousand Waves, 2010)".

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