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Poetic Licence: Isaac Julien and Peter Doig in Conversation

Isaac Julien and Peter Doig have been friends since meeting as students at St Martin’s School of Art in London in the early 1980s. Now both highly acclaimed artists, they met at Julien’s London studio, shortly after the death of the St Lucian-born poet, artist and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott in March this year. Walcott, whose epic 1990 poem Omeros, which retells Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in the setting of contemporary St Lucia, was influential to both artists. He worked with Julien on his three-screen film/installation Paradise Omeros (2002), which was inspired by his own poem, and wrote a new body of poems in response to selected paintings by Doig for the book Morning, Paramin, published last year. Interview by Helen Sumpter. Isaac Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he still lives. His work includes seductive and arresting single and multi-channel film installations whose narratives draw on real-life events, cultural histories and other artistic disciplines including dance, music, poetry and performance. His acclaimed breakthrough film, Looking for Langston (1989), dramatized the story of Langston Hughes, the American poet, activist and leader of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ in 1920s New York. Other works include Ten Thousand Waves (2010), shown at MoMA, New York, in 2014...

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