Isaac Julien | The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats) | Block Museum of Art

Isaac Julien’s groundbreaking 2007 video installation The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats) presents a lyrical and visceral meditation on histories of African migration. Combining exquisite cinematography with elements of documentary, dance and musical performance, The Leopard juxtaposes all-too-familiar images of Mediterranean passage–Black bodies crowded in rafts, laid out in reflective blankets on Italian shores, drowning in tempestuous waters–with the tranquil spaces of European tourism and luxury. Presented in conjunction with the Block’s Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time exhibit, The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats) challenges viewers to contemplate the inequities of globalization and the cycles of displacement and violence that have bound Europe and Africa for centuries.

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