Artist Hetain Patel, whose practice encompasses moving-image works, sculpture, photography, and performance, has won the 2019 Film London Jarman Award. He was presented with the award, which is named for the late British director Derek Jarmanwho is known for works such as the biopic Caravaggio (1986) and the experimental seventy-nine-minute film Blue (1993)at a special event at London’s Barbican Centre on Monday night. Now in its twelfth year, the annual $12,000 prize recognizes the spirit of imagination and innovation in the work of UK-based artists and filmmakers.
Known for creating works centered on marginalized identities, Patel mixes humor with popular culture to explore subjects that range from power structures and immigration to language and memory. Patel’s The Jump, 2015, a six-minute, two-channel video installation, will be on view at the Whitechapel Gallery alongside the work of shortlisted artists Cécile B. Evans, Beatrice Gibson, Mikhail Karikis, Imran Perretta, and Rehana Zaman, from November 26 to December 8. In the film, which was shot in his grandmother’s house in Bolton, in northwest England, which has housed numerous relatives as they migrated to the UK, Patel re-creates his childhood memory of jumping off the family sofa while dressed as Spiderman.
“I am thrilled that this year’s Film London Jarman Award will celebrate the unique and engaging work of Hetain Patel,” said Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission. “By seamlessly combining artists’ and mainstream filmmaking through technology, subject and popular culture, Hetain reflects an exciting moment in artists’ moving image and its potential to reach new audiencesI can’t wait to see what he does next.” The prize jury added, “The virtuosity, beauty and humor of his works speak clearly of our current condition, trying to make sense of a polarized world that is far messier than we like to acknowledge.”
The jury that selected this year’s finalists consisted of Andrea Lissoni, senior curator of international art at Tate Modern and board member of Film London; Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery; artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, who were shortlisted for the prize in 2018; Melanie Keen, director of the Wellcome Collection; and Tyrone Walker-Hebborn, director of Genesis Cinema.