Who Killed Colin Roach?

© Who Killed Colin Roach? (Isaac Julien, 1983)

Who Killed Colin Roach?

Isaac Julien is a pioneer in video and installation art. His work constantly pushes the boundaries of the medium, combining film with photography, performance, music, and painting. Social inequality is often central to this, and more specifically, his Black and queer identity is a thread running through his oeuvre.

In his very first film, Who Killed Colin Roach?, he reflects on the death of the 23-year-old title character who was shot at the entrance to a London police building in 1982. While police spoke of suicide, hard evidence showed otherwise. Many a protest followed.

Forty years later, Julien says: “That we're living in the 21st century and still have these questions of paramount importance just shows you that these things have not improved at all. Thinking about George Floyd, there is a sense that things have gone backwards.”

The Bonnefanten Museum is displaying the retrospective “What Freedom Is To Me”, the largest retrospective of Juliens work to date, until August 18th.

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