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Film exploring racism and slavery set for UK premiere and tour

The film Lagareh – The Last Born will tour Scotland (Alberta Whittle/PA)
The film Lagareh – The Last Born will tour Scotland (Alberta Whittle/PA)

A film by Barbadian-Scottish artist Alberta Whittle, which explores racism and slavery, will have its UK premiere next week fresh from the 2022 Venice Biennale.

Lagareh – The Last Born will be shown at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Tuesday before touring five other venues around Scotland.

It arrives in the country after its presentation as part of Whittle’s world premiere exhibition of new work at the Venice Biennale, where the artist is representing Scotland.

Tour organisers said the film “gives primacy to the strength of contemporary black womxn (sic) in Europe, west Africa and the Caribbean”.

These places, which formed a “triangular route” in the colonial era, are “employed to reflect upon the traumatic legacies of chattel slavery, and its enduring impacts upon modern day policing and incarceration”.

Lux Scotland has been commissioned by the Scotland+Venice partnership and Forma to tour the film to six venues across Scotland, with a programme of invited speakers at each location from September 2022 to March 2023, with support from Art Fund.

Kitty Anderson, Lux Scotland director, said: “We are thrilled to be sharing Alberta’s work with audiences across Scotland, and to launch this tour in Glasgow where Alberta lives and works.

“The Scottish tour provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the key ideas in Alberta’s practice, and to extend the conversation to include the voices of some of her collaborators and others that have influenced her practice.”

The film is part of a wider body of work – Deep Dive (Pause) Uncoiling Memory – which is being exhibited in Venice until November 2022.

The exhibition features tapestry made in collaboration with Dovecot Studios and sculpture created with Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

National Galleries of Scotland will stage a major solo presentation of the artist’s work next spring which will explore her practice in depth, including works from the Venice exhibition.

Whittle said: “The luxury of amnesia is a really potent idea in my practice. For so long there was this complete reluctance and avoidance in discussing Scotland’s role within slavery and within plantation economies.

“There’s this sense that racism and police brutality is an English problem or an American problem, something that isn’t happening on these shores.

“There are ways in which the luxury of amnesia has been nurtured by governments, by the stories we tell ourselves, by ways we find to avoid our own complicity with our own privilege – and it’s interesting to think about the conversations that are still missing.”

Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the artist has been based in Scotland since moving there to study firstly at Edinburgh College of Art and later on the master of fine arts programme at the Glasgow School of Art.

She was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award in 2020 and her work has been acquired by major public collections, including the National Galleries of Scotland and Glasgow Museums Collections.

The film will be shown at Eden Court, Inverness, on October 27; Mareel, Shetland Arts, Lerwick, on November 27; and at Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen, on January 25, 2023.

It will then be shown at Broadford Village Hall on Skye, in partnership with Atlas Arts, on February 11, and at Ayr Town Hall on March 1, in partnership with South Ayrshire Council Museums and Galleries.