Rehana Zaman receives Film London Jarman Award 2023

Latest 21 Nov 2023

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Rehana Zaman at the Film London Jarman Award ceremony (Barbican Centre, 21 November 2023). Photo by Ro Murphy

On 21 November, Rehana Zaman received the Film London Jarman Award 2023 at a special event at the Barbican. The award was presented by actor Russell Tovey.

Rehana Zaman is an artist who puts humanity and community at the centre of her practice, creating powerful hypnotic films that navigate issues of social injustice through expressions of joy and community. Her work speaks to notions of kinship and sociality, seeking out possibilities of intimacy and transgression within hostile contexts. Conversation and cooperative methods sit at the heart of her films which extend into texts, performances and group work.

Rehana Zaman and EWIDWOP Collective, Everything Worthwhile Is Done with Other People (2023), film stills. Courtesy of the artists

In Everything Worthwhile is Done with Other People (2018 - 2023), Zaman draws on her five-year collaboration with a group of Black & Global Majority women affected by incarceration. This work began as a series of workshops and through improvisation, camera and sound recording, storytelling and testimony, Rehana Zaman conceives a collectively authored film, taking up the women's conversations, experiences and dreams of freedom. Central to this process is the group’s shared experience as they offer mutual support, advice and tactics to address the interminable limbo of unanswered applications for leave to remain or appeal for asylum, alongside applications for housing, urgent medical care and the need to reconstruct some semblance of stability after the traumatic impact of a detention or prison sentence.

The final, hybrid, film allows many voices to speak, offering a small glimpse into the group’s attempt to connect and form against punitive contexts that strive to diminish, reduce and disappear. The work continues to articulate how, in spite of these conditions, solidarity and love can, and does, prevail.

Rehana Zaman, Alternative Economies (2021), video stills. Courtesy of the artist

In Zaman’s Alternative Economies (2021), two very different networks of exchange are explored through parallel conversations with herbalist Rasheeqa Ahmad and financial regulator Rachel Bardinger. Zaman allows each voice to speak and be individual, exploring moments of connection and mutuality. The film shifts between macro and micro views, as we move from conversations that are rooted in close relationships into more abstract territory. Alternative Economies reads the imperialist exploits of the Disney character Scrooge McDuck adjacent to the apparently radical yet deeply compromised promises of crypto­currency. Between these two strands, possibilities for an alternative network of exchange and subsistence are sought.

Rehana Zaman has shown work at British Art Show (2021), Whitechapel (2021), Camden Arts Centre (2020), Firstsite, Colchester (2020), Somerset House (2019) and Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2019 and 2017). She has had solos shows at Serpentine Gallery (2023), ICA Miami (2022), Berwick Filma and Media Arts Festival (2018), Liverpool Biennial (2018), CCA Glasgow (2018), Art Rotterdam (2015) and Studio Voltaire, London (2013). She was a recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists in 2017 and Elephant Trust in 2016. She was part of the LUX Associate Artists Programme in 2013.

Rehana Zaman was chosen from a distinguished shortlist of artists including Ayo Akingbade, Andrew Black, Julianknxx, Sophie Koko Gate and Karen Russo. She receives £10,000 award money.

Artists shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award 2023. From left to right: Julianknxx, Andrew Black, Karen Russo, Ayo Akingbade, Sophie Koko Gate, Rehana Zaman. Photo by Ro Murphy

Michelle Williams Gamaker, on behalf of the Jury said:

“Rehana Zaman’s filmmaking centres alternative ways of storytelling through collaboration and material experimentation. The macro- and micro-political threads that emanate from this approach echo with the political fierceness of Derek Jarman’s filmmaking. Overall, the jury appreciated the humanity in Zaman’s work, whereby there is a sensitive navigation of issues of social justice, and space for the viewer to experience the resilience, joy and community to counter the hostile policies that greatly impact the individuals in Zaman’s work. The jury also wanted to recognise Zaman’s significant body of work, which ties strongly to the legacy of this award.”

The 2023 Film London Jarman Award was presented by actor Russell Tovey. Tovey recently starred in Blue Now, a live performance marking the 30th anniversary of Jarman’s seminal film, Blue.

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission said:

“We are thrilled to congratulate this year’s Film London Jarman Award winner, Rehana Zaman, an outstanding artist whose prolific body of work draws on themes of collaboration, social injustice and community. I would also like to congratulate all of the shortlisted artists and look forward to seeing what the future holds for them. Featuring works that are innovative and boundary pushing, the 2023 shortlist showcases the urgency, creativity, and humour of exciting new approaches to the moving image. The Film London Jarman Award is central to our support of artist filmmakers, celebrating their spirit of experimentation and imagination.We are delighted to be able to showcase the work in this way, bringing artists’ moving image to an ever-growing audience. A sincere thank you goes to our funders, Arts Council England, our returning partners Barbican and Whitechapel Gallery, and our Film London Jarman Award Patrons for all their ongoing support.”

Established in 2008, the Jarman Award celebrates the diversity and creativity of artists working in film today, and is run in partnership with the Whitechapel Gallery and Barbican.

The Jury who selected this year’s shortlist are: Matthew Barrington, Cinema Curator, Barbican; Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual, Channel 4; Artist and 2020 Jarman Award joint-winner, Michelle Williams Gamaker; and Lila Rawlings, Head of Creative: Film and Television for award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón’s London-based company Esperanto Filmoj and Film London Board Member.

Film London Jarman Award Past winners

Luke Fowler (2008), Lindsay Seers (2009), Emily Wardill (2010), Anya Kirschner & David Panos (2011), James Richards (2012), John Smith (2013), Ursula Mayer (2014), Seamus Harahan (2015), Heather Phillipson (2016) Oreet Ashery (2017), Daria Martin (2018), Hetain Patel (2019), Michelle Williams Gamaker, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, Jenn Nkiru, Project Art Works, Larissa Sansour and Andrea Luka Zimmerman (2020), Jasmina Cibic (2021) and Grace Ndiritu (2022).

The 2023 Film London Jarman Award is dedicated to the memory of Director and Jarman Award Patron Terence Davies.

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