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10 Poems from Hafez

Jila Peacock exhibited her Artist’s book, Ten Poems from Hafez, at a recent event held at the Oriental Museum, Durham University and organized by the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures. She offered the audience an absorbing insight into the creation of the book and its translation into animated film.

In  Ten Poems from Hafez, exhibited at New Hall Cambridge and later at the British Museum in the 2006 exhibition, Word into Art, Iranian-born Jila Peacock uses the Persian text of whole poems from Hafez, the fourteenth-century metaphysical poet of Shiraz, to create images from symbolic animals mentioned in each poem.

Using subtle colours and a Persianate script, Nastalique, developed in fifteenth century Iran specifically for writing poetry, she has designed legible shape-poems by squeezing the words into the creature’s silhouette.  In a recent interview she said, ‘I am really a painter and printmaker, not a calligrapher, and my aim in making these images has been to use a ’visual language’ in translating what are in the original Farsi, luminous, musical, inspirational love poems’.

Tongue of the Hidden (2007) is a beautiful animated film directed by David Anderson, and based on  Jila Peacock’s hand-printed Artist’s book.  Here, the hand-printed images twist and turn, form and reform, dance and glide, creating  a magical landscape of startling luminosity and complexity.

Tongue of the Hidden from Jila Peacock on Vimeo.


Film Screening: The Stuart Hall Project

‘The Stuart Hall Project’ (Akomfrah)

Friday, 7 March 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Appleby lecture theatre (GEOGRAPHY, W103)

Trailer: The Stuart Hall Project | BFI.

BFI Jan 2014:
“A founding figure of contemporary cultural studies – and one of the most inspiring voices of the post-war Left – Stuart Hall’s resounding and ongoing influence on British intellectual life commenced soon after he emigrated from Jamaica in 1951. Combining extensive archival imagery – television excerpts, home movies, family photos – with specially filmed material and a personally mixed Miles Davis soundtrack, Akomfrah’s filmmaking approach matches the agility of Hall’s intellect, its intimate play with memory, identity and scholarly impulse traversing the changing historical landscape of the second half of the 20th century.”
Guardian Sept 2013 (Bradshaw):
“John Akomfrah’s film is a tribute to the critic and New Left Review founder Stuart Hall – a montage of existing documentary footage and Hall’s own words and thoughts on film. It has an idealism and high seriousness that people might not immediately associate with the subject Hall pioneered: cultural studies. This is not about, say, postmodern readings of Lady Gaga, but a deeply considered project that reconsiders culture and identity for those excluded from the circles of power through race, gender and class. His is the progressive tradition of Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, unfashionable since Margaret Thatcher dismantled the welfarist consensus. Akomfrah finds a new and quietly moving significance in Hall’s own life story: a man who came from Jamaica – which Hall elegantly calls the “home of hybridity” – and found himself not really at home there, nor in the postwar UK in which he began a brilliant academic career at Oxford. Akomfrah sees Hall as a calm figure who insists on the fundamental topic of equality – yet without getting angry at the surface flashpoints of history. I wondered sometimes at Hall’s view on racial identity: it could well be, as he says, that race is an ideological construct – but does that help victims of racism? Anyway, an absorbing account.”