Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien John Curtin Gallery FREE
  • UK
Fri 11 Feb – Sun 8 May at John Curtin Gallery, FREE

Presented in association with the John Curtin Gallery

Acclaimed British film maker and installation artist Isaac Julien is widely recognised for exquisitely crafted film works and photography of arresting beauty, underpinned by a penetrating interrogation of the universal human concerns for social justice, equity and freedom. Weaving these enduring concerns seamlessly through his work, his multi-screen film installations and photographs create a poetic and unique visual language.

Featured in this exhibition at the John Curtin Gallery will be two seminal works: Ten Thousand Waves and Lessons of the Hour, being shown for the first time outside Europe and the USA.

Ten Thousand Waves is a majestic, multi-screen installation shot on location in China, that weaves together stories linking China’s ancient past and present. It reflects upon the enduring spectre of human trafficking in relation to the 2004 Morecambe Bay tragedy, where 23 illegal Chinese immigrants lost their life in northern England.

In its Australian premiere, Lessons of the Hour is a meditation on the life and times of Frederick Douglass, the visionary African American writer, abolitionist and a freed slave, who is cited as the most photographed American of the 19th century. The ten-screen film installation takes a contemplative journey into Douglass' life and the issues of social justice that shaped his work, issues that remain relevant today. The film includes excerpts of Douglass' most arresting speeches and allusions to his private and public worlds.

Isaac Julien Artist

Filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien CBE RA, was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language.

Isaac participated in the Venice Biennale at the inaugural Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th edition in 2017 with Western Union: Small Boats. His globally acclaimed multiple screen installation work, Ten Thousand Waves, premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale. He has exhibited internationally, taught at various academic institutions and his works are held in collections including the Tate in London, the New York Museum of Modern Art and Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Most recently he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017), for most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. He was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours, 2017.

John Curtin Gallery

The John Curtin Gallery is one of Western Australia’s major public art galleries and one of the largest and best-equipped university galleries in the country, located on the Bentley campus of Curtin University.

John Curtin Gallery aims to bring to its audiences, both within Curtin University and well beyond, opportunities to experience and critically engage with the visual culture of our time.

With a view to exploring the infinite possibilities engendered by art, the exhibitions, events and public programs offered by the Gallery are a catalyst for thought, change and exchange. They provide a forum for examining our past and how it shapes our present, and for imagining the world of our future.
Through an innovative exhibition program, the John Curtin Gallery complements the international perspective of the University. Collaborating with national and international artists and curators, the Gallery contributes to the dynamic and changing culture of Australia by fostering critical dialogue.

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Time & Location

Fri 11 Feb – Sun 8 May

John Curtin Gallery, Building 200A, Kent St, Bentley / Djarlgarro-Ngat


Free Event

  • If you have any special requirements to enable you to participate in this event, please phone 08 9266 4155. For more information about disability services at Curtin, please visit Or for general accessibility visit
Gallery Opening Times

Mon – Fri 11am – 5pm
Sat & Sun 12 – 4pm (Feb)
Sun 12 – 4pm (Mar - May)

Exhibition Opening
Thu 10 Feb 6pm

Stay COVID Safe

It's a condition of entry to register your attendance at our venues. 
To make it easier, download the SafeWA app now via the WA Government website. Or you can register at the venue. 

Click here to download the SafeWA app.

Thank You


  • Isaac Julien, The Lady of the Lake (Lessons of the Hour), 2019, framed gloss inkjet photograph mounted on aluminium
  • Isaac Julien, Green Screen Goddess (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010, Endura Ultra photograph
  • Images courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery


  • Presented in conjunction with the Adelaide Festival and Samstag Art Museum

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