Diaspora-Artists logo

Imruh Caesar

Born in St Kitts, date unknown

Sometimes referred to as Imruh Bakari. Born in St. Kitts, Imruh Caesar is one of a small number of Black British fiilm makers who emerged in the early 1980s. (Menelik Shabazz, director of Burning an Illusion, was another). Perhaps Caesar’s best known work is his 1986 Arts Council funded film on the Caribbean/British painter, Aubrey Williams. (Mark of the Hand, Imruh Caesar, UK/1986/colour/52 mins/documentary).

Mark of the Hand is a documentary that looks at the life and work of Guyana-born, London-based painter, Aubrey Williams. Williams, who died 20 years ago, was a major force amongst Caribbean artists living and working in the UK during the second half of the 20th century. The film follows Williams as he leaves his home in London and returns to his native Guyana to restore one of his murals, be honoured for his art by the Guyanese government, and make a journey deep into the Guyanese interior, to revisit the places and the people he knew before he left the country. As much as anything else, the film is a look at the consequences of relocation, migration, memory, return and the difficulties and disappointments that can come from these things. Further to this, Mark of the Hand gives us insights into Williams’ strikingly original practice as a painter whose work was frequently, but by no means exclusively, characterised by a range of figurative and non-figurative elements. The film was a pioneering work and to this day, sympathetic and sensitive documentary film studies of Black British artists, such as Mark of the Hand, remain a rarity. One hugely important aspect of the film is the exploration of Williams’ respect and fondness for the indigenous peoples of the Guyana interior. In this regard, the film positively complicates and challenges assumed notions of Caribbean identity. The film was referenced in the obituary on Aubrey Williams, in Art Monthly 137, June 1990, p. 25, written by Denis Bowen.

Caesar read one of his poems for the commemoration/celebration of Aubrey Williams’ life, held at the Commonwealth Institute on 12 June 1990.

Related items

click to show details of Aubrey Williams “The Cosmos Series” 1996, Seminar schedule

»  Aubrey Williams “The Cosmos Series” 1996, Seminar schedule

Announcement relating to a conference, 1996

click to show details of Aubrey Williams | A Celebration

»  Aubrey Williams | A Celebration

Announcement relating to an individual, 1990

click to show details of Return to the Source

»  Return to the Source

Review relating to a film, 1987

click to show details of Third Eye | Struggle for Black & Third World Cinema

»  Third Eye | Struggle for Black & Third World Cinema

Catalogue relating to a conference, 1983