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Island in the Sun Large work

About the Work

I took the film-stills for these works from the 1957 movie Island in the Sun, today only remembered for Harry Belafonte's catchy calypso of the same name. The film is set in an imaginary British Caribbean island. It deals with the island's tentative introduction to independence by a well-meaning British governor. Tensions increase between the main players - a smart black politician, played by Harry Belafonte representing the majority black population whose ancestors were brought to the island as slaves and the white planters who still rule the roost. The planters believe they can trace their pure white family history on the island back for centuries until it is revealed that some of them are not as white as they thought they were.

Island in the Sun is the Hollywood version of a 1955 book of the same name by Alec Waugh. To illustrate the story more vividly, both book and film use discreet affairs crossing class and race barriers. Unfortunately this clever device is played down in the film, especially when it comes to the fucking.

It is obvious from the book that Waugh was not really addressing some shenanigans in a colonial backwater with the death struggles of the British Empire as a backdrop. He was writing about 1950s America and the battle to break the colour bar. Indeed he wrote much of the book in America.

In these works I have tried to put back as film posters some of that lost from the book.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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