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Peggy Ahwesh, Steve McQueen and Russell T Davis: reflections on the 1980s under lockdown

Garfield, R. ORCID: (2020) Peggy Ahwesh, Steve McQueen and Russell T Davis: reflections on the 1980s under lockdown. MIRAJ: Moving Image Review & Art Journal, 9 (2). pp. 270-275. ISSN 2045-6298

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1386/miraj_00052_1


In lockdown as I finished my five-year project, on women experimental filmmakers from the 1970s and 1980s, I have been focusing on this past time that formed me. Watching films by artist/filmmakers that I love has helped to keep my anger at the present at bay. A parallel journey back in time has been playing out on TV via the high-profile voices of Steve McQueen and Russell T. Davies. Steve McQueen’s series, Small Axe pays tribute to the Black communities’ struggles, as the postwar era waned and the aggressively neo-liberal individualist world waxed. The anger and activism from an earlier period presciently planned for a 2020 screening speaks out at us from the TV, coinciding with Black Lives Matter, and begs the question of how exactly have things improved in the last 40 years? By contrast Russell T. Davies’ It’s a Sin, is a more sugar-coated dramatization of the 1980s in its treatment of the trauma of the AIDS generation and the impact of the disease on a small group of young gay men and allies in London. How do these different voices meet, mix and coalesce as both a vision from that era and a memory of that era?

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art > Fine Art
ID Code:98511


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