Film still 'Black Beauty: for a Shamanic Cinema' (2021), Grace Ndiritu. Image courtesy the artist and LUX.
Film still 'Black Beauty: for a Shamanic Cinema' (2021), Grace Ndiritu. Image courtesy the artist and LUX.
Film still 'Black Beauty: for a Shamanic Cinema' (2021), Grace Ndiritu. Image courtesy the artist and LUX.

African fashion model Alexandra Cartier meets Jorge Luis Borges in a visionary experience. Black Beauty: for a Shamanic Cinema (2021) steps into the model’s hallucination of herself as a 1980s talk show host and imagines what the famous Argentine modernist writer might have had to say about contemporary issues of ecology, migration, colonialism, pandemics and deep time.

The script for the film was developed by Ndiritu whilst on an artist residency in Argentina. The artist travelled through Patagonia, meeting and talking with different Indigenous groups, and organised a workshop with climate scientists, anthropologists, and geneticists to help her to explore questions such as: Who were the first people in Patagonia? Were they African? Where do we see Patagonia in one thousand years in the future with climate change? How will nature and mankind genetically evolve because of climate change? These questions, and the conversations that developed out of them, helped to inform the speculative fiction in which late night talk show host Karen Roberts interviews Borges.

Ndiritu has a sustained interest and training in esoteric practices including shamanism. In 2012 she took the decision to spend time in cities only when necessary and otherwise to live in rural, alternative and often spiritual communities. Around the same time she began her expansive ongoing art project Healing the Museum as a response to what she sees as a spiritual decline in cultural institutions: ‘Museums are one of the last few publicly shared spaces that have the ability to encourage new ‘ways of seeing’; and thinking about consciousnesses. They allow us to escape modern urban life and the daily deluge of advertising, news feeds and social media by acting as an outlet for non-rational being.’

Grace Ndiritu, Ways of Seeing: A New Museum Story for Planet Earth, 2021.

Grace Ndiritu is a British-Kenyan artist whose artworks are concerned with the transformation of our contemporary world. She won the Jarman Film Award 2022 for her films Black Beauty and Becoming Plant. Her work has been exhibited internationally and her writings on art and politics have been widely published, including in her own non-fiction book Dissent Without Modification (2021).

Tuesday 20 February 2024 – Saturday 9 March 2024 Continuous looped screenings
9.30am - 4.30pm
Tuesday to Saturday

Film duration 29 minutes

Free admission, all welcome

In the Black Box at CAST
Find CAST