Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain

Migrating Worlds brought together work by eight of Britain’s leading film and video artists in the first exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art dedicated exclusively to the moving image.

Featuring Theo Eshetu (b. 1958), Isaac Julien (b. 1960), Rosalind Nashashibi (b. 1973), Charlotte Prodger (b. 1974), Zina Saro-Wiwa (b. 1976), Zineb Sedira (b. 1963), John Smith (b. 1952), and Alia Syed (b. 1964), Migrating Worlds foregrounded work that addresses the relationship between people and place, especially the effects of dislocation incurred by the movement of peoples, both forced and elective. Through a common emphasis on nature and its landforms, whether urban topography, wilderness, or the surfaces and depths of the seas, these artists consider questions of identity and place, exploring the colonial exploitation of peoples and the environment, and their contemporary legacies in our ceaselessly changing world.

Eshetu, Julien, Nashashibi, Prodger, Saro-Wiwa, Sedira, Smith, and Syed have each has played a role in the integration of time-based media practices into the gallery and museum, and their work offers a diverse range of methods of filmmaking, from the visually poetic to the conceptual. While their approaches to moving image differ, they all offer contemporary insights into British life and culture that question the definition of identity and the sense of belonging—one that extends to encompass rich cultural histories and visuality.

Exhibition brochure

Download an illustrated booklet, including descriptive text, artist biographies, and a list of works on display that accompanied this exhibition.


Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain was curated by Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections at the Center. The exhibition coincided with the release of Artists’ Moving Image in Britain Since 1989, edited by Erika Balsom, Sarah Perk, and Lucy Reynolds (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British At and Yale University Press, 2019). The Center gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Rizvana Bradley, Assistant Professor of the History of Art, and African-American Studies at Yale University, in the planning of this exhibition.

Works from this exhibition were presented in multiple locations throughout the Center, including Nashashibi’s Electical Gaza (2015) and Prodger’s SaF05 (2019), which were shown in the Lecture Hall. 

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Installation view of Theo Eshetu's The Law of the Sea (The Slave Ship), 2015, Yale Center for British Art, courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary, London, photo by Richard Caspole