Hetain Patel’s personal takes on action movies win £10,000 Jarman Award

The artist-filmmaker, known for work that references Marvel, Tarantino and Bruce Lee films in exploring cultural identity and immigration, has won the prestigious prize in a landmark year marking 25 years since Derek Jarman’s death.

26 November 2019
Reading Time
2 minute read


Hetain Patel has won the Film London Jarman Award 2019 and its £10,000 prize for his works exploring cultural identity, immigration and fitting into popular culture, by way of personal remakes of Hollywood Films. His film The Jump, for example, saw him recreate his childhood memory jumping off the sofa dressed as Spiderman, filmed in his grandmother’s house in Bolton. This, he says, looked at the topic of immigration in modern Britain.

His piece Don’t Look At The Finger likewise referenced Bruce Lee and the conventions of Kung Fu movies, mixing them with sign language and cultural tropes from West Africa. In other works, he has turned a Ford Fiesta into a Transformer with his father; delivered an entire performance piece made of quotes from American film and TV shows. He told The Guardian his work often “comes from a personal place of wanting to fit in and be accepted”. Online, his videos have garnered 30 million views, including his Ted talk Who Am I? Think Again (below). His work has shown at institutions and galleries such as Somerset House, Tate Modern, Sadler’s Wells, The Royal Opera House and Manchester Art Gallery.

The jury said of Patel’s works that their “virtuosity, beauty and humour... speak clearly of our current condition, trying to make sense of a polarised world that is far messier than we like to acknowledge. His films are technically sophisticated and his use of sound and super slow-motion video capture is masterful.”

Patel beat five other shortlisted artists to the award, including Cécile B. Evans, Beatrice Gibson, Mikhail Karikis, Imran Perretta and Rehana Zaman. All shortlisted artists will have their work exhibited at Whitechapel Gallery in London from today until 8 December.

This year marks 25 years since Derek Jarman’s death, and the 12th year of the award, which has previously been won by current Turner Prize nominee Laurence Abu Hamdan and Heather Phillipson who will create the next Fourth Plinth sculpture in 2020.


Hetain Patel


Hetain Patel: Don’t Look at the Finger (2017) film still

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on news@itsnicethat.com.

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