'Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here', film still, Tilbury Docks, Essex. Image Andy Delaney 2019



A film and appliqué flag culminating from a four-month residency at Firstsite for Super Black, an Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme exhibition.


"In the film, James wanders around the Tilbury docks wearing a dazzling carnival outfit. To me, her clothes not only reference the Caribbean carnival tradition but also the archetypal Essex girl. The visual affinity of these two cultures clashes with the overt racism experienced by some of the people in James’ discussion groups" Chloe Austin, art historian and writer for Black Ballad 


The title of this work turns the historically 'white' stereotype of the Essex girl, which characterises women from Essex as unintelligent, promiscuous and materialistic on its head. It centres the implications of identity, place and conflict for black folks living in Essex. Specifically, it disrupts the existing narratives. By giving a platform to these black voices, the work attempts to form new understandings of blackness viewed through a contemporary Essex lens.



Art Monthly review

Black Ballad review


Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here (excerpt), HD video with sound, duration 13:40 mins

Images: Film stills, Tilbury Docks, Essex. Image Andy Delaney 2019

Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here is funded through an Arts Council National Lottery Projects Grants and generously supported by Firstsite gallery. With special thanks to the Port of Tilbury

© Copyright Elsa James 2020. All Rights Reserved.