Ritual Passage was an artist residency undertaken by Jade Montserrat with Alchemy Film & Arts between December 2021 and May 2022.
During her residency, Jade researched Hawick’s under-known Black histories, engaging historians, artists and local researchers to investigate the lives of Frederick Douglass (1817 – 1895), the American abolitionist who visited Hawick in 1846 during a tour of Scotland, and Hawick-raised Tom Jenkins (1797 – 1859), Britain’s first Black schoolteacher.
The resulting work, Ritual Passage: Memorials for Frederick Douglass and Thomas Jenkins, is a film play that can be read/performed, a print publication, and an educational resource designed for young people and intergenerational community groups to respond to prompts and rituals honouring the two historical Black men and connect to the immediate environment through the four natural elements.
Jade unveiled Ritual Passage as an exhibition collating research materials and the print publication at the twelfth edition of Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, at which she also delivered an opening keynote expanding on the themes explored during her residency.
Ritual Passage was part of The Teviot, the Flag and the Rich, Rich Soil, an Alchemy Film & Arts programme exploring the borders, boundaries and lines of Hawick and the Scottish Borders.
Jade Montserrat’s research-led practice excavates shared histories alongside delving into her personal narrative. Montserrat works at the intersection of art and activism through painting, performance, film, sculpture, installation, print and text; she interrogates these mediums with the aim to expose gaps in our visual and linguistic habits.
Photo: Oliver Benton
We have published supplementary materials designed to complement Ritual Passage and Jade’s publication and educational resource of the same name.
Photos: Oliver Benton