Exodus, McQueen’s first mature effort, distinguishes itself from the balance of his oeuvre in that it captures an event that the artist happened to encounter while out with his handheld Super 8 camera. This short, silent film documents two smartly dressed men from the West Indies moving through the crowded streets of London. Each carries a potted coconut palm, a crude, if accidental, symbol of the tropics. Despite the burdens they carry and the challenges of navigating the city, they move efficiently through their environment, integrated with it even as the merrily waving palms above their heads distinguish them in the crowd. Their pace soon outstrips McQueen’s, and they move away from the recording device that documents—even questions—their actions. They cross against oncoming traffic and deftly board a double-decker bus. The final scene shows one of the men waving from a rear window as the vehicle moves away. Like the 1977 song of the same name by renowned reggae singer Bob Marley, Exodus is a poetic, largely metaphoric consideration of experiences and migrations within the global black diaspora.
There’s a long-standing narrative, made prominent again over the past few weeks, that Israel cannot work with Hamas, cannot legitimize or recognize them in any way, because Hamas has repeated stated that its goal is the destruction of Israel. This is written in the Hamas charter and has never been…