Pogus Caesar

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Pogus Caesar is a British artist, television producer and director. He was born in St Kitts, West Indies, and grew up in Birmingham, England.

Early life[edit]

Pogus Caesar was born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts and came to the UK at an early age, growing up in Birmingham.[1]

A self-taught artist, Caesar took up painting seriously in his early 20s. His early work was influenced by French impressionist artist Georges-Pierre Seurat,[1] one of the foremost exponents of the pointillist technique. While Seurat built up his compositions from a multitude of tiny coloured spots, Caesar developed his own technique by using simple pens and ink, composing his paintings with thousands of tiny dots. This minutely detailed use of a fountain pen meant that even the smaller works took several months to complete.

After a visit to New York he developed an interest in photography using a basic film camera. The outcome has resulted in 18,000 vintage negatives. Caesar often reworks the 35mm images and conceptualises them into new forms challenging the notion of religion, sex, identity and race from a Black British perspective. Significant series include 'US of A', 'Schwarz Flaneur', 'Into the Light' and 'Righting the Wrongs.'

Career[edit]

During the early 1980s Caesar became director of the West Midlands Ethnic Minority Arts Service. He was also the first Chairman of Birmingham International Film & Television Festival.[1] For the Arts Council of Great Britain he has curated and contributed to major shows by black British artists including Into the Open (1984) and Caribbean Expressions in Britain (1986).

During the late 1980s Caesar began working in British television – originally as a journalist on Channel 4's Black on Black, then as producer and director of entertainment, sport and multicultural programmes for Central Television, Carlton Television and BBC. Radio programmes include Mr & Mrs Smith BRMB Radio and The Windrush E. Smith Show BBC West Midlands. In 1993 he formed his own production company, Windrush Productions - programmes include I'm Black in Britain, Respect, Drumbeat and the award-winning multicultural series Xpress.

As a photographer and artist Caesar has worked in Spain, India, South America and Sweden and Denmark, South Africa, Albania and Jamaica documenting diverse communities. Caesar's artwork and photographs have been acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery represent important visual documents recording key figures in black British history. Caesar's first publication, Muzik Kinda Sweet, is a photography book featuring legendary black musicians including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Stevie Wonder and Grace Jones. The foreword for the book was written by Paul Gilroy and it was published by OOM Gallery Archive in 2010.

Caesar's photographs and extensive archives documenting Birmingham Black History is held in Birmingham Central Library Archives, Digital Handsworth and Connecting Histories. He has exhibited widely, his work held in public and private collections in the United Kingdom, Europe and US. OOM Gallery a Birmingham-based gallery, represents Caesar's work worldwide. Their archives include Caesar's extensive photographic record of the Handsworth riots of 1985 and the redevelopment of the Birmingham Bull Ring 2000–03. OOM Gallery also showcases limited-edition photomontages, films and organises contemporary exhibitions. Caesar has lectured on media, photography and art-related issues at Birmingham University and Wolverhampton University.

Images from OOM Gallery Archives have been used by BBC TV, Carlton TV, Macmillan Publishers, Outside Left Magazine, University of Warwick, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Wolverhampton University, Digital Handsworth, Birmingham Central Library, The History Channel, Connecting Histories, What's on Magazine, Fused Magazine, Teachers TV, The Otolith Group, Birmingham City Archives, Sunday Mercury, Dollee.com, IOnOne Magazine, FACT, Punch Records Liverpool University Press

Notable exhibitions[edit]

Throughout the years Pogus Caesar has provided support and development for a host of educational and cultural initiatives throughout the city of Birmingham and The Midlands regions.

Television[edit]

As presenter[edit]

  • Here & Now (Central Television, 1985–89)
  • I'm Black in Britain (Central Television, 1993) – also Producer. 30-minute documentary investigating racism in Britain.
  • Drumbeat (Carlton Television, 1999) – also Series Editor; 6 x 60-minute entertainment/current affairs series.

As series editor[edit]

  • Drumbeat (Carlton Television, 1999) – also Series Editor. 6 x 60 min entertainment / current affairs series

As journalist[edit]

As director[edit]

  • One World (Central Television, 1990)

As producer / director[edit]

  • An Eye on X (Windrush Productions/Carlton Television/Arts Council of Great Britain, 1995).[8] Film on micro sculptor Willard Wigan
  • Aaliyah (Windrush Productions/Carlton Television, 1995), on American singer Aaliya
  • Edwin Starr (Windrush Productions/Carlton Television, 1995), on American soul singer Edwin Starr
  • Love in Kenya (Windrush Productions/Carlton Television, 1995). English woman on holiday finds love with Kenyan man.
  • 15 Minute Meals (Windrush Productions/Carlton Television), 1995. Six chefs from around the world cook up local dishes in 15 minutes.
  • Xpress (Windrush Productions/Carlton Television, 1995), 12 x 30min entertainment series
  • Respect (Carlton Television, 1995), 6 x 30min sports series / documentary on boxer Lennox Lewis
  • Respect (Carlton, Television, 1995), 6 x 30min sports series / documentary on rugby player Martin Offiah
  • Respect (Carlton, 1995), 6 x 30min sports series, documentaries on athlete Judy Simpson
  • Respect (Carlton, 1995), 6 x 30min sports series, documentary on footballer Tony Daley
  • Respect (Carlton, 1995), 6 x 30min sports series, documentary on athlete John Regis
  • Respect (Carlton, 1995), 6 x 30min sports series, documentary on disabled tennis player Diana Bowles
  • The A-Force (BBC, 1997), 6 x 60min entertainment series, lifestyle film on Jada Pinkett Smith, Dave Chappelle, John Singleton, Isaac Hayes in Canada
  • The A-Force (BBC, 1997), 6 x 60min entertainment series, lifestyle film of footballer George Weah in Italy
  • The A-Force (BBC, 1997), 6 x 60min entertainment series, lifestyle film of footballer John Barnes in Italy
  • The Way Forward (Windrush/Birmingham Education Dept, 1999)

Selected films[edit]

As director / producer[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Shannon, Roger (8 May 2008). "Life through a lens with Pogus Caesar". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  2. ^ VIBES/Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
  3. ^ Burning Images Exhibition, 2005.
  4. ^ * Handsworth Riots – Twenty Summers On / pogus caesar.
  5. ^ "From Jamaica Row – Rebirth of the Bullring". Photographs of the development of Birmingham's Bullring OOM Gallery/Pogus Caesar.
  6. ^ The Art of Ideas.
  7. ^ Pattern Recognition exhibition, The City Gallery, Leicester.
  8. ^ An Eye On X – Arts On Film.

External links[edit]