Cinthia Marcelle | Video Still | Cruzada, 2010
“In Cinthia Marcelle’s video work Cruzada (Cruzada, 2010), 16 musicians meet at the center of a crossroads. They arrive in separated groups of four, each group approaching from a different pole and sporting colour-matched shirts and matching instruments (the ‘yellow’ group, for example, carries cymbals, the ‘red’ drums and so on). As the group arrive, one at a time, their playing is little more than chaotic noise. When they all meet, face-to-face, at the center of the crossroads, they begin a choreographed ‘battle’ in which musicians exchange places to create four bands of mixed colours and mixed instruments. Now playing in harmony, the musicians leave the scene.” – Art Review
Carlos Javier Ortiz | Video Still | A Thousand Midnights, 2015
For African-Americans fleeing the south during the Great Migration, economic and racial exploitation were inextricably linked. African-Americans in search of some semblance of freedom from racial terror also longed for the opportunity to provide for their families outside the racial plunder of the Southern plantation system. In this manner, the purported racial openness of the north was believed to translate into more economic opportunity for African-American migrants, their families, and future generations. However, as is the case with much of the American story, this dream remains just out of reach for many. This experimental documentary chronicles the contemporary manifestation of the economic and social histories of African-Americans who came to the north during the Great Migration in search of economic opportunities. The implications of their migration, and the lack of economic opportunity they encountered, has far reaching consequences for African-America today.
Helina Metaferia | Video Still | The Call, 2019
The Call is a video performance project that places female descendants of Black civil rights activists in conversation with one another, and at sites of historic trauma, in order to visually interrogate the role of inherited social movement histories on the Black body. Through durational performances with bodies that conjure powerful bloodlines, at sites that conjure blood spill, Metaferia visually articulates the quest for human liberation as an act of endurance. The Call features the gathering of Melani Douglass and her daughter Asherah Douglass (abolitionist Frederick Douglass's descendants); Ayanna Gregory (comedian and activist Dick Gregory's daughter); and Paula Whaley (author James Baldwin's sister), in Baltimore, MD at Paula Whaley's home and at Fells Point, one of the oldest slave ports in the country.
MELO-X | Video Still | Juvé Nite, 2018
In 2016, MELO-X took a camera crew along the Jouvert path in Brooklyn, NYC, a journey from Church and Nostrand Avenue to Utica Avenue, all the way to Eastern Parkway, then to Empire Boulevard and back. This journey is reminiscent of the path he took each year as a kid. He wanted to capture the natural elements. There were no interviews, highlights, or questions unlike many media outlets who have done so in the past few years. He wanted to become the spirit that moves through the people, the spirit that was there from the beginning capturing all the festivities and all of the numerous ways in which, whether we knew it or not, were carrying on a tradition and paying homage to those who sacrificed their freedom and also had their traditions stolen or suppressed.
Joiri Minaya | Video Still | Siboney, 2014
Siboney is a performance in two parts and a mural painting. The first part of Siboney is compiled in a video that documents the process of copying the tropical pattern of a found piece of fabric on a wall, juxtaposed with subtitles that gather ideas around the piece. In the process, the collection of the museum (Leon Center in Santiago, DR) was a study of Siboney and a painting by Vela Zanetti of a dancing mulatta, which appears in the video.
Once the mural was finished after around a month of work, Minaya wet her body and rubbed herself against the wall, transforming the mural, while an adaption of the song Siboney by Connie Francis is playing.
Courtesy of the Eduardo León Jiménes Collection (Santiago, Dominican Republic).
Adama Delphine Fawundu | Video Still | The Cleanse, 2017
For the Mende, beautiful hair is called kpotongo, which literally means ‘it is much, abundant, plentiful' (Gordon Innes). The root, kpoto, is used to describe things in nature that can be pulled together such as fruits on a tree and rice. The most significant thing about hair in Mende culture is that it grows, this symbolizes essence of life. It is important to wash it regularly and nurture it with herbs and natural oils. The maintenance of growth is essential.
Third Horizon | Video Still | Papa Machete, 2017
Papa Machete introduces viewers to the esoteric martial art of machete fencing that evolved from the Haitian Revolution through the practice and life of “Professor” Alfred Avril -- a poor, aging farmer who is one of the art’s few remaining masters. Teaching about the practical and spiritual value of the machete as both a weapon and a farmer’s key to survival – Avril provides a bridge between his country’s traditional past and its troubled present. The film documents his proud devotion to his heritage and his struggle to keep it alive in the face of bitter poverty.
Larry Achiampong | Video Still | Sunday’s Best, 2016
Sunday’s Best considers how belief systems within the diaspora are inflected by these colonial histories in the present day. The work is a confluence of the vivid sounds and images of praise and worship sessions in a Ghanaian community church and the stark interiors of a Roman Catholic Church. Documented across a number of sites in London, Sunday’s Best maps out a narrative of coming to terms with the incongruence of faith practices that straddle western and non-western influences.