PAMM will kick off the fifth year of the Scholl Lecture Series with distinguished artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa. Jafa’s interdisciplinary practice combines film, installation, sculpture, and performance to examine assumptions about race and identity. Throughout his multifaceted career, Jafa has worked with John Akomfrah, Ava DuVernay, Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, Spike Lee, and Jay-Z, among many others. His much-celebrated 2016 video Love is the Message, the Message is Death was recently acquired by the PAMM Collectors Council and is on view through April 21, 2019.
Artist, filmmaker, cinematographer, TNEG (motion picture studio) co-founder, Arthur Jafa was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Renowned for his cinematography on Julie Dash's pioneering film Daughters of the Dust (1991), Jafa, also the film's co-producer, put into practice techniques he had long been theorizing. "Black Visual Intonation" is but one of his radical notions about re-conceptualizing film. He is the director of Slowly This (1995), Tree (1999), Deshotten 1.0 (2009), APEX (2013) and Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2016). Jafa was the director of photography on Spike Lee's Crooklyn (1994), Isaac Julien's Darker Shade of Black (1994), A Litany for Survival (1995), Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson's biographical film on the late Audre Lorde, John Akomfrah's Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993), a cinematographer for Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Manthia Diawara's Rouch in Reverse (2000), Nefertite Nguvu's In the Morning (2014), shot second unit on Ava DuVernay's Selma (2014) and was the director of photography for Solange's music videos Don't Touch My Hair and Cranes in the Sky (both 2016). In 2017, along with TNEG, Jafa conceived, shot and edited the music video for JAY-Z's 4:44, the title track from his newest album. Dreams are Colder Than Death, a documentary directed and shot by Jafa to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, garnered acclaim at the LA Film Festival, NY Film Festival and Black Star Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. His writing on black cultural politics has appeared in various publications such as Black Popular Culture and Everything but the Burden, among others.