Elissa Blount-Moorhead and Bradford Young
Back and Song
Lower Gallery at The Arts Center at Governors Island
May 28 - October 30, 2022
July - August: Summer Friday and Saturdays, 10am-7pm, Sundays 10am-6pm
Open on Memorial Day (May 30), July 4, Labor Day (Sept 5)
Curated by Nanette Nelms
Back and Song is a meditative four-channel film and art installation that reflects on how the pursuit of health is at the root of how life, breath, joy, and pain manifest in black experience from cradle to grave. The kaleidoscopic installation considers the labor and care provided by generations of black healers—doctors, nurses, midwives, morticians, therapists, and health aides—and their histories of contribution to and resistance from the flawed and discriminatory structures of Western medicine. Working with archivists from around the world—including Elijah Maja of Future Together Lab, Rianna Jade Parker, and Hudda Khaireh—Moorhead and Young synthesized images of quotidian black family life into a time-based archive of expression. Paired with new footage, the archival compilations from across the African diaspora show how music, movement, sound therapy, ritual dance, rest, and meditation are brought together as a spectrum of individual and communal pursuits of well-being.
Elissa Blount-Moorhead is an artist exploring the poetics of quotidian Black life. She was awarded the USA Artist and Saul Zaentz Fellowships, Ford Foundation/Just Films/Fellowship, The Baker Award, and the Creative Capital Award. She is the creator of fiftyTWO, an episodic dramedy developed at the 2020-21 Sundance Episodic Labs. She is the director of As of A Now, PBS’ Apologue for the Darkest Gods, and co-director of Jay Z’s 4:44. She has been recognized with the Sundance Institute | Comedy Central Comedy Fellowship, and Adobe Women's Fellowship.
Originally from Louisville, KY, Bradford Young is a cinematographer and visual artist most concerned with finding the sublime in the ordinary.
His recent film contributions include: Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us; Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for achievement in cinematography; Ron Howard’s Solo: A Stars Wars Story; Ava DuVernay’s Selma, for which Young was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in a Motion Picture; JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year; David Lowrey’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints; and Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George, both of which won him Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition Excellence in Cinematography awards (2013).
His recent art installations include Untitled / 2019, Somerset House; Recognize / 2017, Carnegie Museum; Bynum Cutler / 2015, Creative Time; Untitled (Structures) - in collaboration with Leslie Hewitt / 2014, The Menil; and Untitled (Levels) - in collaboration with Leslie Hewitt / 2012, The Kitchen and The Studio Museum.
Bradford is a 2022-23 recipient of The Rome Prize, a 2014 inductee into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a 2015 inductee into the American Society of Cinematographers.