Arthur Jafa

American artist and filmmaker shaping the trajectory of black art

Although a relative newcomer to exhibiting in art galleries – Jafa was part of Kara Walker’s group show Ruffneck Constructivists at the ICA Philadelphia in 2014, before debuting with Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in 2016 – this veteran filmmaker has been shaping the trajectory of black art and artists for some time. Having worked with Walker, Kerry James Marshall and John Akomfrah on film projects, not to mention as a cinematographer for Spike Lee and Julie Dash, and as director of photography of music videos for Solange, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, his A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery this summer was a dense web of American history and black portraiture, and his sampled videowork Love is the Message, the Message is Death (2016) is rapidly becoming one of the key works of our time. Expect to see more of Jafa in the near future.