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Talk: Arthur Jafa with Cheryl Lynn Bruce

About the Event

Arthur Jafa, whose work Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death is on view in the exhibition Prisoner of Love, will discuss his work as a cinematographer with Cheryl Lynn Bruce. Bruce and Jafa, who collaborated on Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust, will consider how that work informed Jafa's explorations of iconic black media today. The discussion is preceded by a Black Monument Ensemble performance.

MCA Talks highlight cutting-edge thinking and contemporary art practices across disciplines and are organized by Curator January Parkos Arnall and Assistant Curator Christy LeMaster with the Performance and Public Practice team.


The Antje B. and John J. Jelinek Endowed Lecture and Symposium on Contemporary Art is made possible through a generous gift to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign.

Speakers Bios

Arthur Jafa

Arthur Jafa stands for a portrait

Arthur Jafa

Arthur Jafa (American, b. 1960) is an artist, filmmaker and cinematographer. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artifacts and happenings that reference and question the universal and specific articulations of black being. Underscoring the many facets of Jafa's practice is a recurring question: how can visual media, such as objects, static and moving images, transmit the equivalent power, beauty and alienation embedded within forms of black music in US culture?

Jafa’s films have garnered acclaim at the Los Angeles, New York, and Black Star Film Festivals and his artwork is represented in celebrated collections worldwide including at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, High Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, MCA Chicago, The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Luma Foundation, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.

Cheryl Lynn Bruce

Cheryl Lynn Bruce has performed on stages across the country as well as in Europe and Mexico, and created the role of Elizabeth Sandry for Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Tony Award-winning production of The Grapes of Wrath, adapted and directed by Frank Galati for Broadway's Cort Theatre, London's National Theatre, and La Jolla Playhouse. In 2016, she played the role of Hillary in Lucas Hnath's Hillary and Clinton and workshopped and performed in The Compass, Michael Rohd's interactive theater piece for Steppenwolf's Theatre for Young Audiences program. She performed the lead role of Shelah in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Bruce also premiered in Danai Gurira's The Convert, which premiered at McCarter Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Kirk Douglas Theatre. In 2003, Bruce workshopped and premiered in Race, Lookingglass Theatre Company's inaugural production directed by David Schwimmer and Joy Gregory. A proud company member of Teatro Vista, Bruce served as assistant director of Tamer of Horses and A View From the Bridge.

In 2002, her direction of Congo Square Theatre Company's production of From the Mississippi Delta won the Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and a Black Theater Alliance Award. Bruce received a 3Arts Award in 2010, a 3Arts fellowship in 2014 to attend the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, a Yale Research Residency in 2011, and a Jane Addams Hull House Association Woman of Valor Award in 2010.