Filmfest 2019

German Age Rating

In this eight-minute video, Arthur Jafa overwhelmingly arranges hundreds of historical and contemporary images of African-American culture. As musical background, he uses the techno beats by DJ Robert Hood.

Monster, 1988, gedruckt 2019. Udo und Anette Brandhorst Sammlung © Courtesy the Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York/Rome

tags: Essay, History, Art, Short film, Music


Director: Arthur Jafa


Jafa was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1960, in the midst of the American civil rights movement. The movements cause, to bring an end to racism against the African-American population and to fight for equality both before the law and in everyday life, forms the backdrop to his work. Using different media, from photographs and objects to films, videos, and performances, he examines the mechanisms of exclusion due to cultural identity or ethnic background. […] In his photographs and films he shows a world of Black people and thus inverts what prevailed for centuries: the dominance of the White man, who decided what was significant, and what wasn’t. By presenting American (cultural) history as one shaped primarily by African-Americans, Jafa directly challenges this dominance. Jafa’s reception as an artist has gained momentum only in recent years, after initially taking part in exhibitions at the Artists Space (1999) and the Whitney Biennale in 2000. His work as a film-maker and DoP, however, had already secured him a lot of attention in the 1990s, including, but not limited to, his cinematography for Julie Dash’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (1991) and Spike Lee’s CROOKLYN (1994). In 2013, he founded the film production company TNEG to promote Black avant-garde films with Elissa Blount Moorhead and Malik Sayeed. In 2017, he directed the video for Jay-Z’s “4:44”. Today, he is regarded as one of the most important African-American artists and filmmakers of his generation.
(Source: Museum Brandhorst)