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3-10 February 2024

Jermay Michael Gabriel & Justin Randoph Thompson

Jermay Michael Gabriel & Justin Randolph Thompson, Members Don’t Git Weary 2024, video still, Courtesy of the artists

Jermay Michael Gabriel
Born Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1997), lives and works in Milan, Italy
Justin Randolph Thompson
Born Peekskill, USA (1979), lives and works in Florence, Italy

Members Don’t Git Weary 2024
performance, video
Courtesy of the artists
Commissioned by Lagos Biennial 2024

Artists’ statement

Members don’t git weary,
Members don’t git weary
Members don’t git weary
For the work
For the work’s ‘mos’ done
Members Don’t Git Weary
Traditional Spiritual

Members Don’t Git Weary is a film and sound performance that draws upon the history of the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists (Paris 1956) and Second Congress (Rome 1959) to address a need for restatements and revisions of prophecies of unity and collective advancement. The work draws its title from a spiritual evocation to push beyond exhaustion and stagnancy. Within the film, sites of Pan African memory and imagination including the W.E.B. Du Bois Library in Amherst, MA and the now vacant plot of land that was home to Marcus Garvey’s UNIA in Toronto are cut against oppressive manifestations of fortified and bordered nationalism. Texts from addresses made at the congresses invite the audience to contemplate the status of those calls for collectivity and the shortcomings of the paths that they have come to represent in our contemporary moment. The sonic performance draws upon vocal and textual soundings between the two artists as an invitation towards an empowered grounding amongst people of African descent.

Jermay Michael Gabriel and Justin Randolph Thompson’s performance is included in Worldmade communities.