Born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1961, Arthur Jafa uses film to examine how black cinematic culture operates in relation to the African-American diaspora. He is the director of Slowly This (1995), Tree (1999), and Deshotten1.0 (2009). His cinematography credits include Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991), Spike Lee’s Crooklyn (1994), and Manthia Diawara’s Rouch in Reverse (1995). Jafa is also a cultural critic and his writing has appeared in several publications.
Presented in conjunction with Ruffneck Constructivists, a group exhibition curated by artist Kara Walker on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art - University of Pennsylvania from February 12 –
August 7, 2014.
Ruffneck Constructivists takes inspiration from the song “Ruffneck” by MC Lyte, to bring together a number of artists from a range of cultural backgrounds and media who are known to make challenging work in response to social inequities, work that at the same time maintains a staunchly self-aggrandizing position toward the viewer. As Walker states, Ruffneck Constructivists are defiant shapers of environments. Whatever their gender affiliation, Ruffnecks go hard when all around them they see weakness, softness, compromise, sermonizing, poverty, and lack; they don’t change the world through conscious actions, instead they build themselves into the world one assault at a time.