“When nobody speaks your name, or even knows it, you, knowing it, must be the first to speak it.”
When Marlon Riggs said this in an essay published in Out/look magazine in 1991 he summed up the process of artistic self-creation that had formed the basis of his seminal work Tongues Untied (1989). He would pass away four years later, at the age of 37, from AIDS-related complications, leaving behind a fierce body of work characterised by a rare ability to articulate the complex intersections of racial and sexual identity.
Riggs was a poet, an educator and a gay rights activist as well as a multi-award-winning filmmaker, including a Maya Daren Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
His works for television, Ethnic Notions (1986) and Colour Adjustment(1991) chronicled representations of blackness in modern American cultural history; exploring how stereotypes are disseminated and reinforced through art and media. In other, more personal works, he incorporated elements of dance, gesture, music and poetry, developing a singular vernacular, in film, that dazzles in its joyousness and clarity of vision.
We’re delighted to present the work alongside a series of creative/poetic responses from artists Evan Ifekoya, Jay Bernard and Paul Maheke, celebrating Marlon’s legacy and infusing the programme with an explicitly contemporary relevance.
This strand is supported by #BFIBlackStar and Film Audience Network
Oops, Post Not Found!
Uh Oh. Something is missing. Try double checking things.