• Big Wheel VI

    • "I've pushed myself to push toward things that disturb me. I've developed a habit of recording these things because these things often disappear."
      —Arthur Jafa
      Silently suspended in space, the black rubber, demolition-derby wheel sheathed in metal chains constitutes Arthur Jafa’s Big Wheel VI, 2018. It appears as an intricately carved, oversized medallion encased in a shimmering latticework of strings. Part of a series of six unique works, three of which were exhibited at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019, Big Wheel VI encompasses artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa’s courageous and insightful handling of Black History through the struggle, social justice, and struggle for equality in the United States.

       

      For many years, Jafa has worked as a cinematographer and editor with renowned directors, such as Stanley Kubrik and Spike Lee. Simultaneously gaining traction for his unique video and installations, Jafa’s art practice came to its culmination at the 2019 Venice Biennale when he won the Golden Lion award for his movie, “The White Album.” It was during that same exhibition that works from the Big Wheel series were exhibited.

       

      The thematic nuance of Big Wheel VI is as masterful as it is poignant. The chains allude to the harrowing past of Black communities in the United States. Simultaneously, a large wheel, which seems to originate from an industrial vehicle, symbolizing mobility and progress. Thus, Big Wheel VI becomes a monument to the changing agrarian south, where the artist was born, and was a focal point of the trials, injustices, and horrors that the Black community faced.

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