Towards A Black Testimony is an ongoing project by Languid Hands that explores the textures of, and efficacy of, Black testimony. So far, it includes the film Towards A Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace, made by Languid Hands exhibited at Jerwood Arts as part of Jerwood Collaborate! , as well as a programme of events presented alongside the film at Stroom Den Haag, both in 2019.

Images: Stills from Towards A Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace, Languid Hands, 2019.

Towards A Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace by Languid Hands (clip) from Rabz Lansiquot on Vimeo.

Towards a Black Testimony: Prayer, Protest, Peace is a new work by Languid Hands that examines Black Testimony as obscured, ignored and undermined. Drawing on archival imagery, Black geographies, and the dying declarations of Black Martyrs, it explores the complexities of truth, empathy, justice, the law, life and death for the Black Mass.

The work borrows its subtitle – Prayer, Protest, Peace - from the third track on jazz drummer and composer Max Roach's 1960 album ‘We Insist! Freedom Now Suite’ which features jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln. Using this composition as the underlying structure for the film itself, Languid Hands present three chapters or mediations on death and dying and consider the im/possibility of Black Testimony. The script draws from a variety of well and lesser known black texts, weaving the audience through a performative speech written and delivered by Robinson, carefully annotated by Lansiquot's archival exploration and sound mixed by, friend of Languid Hands, Felix Taylor.

The film was commissioned by Jerwood Arts for the group exhibition Jerwood Collaborate!, curated by Harriet Cooper, Head of Visual Arts. It was exhibited alongside new works by collectives Array, Shy Bairns and Keiken + George Jasper Stone from 2 Oct - 15 Dec 2019. During the exhibition we also curated a Jerwood Late programme with readings in response to the film from Derica Shields, Chloe Filani, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley and Christopher Kirubi.

Click here for Jerwood’s writer-in-residence Joseph Constable’s review of the film. 

Programme at Stroom Den Haag

In our curated programme, we aimed to bring together artists, thinkers, writers, listeners and speakers, wanderers and wonderers, to explore the complexity of Black Testimony, and to share domestic space. 

We commissioned artists to respond to the film in a series of interventions, discussions and performances, with contributions from Black Quantum Futurism (Camae Ayewa & Rasheedah Phillips), Shenece Oretha, Rebecca Bellantoni and Zinzi Minott. We also invited local community organiser Deborah Cameron to facilitate a series of intergenerational talks (DeeDe Talks) and workshops, engaging with the themes of the project in the context of The Hague.


Saturday 26 Oct 2019

17:00: Screening of Towards a Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace and Q&A with Languid Hands 

19:00: Performances by:
Zinzi Minott - One Lyrical Bitch Solo
Rebecca Bellantoni - How Great Thou Art
Shenece Oretha - Here, Present

22.00: Afterparty at The Grey Space in the Middle. Organized by Narges Mohammedi. With DJs: Rabz, DJ Fitgirl, Latoya and Fatima Ferrari.

Sunday 27 Oct 2019

17:00: Artist roundtable featuring Camae Ayewa, Rasheedah Phillips, Rebecca Bellantoni, Shenece Oretha, Zinzi Minott, Derica Shields, Rabz Lansiquot, and Imani Robinson
18:30: Black Quantum Futurism - Project Time Capsule

Saturday 2 Nov 2019, 19:00
DeeDee Talks x Towards a Black Testimony
Young Ones vs Golden Goldies

Saturday 23 Nov2019, 19:00
DeeDee Talks x Towards a Black Testimony
Black Queer Testimonies

The exhibition and programme at Strrom was supported by Mondriaan Fund and The City of The Hague.
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