... three kings weep ...
Ebony G. Patterson
Ebony G. Patterson uses lavish surfaces and verdant motifs to entice viewers to contemplate not only the power of beauty and fashion but also historical and contemporary violence against Black people. In . . . three kings weep . . ., a trio of young men shed tears as they sit silently before a backdrop of floral wallpaper and fluttering artificial butterflies. The videos play backwards, and as a result the initially shirtless men appear to be slowly dressing themselves in colorful clothing with mixed patterns and gleaming jewelry that draws on the styles of dancehall culture and carnival dress. Silence is intermittently interrupted by the voice of a boy reciting “If We Must Die,” a sonnet that Jamaican-born writer Claude McKay published in 1919 after a summer of intense racial terror and resistance across the United States. In the final seconds of the video, as the men’s sartorial performance ends, they proudly crown themselves with a bandana, a bucket hat, and a pair of reflective glasses, respectively. As in McKay’s poem, these three kings are ready to “fight!” for their dignity.
Three-channel digital color video installation with sound, 8 minutes 34 seconds
Gift of the Contemporary Art Committee and purchase gift of Carla Chammas and Judi Roaman
This item is not on view
Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaican, born 1981). ... three kings weep ..., 2018. Three-channel digital color video installation with sound, 8 minutes 34 seconds Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Contemporary Art Committee and purchase gift of Carla Chammas and Judi Roaman, 2019.11. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2019.11_view01_SC.jpg)
Edition: 1/3 (2 AP)
screen capture, Timestamp: 08:34, 2019.11_view01_SC.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2020
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© Ebony G. Patterson
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