24. Back and Song at Governors Island

back and song at governors island
Back and Song, Still/Installation View (Detail), Courtesy of the Artists.

Located in the Lower Gallery of the Arts Center at Governors Island is Back and Song, a meditative four-channel film and art installation which reflects on how the pursuit of one’s health remains at the root of how breath, life, joy, and pain manifest in the black experience. The installation was created by Elissa Blount-Moorhead and Bradford Young in collaboration with archivists from around the world including Elijah Maja of Future Together Lab, Rianna Jade Parker, and Hudda Khaireh.

Through its kaleidoscope design, Back and Song encourages its viewers to consider the labor and care provided by generations of Black healers and how their work has factored and not factored into the often flawed and discriminatory structures of Western medicine in the past and present. Back and Song features synthesized images of quotidian Black family life to showcase how music, movement, sound therapy, ritual dance, rest, and meditation can be brought together as a spectrum of individual and communal pursuits of well-being.