American, b. Columbia, South Carolina, 1986
Birds in Paradise
Two-channel video; color; sound; 18:20 min.
Proposed acquisition, November 2020
@ Jacolby Satterwhite / Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York
Jacolby Satterwhite uses digital animation to construct epic imagined worlds inspired by video games, Afrofuturism, and queer theory. Birds in Paradise is set primarily in a vast coliseum over which a nude Black man wearing a cowboy hat soars on a winged metallic horse. The computer-generated scenes unfold alongside live-action footage of Satterwhite himself as he participates in Yoruba-derived rituals related to rebirth and regeneration. The soundtrack features recordings of Patricia Satterwhite, the artist’s late mother, singing the words “born to be free” and other phrases layered against electronic dance tracks. Satterwhite has described this video, with its emphasis on return and repetition, as a reflection on “being reborn and re-centering yourself, finding home again.”