JUSTEN LEROY: LAY ME DOWN IN PRAISE
Lay Me Down in Praise, created by multidisciplinary artist Justen LeRoy, is a three-channel film installation that asks how the scream, moan, and melisma—also known as the vocal run— provide a sonic route toward Black environmentalism. LeRoy layers clips of Black performers with images of geological activity. Through this juxtaposition, the artist considers how resistance and regeneration inhabit the wordless screeches of the Earth and the history of Black sound. Lay Me Down in Praise insists the Earth's aches and upheavals, felt in volcanic eruptions, tectonic shifts, and other cataclysmic events, are entangled with Black resistance and liberation.
Lay Me Down in Praise is curated by Essence Harden, Visual Arts Curator, CAAM. The exhibition is co-presented by CAAM and Art + Practice. The California African American Museum at Art + Practice is a five-year collaboration. The film is commissioned by CAAM with support from Teiger Foundation, Serial Pictures, and Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND). Additional support comes from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Co-Director + Designed: Kordae Jatafa Henry
Director of Photography: Ayinde Anderson
Editor: Kordae Jatafa Henry
Score: Justen LeRoy and Hadyn
Vocals: Moses Sumney, Diana Gordon, and Nadiah Adu-Gyamfi
Cast: Bob Morrison, Zoe Lawrence, Xuly Williams, Cat Jones, Barbara Barnett, Holly Redden, Michael Nicholson, and Sam Ramsey