Birds in Paradise


“With Green Screen I could explore the fifth dimension of what I couldn’t do when I was restrained to the canvas. “ – Jacolby Satterwhite

Over the course of her life Jacolby Satterwhite’s mother Patricia Satterwhite (who is herself an artist) created thousands of drawings – mostly diagrams of household machines and devices. As his mother’s schizophrenia progressed, Jacolby noticed these drawings evolve from functional, realistic structures – to abstract, poetic gestures. Birds in Paradise by Jacolby Satterwhite, gathers and transforms his mother’s drawings into energetic worlds and scenes – soundtracked by music that samples her a cappella singing. Jacolby approaches creating these worlds through the lens of Afro-Futurism (an effort to create science-fiction that incorporates African-American experiences, so that the black-diaspora might be reconnected with their ancestry). Ambiguity is important in this artwork – is this heaven or the apocalypse?

Get drawn into the world of CGI clubbers in mechanical landscapes. View Jacolby’s choreographed dances and performances of bondage-play – using these rituals of movement and sensation to process trauma and purify the body. Some take the form of performance artworks rooted in Nigerian myths of water spirits. Others, take shape in motion-captured voguing. Collectively, these rituals showcase an ongoing exercise in self-destruction, re-invention and rebirth.

Jacolby Satterwhite | b. 1986, US
Jacolby Satterwhite was born in 1986 in Columbia, South Carolina. He received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Arts, Baltimore and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Satterwhite’s work has been presented in numerous exhibitions and festivals internationally, including most recently at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2021); Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2021); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2021); Fabric Workshop & Museum, Philadelphia (2019); Pioneer Works, New York (2019); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2019); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2019); Minneapolis Institute of Art (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2018); New Museum, New York (2017); Public Art Fund, New York (2017); San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco (2017); and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2017). He was awarded the United States Artist Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellowship in 2016. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. In 2019, Satterwhite collaborated with Solange Knowles on her visual album, “When I Get Home.

Connect with the artist on Instagram here