Lonnie Hollie: I Snuck Off the Slave Ship
MUMA and Liquid Architecture present an unforgettable evening with African-American visual artist, musician and filmmaker Lonnie Holley, with special guests Sista Zai Zanda and Nelson Patten.
The evening will comprise the Australian-premiere of Holley’s I Snuck Off the Slave Ship (Dir: Lonnie Hollie and Cyrus Moussavi, USA, 2018: 20mins) following its Sundance Film Festival debut earlier this year.
Holley will be in conversation with curator, storyteller and educator Sista Zai Zanda, followed by a performance by Nelson Patten; the NYC and Atlanta-based instrumental duo of Dave Nelson and Marlon Patton who are touring Australia as Holley’s backing band.
One of the South’s preeminent self-taught artists, Lonnie Holley was born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama and he currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. His practice extends from assemblage, painting and sculpture to music, and his art works are held in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, New York, amongst others. In 2012 he gained a new audience when, at sixty-two years of age, the self-taught musician began releasing and performing his own music. Entirely improvised and impossible to categorise, his free-flowing compositions include stream-of-consciousness lyrics delivered in his deeply expressive, world-worn bellow. He has since worked with such figures as Bon Iver, Bill Callahan, the Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective.
Like the song that inspired it, I Snuck Off the Slave Ship is a metaphor for African American transcendence. Holley quilts together a lifetime of turbulence and suffering marked by constant struggle, from abject poverty to jail time. Across his songs is an impressionistic poetry all his own, he lays bare his intensely personal inner world, touching on issues such as Black Lives Matter and contemporary American politics. In both his visual art and music Holley is an inspired improviser and a storyteller of the highest order.
Holley will perform at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Saturday June 1 as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
Lonnie Holley is presented at LOOP in arrangement with Mistletone and Dead End Film Festival.