Event Love is the Message, The Message is Death

Love is the Message, The Message is Death

Roundtable Discussion

10 February 2024

Join us for a roundtable discussion on Arthur Jafa’s seminal work, Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2016), facilitated by Shannon Brett.

Love is the Message encapsulates African American experience as a tale of resilience. Scenes of trauma, racism, grief, and routine police violence are shuffled with others of joy, defiance, and creativity, including performances by exceptional black athletes, dancers, and musicians. Set to Kanye West’s emotional gospel anthem ‘Ultralight Beam’, the video is a visceral, kaleidoscopic meditation on African American life, history, and identity.

After a viewing of the work, Brett will sit down with Dr Ruari Elkington and Dr r e a Saunders to discuss the context of Love is the Message, its place in film and screen history, and its relevance to Australian audiences.



We are committed to making the IMA accessible to people of all abilities, their families, and carers, as well as visitors of different ages and different backgrounds.

The gallery entrance is on the ground floor of the Judith Wright Arts Centre, on Berwick Street. There is wheelchair access and an accessible toilet with baby changing facilities also located on the ground floor, and we welcome guide and support dogs.

If you plan to attend this event and have specific support needs we can accommodate, please contact engagement@ima.org.au, call (07) 3252 5750, or ask our friendly staff on-site. Read our access information for visitors here.

Guest Info
  • Shannon Brett (they/them) is a proud Wakka Wakka/Butchulla/Gooreng Gooreng person, an artist, designer, and curator, currently completing a PhD in Social Justice at the Queensland University of Technology. Their research on whiteness responds to systemic racism and misogyny in Australia from decolonial and black feminist perspectives. They hold a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art from the Queensland College of Art and have worked in numerous arts institutions throughout Australia.

    Dr Ruari Elkington (he/him) is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology and a Chief Investigator within QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre. For over a decade, his industry engagement and academic research has been driven by questions around how screen content connects with discrete audiences in markets increasingly under pressure through creative and commercial tensions. His screen industry experience centred on the acquisition, marketing and distribution of documentary, feature film and innovative digital content to theatrical and online audiences.

    Dr r e a Saunders (they/them) is an artist, curator, activist, and cultural educator from the Gamilaraay/Wailwan/Biripi Nations. Their practice-led research extends over three decades, embedded in critical engagement with colonial archive collections of bla(c)kness. Their extensive research includes the  examination of contemporary discourses, which have not changed the colonial narrative of Aboriginality. Their art consciously draws on a legacy of lived experiences, ancestral knowledge, and the impact of intergenerational trauma, grief, and loss. Their doctoral research, titled ‘Vaguely Familiar: haunted identities, contested histories, Indigenous futures’, produced a body of creative work that explored how they learnt the importance of dadirri (deep listening) on Country. Dadirri has brought great awareness to their practice and often leaves them with fragments of shared stories, through which they have learnt to decipher their heritage.

'Arthur Jafa: Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death', Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2016. Photo: Brian Forrest.

Related Exhibition

Arthur Jafa

Love is the Message, The Message is Death

20 Jan–07 Apr 2024

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