the ancestors came (2017), tate modern commission
digital, colour, 6.00 mins
the ancestors came is a short film that utilises narrative, documentary and experimental techniques to explore the life and legacy of prolific artist faith ringgold, in a cinematic style that pays homage to the artist’s body of work that often reimagines aspects of black folk tales, children’s stories and myths in a visual art context. through ownership of the subjectivity of her perspective as black artist in britain, emeke explores ringgolds legacy through the imagining of a non-linear narrative combining various narrative threads based on ringgold’s work, with aspects of subtle performance from the artist herself, whereby three children in england discover a girl who fell from the sky and ponder where she came from. emeke speaks to the profundity of ringgold’s work by mirroring and blurring the line between where the work begins and ends, between the real and the imagined.
“where is she from?”
“bronzeville, i think.”
“is that what they are made of?”
“no, she said she’s from harlem.”
“what are they made of there?”
the ancestors came was commissioned by tate modern as part the 2018 soul of a nation exhibition in london.