End Date: 31/08/2020

Whilst Day often writes directly onto photographs and diagrams, in this series the written gesture is supplanted by his voice as each light jet print is accompanied by an audio recording of the original soundtrack of ‘The Fall of the Twelve Acres Museum’. The soundtrack also includes interviews with Earl Mills and music from a short-lived emo-core band from the area. It is a meditation on alienation and connection, and the potential for meaningful co-habitation between peoples.

Dapper Bruce Lafitte’s drawings use a different form of storytelling.
He grew up in the Lafitte Housing Development in the 6th Ward of New Orleans and took the name Lafitte to acknowledge the huge impact that this community has had on his life and art. This inspiration is also apparent in vibrantly detailed drawings chronicling his life in New Orleans. While Bruce tackles the gritty subjects of poverty and racism, his art also documents the joyful parts of his life in the city, revelling in colour, pattern and rhythm.

Arcade is pleased to present works by Jeremiah Day and Dapper Bruce Lafitte. Through their different approaches both artists explore complex and marginalised American histories. This year is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in the New World and simultaneously a moment when the call goes out to decolonize society, education and the arts. To mark this occasion we are bringing together a new photographic series by Day created from the analogue transparencies of his 2008 slide installation ‘The Fall of the Twelve Acres Museum’ and an overview of felt-tip drawings by Dapper Bruce Lafitte.

Day and Lafitte both employ images and text with an urgency to communicate. Amiri Baraka has argued that modern art is abstract because if you showed the people how the world works they wouldn’t be able to change it, they would burn parts of it down. Lafitte and Day’s works aim for just such a public description, and share the assumption that such a description matters.

‘The Fall of the Twelve Acres Museum’ is a reflection on the meaning of the United States. It depicts the landscape of Cape Cod where the English settler colonialists first met and were saved by the Wompanoag tribe. Despite being defeated militarily the Wompanoag were never crushed and continue to enact and defend their culture to this day. The images mix historical sites and those shown to the artist by Earl Mills, Chief Flying Eagle of the Mashpee Wompanoag, who famously led the tribe into a confrontation with the state over land rights in the 1970’s; a lawsuit which was defeated on the grounds that the Tribe had lost too much of its identity to hold onto its original rights. The battle is ongoing and this year the Trump administration attacked the remaining rights of the Tribe.