Patrisse Cullors. A Prayer For The Runner, June 2020.
“Patrisse Cullors, the performance artist and activist best known for co-founding Black Lives Matter in 2013, unveiled a new work on Saturday in collaboration with UCLA’s Fowler Museum. The performance piece, A Prayer for the Runner, honors the life of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old who was murdered in Georgia this year for the crime of jogging while black.
Conceived during our era of social distancing, A Prayer for the Runner debuted on a Zoom webinar as a two-channel video. On one side of a split screen, Cullors appeared in a candlelit room, barefoot, dressed in a gauzy emerald robe and silver metallic pants, the words “BLACK POWER” written across her black t-shirt. Writing in black marker on a knee-high stack of blank paper, she presented “LAPD BUDGET” to the viewer as a sacrificial offering, then fed it through a shredder suspended from the ceiling. One by one, as she shredded “JAILS,” “PRISONS,” and “POLICE,” the sheets momentarily held their shape in midair as they fell out of the machine, shattering to pieces as they landed on the growing mound of shreds below. In the background, a pair of outstretched wings hung on the wall.”