Billy Sings Amazing Grace (2013)

Theaster Gates
Billy Sings Amazing Grace
HD video, colour and sound
12 minutes 24 seconds
Courtesy of the artist


Theaster Gates is a visual artist, archivist, curator and musician whose practice explores Black identity and history through material investigations into labour, spirituality, vacancy and spatiality. The film Billy Sings Amazing Grace (2013) chronicles a rehearsal of the artist’s musical ensemble, The Black Monks, with soul singer Billy Forston. The ensemble is grounded in the Black musical traditions of the American South, such as blues and gospel, as well as ascetic and Eastern monastic practices. Enacting a conversation traversing cities, classes and generations, the ensemble plays their improvised rendition of the hymn Amazing Grace as a tribute to Forston.