For All Your Life is an ongoing performance project and installation that examines the value of black life and black death, which will premiere in New York, in Fall 2022.
The first iteration, For All Your Life Studies, is a two-channel site specific video installation at SculptureCenter in Queens, NY. The projections manipulate personal home videos to address a thorny relationship to the artist’s past; one that includes expressions of privilege, access, leisure, as well as survival, addressing the question: What is the value of black life and death?
While black bodies in water have historically charged undertones, Cuyjet attempts to disarm and confuse the narrative with imagery from her childhood, one of carefree joy, amidst a swimming competition. Her research is guided by the nautical roots of life insurance, one that was built out of necessity for families to sailors lost at sea, while researching the New York Life insurance company and discovering they once sold policies for slaves, and whose tagline inspired the title of this work. Her personal history, as a descendent of slaves, as well as from a middle class home, frames this intersection past and present.
For further reading, visit the Walker Museum website series, MN Artists: Choreographers’ Evening 2021.
as part of InPractice: You may go, but this will bring you back. SculptureCenter, NYC
exhibiting March 23 - August 2, 2021
This work was supported with residencies at MacDowell and Movement Research. Leslie would like to thank her family (especially her father’s videography), Sebastián Patané Masuelli, Kat Reynolds, and Alexis Wilkinson.
images by Kyle Knodell and SculptureCenter
© 2023 Leslie Cuyjet