Akeroyd Collection


Theaster Gates, Gone are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, 2014

In Gone Are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, filmed at the now-demolished Roman Catholic Church of St. Laurence on Chicago's South Side, Gates and members of his experimental musical ensemble The Black Monks drop unhinged doors to the floor from above their heads repeatedly. The noise of the flat wooden surfaces slapping the hard floor resonates like thunder through the cavernous, dilapidated space. These violent, percussive sounds overlay a distant cello drone and gospel singer voices in a duet. The Black Monks use this abandoned church to testify to the enduring presence of spiritual life despite its abandonment and decline. This film serves as a potent symbol of the ongoing disinvestment in urban sacred spaces, particularly in Black neighbourhoods. By drawing attention to these issues, Gates highlights the neglect of culturally significant sites and the marginalization of Black and Brown communities.

MediumSingle-channel video, colour
Duration6 minutes 31 seconds
Editionof 4 + 2 APs