To coincide with Steve McQueen: Lynching Tree, on view September 22 through October 23, 2022, the museum offers two screenings of the film 12 Years a Slave. The installation features a single photograph, Lynching Tree (2013), which McQueen took on location while filming his award-winning movie. A scene in the film shows the tree in use as gallows and an instrument of terror; Lynching Tree depicts a pastoral scene, its history revealed only by its title. The image serves as a memorial to the victims and a reminder that the afterlife of slavery persists in present-day American society.
About “12 Years a Slave”
In 1841, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an accomplished free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and must find the strength to survive. Filled with powerful performances by a cast that includes Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o (MFA 2012, David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University), Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt, 12 Years a Slave is both an unflinching account of slavery in American history and a celebration of the indomitable power of hope.
12 Years a Slave (2013), Directed by Steve McQueen
Shown: Chitwetel Ejiofor
Fox Searchlight Pictures/Photofest ©Fox Searchlight Pictures