In response to interest from Chicago’s own Diasporal Rhythms, CFA and the Black Cinema House present two films that explore past roots and pathways of black art. Diasporal Rhythms promotes and collects the works of contemporary visual artists of African descent. The folks at Diasporal Rhythms chose these two films from CFA’s collections for a screening and discussion at Re-Build Foundation’s Black Cinema House. Stick around afterwards for lively discourse led by Patric McCoy of Diasporal Rhythms.
Rythmes et Images: Impressions du Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Negres – Dakar, 1966, Virgil Calotescu & C.Ionescu-Tonciu, UNESCO, 20min, 16mm transferred to DVD, B/W.
“Africa is where art and life merge.” Nearly 50 years ago in Dakar, Senegal, the First Festival of African Art drew crowds from around the globe. This symposium was created in order to have a dialogue with the rest of the world. What significance can we attribute to black art today? How wide is its diffusion and influence within Africa and elsewhere, and what has been the scope of its contacts with alien cultures, in particular with European and Western culture? The festival displayed every aspect of African Art. This film presents glimpses of this historic meeting, art from throughout the continent, and, with voice over, an overview of the artistic values black culture has given the world.
Portrait of Two Artists, 1982, Carol Munday Lawrence, Nguzo Saba Films, 29min, 16mm transferred to DVD, Color.
This film from director Carol Munday Lawrence follows two black painters, surrealist Hughie Lee-Smith and “dynamic cubist” Jacob Lawrence, revealing contributions of black artists to the American cultural scene through the early 1980s. The film examines the artists’ work, including Lee-Smith’s class at New York’s Art Students League, Lawrence working on a commissioned mural on an island in Puget Sound, and an animation of the illustrations from Lawrence’s children’s book Harriet and the Promised Land.
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