By Christine Turner, Michèle Stephenson and Amir George
Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business
Nonagenarian Betye Saar has been creating art that challenges racial and sexist stereotypes since the 1960s. In this short portrait Saar reminisces about her artistic method of using collage and assemblage, her sense of whimsy when collecting objects, and the power of art as political commentary. Her seminal piece, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, was inspired by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and was meant to empower black women to construct their own narratives instead of letting stereotypes define them. Throughout her career, her groundbreaking work has been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, to name a few. Even though she is 93, Saar shows no signs of slowing down.
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Elena, the young protagonist of the film, and her family stand to lose their legal residency in the Dominican Republic if they don’t manage to get their documents in time. Negotiating a mountain of opaque bureaucratic processes and a racist, hostile society around, Elena becomes the face of the struggle to remain in a country built on the labor of her father and forefathers.
Man of the People
MAN OF THE PEOPLE is a political thriller surrounding the legacy of Chicago mayor Harold Washington. A complex unfolding of his two campaign runs leading to his sudden and mysterious death during his second term.