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Columns : Films, Finance and Fine Arts - Kareem Mortimer Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Kareem Mortimer: Where Art Belongs
By Kareem Mortimer
Jun 5, 2015 - 9:20:14 AM

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Woman in Gold shows everyday from June 5th- June 11th at 7:30pm When A Man Dreams shows on June 9th at 6:00 pm with a q+a with director Philip Burrows following screening. Reservations must be made at The Island House at 242.698.6300

This past week, I had the privilege of being invited to attend and present at the Black Portraitures Conference: Imagining Black Bodies and Reframing Histories in Florence, Italy organized by New York University and Harvard.  The panel I presented on was  “The Retreating Island” moderated by Edward Akintola Hubbard along with Barbadian filmmakers Russell Watson and Lisa Harewood.  

At this conference, there was also a presentation by another Bahamian Erica James, a professor at Yale who presented a paper on the 19th Century Haitian portraits of Louis Rigaud.  One theme that was consistent through many of the presentations was ownership of images? Who does the images that the artist create belong to? Does it belong to their families, culture or the general public? 

As an artist, I always believed that the art that is created is for everyone without distinction and although it leaves the space for the work to be misinterpreted it is not really the business or concern of the originator.  However there is work that is stolen, art that is given a manipulated context or art made to remain in one particular space that is not to be moved.

This week at the Island House Cinema, we focus on two films that feature art that represents their culture Woman in Gold and the Bahamian Film When A Man Dreams Dreams. Woman in Gold is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way (Weinstein).  

When A Man Dreams Dreams: The Life of Winston V. Saunders  (Phillip Burrows) chronicles the extraordinary life of Bahamian playwright, actor, musician and lawyer Winston V. Saunders. From his humble beginnings as a child organist to his meteoric rise as the writer of "You Can Lead a Horse to Water", the iconic Bahamian play. Saunders' achievement left an indelible mark on Bahamian society and culture. His contributions include the script for the 1972 Independence celebrations, his 20-plus year chairmanship of the Dundas Theatre, Consultant for the Quincentennial Commission and Chairman of the National Commission on Cultural Development. The film features interviews with some of the leading members of the Bahamian cultural community as well as Winston's friends and colleagues.

Both films provide us with an excellent art history of context, meaning, and the human need to record our present circumstances but they are greater than that they are also about how passionate creation can stay with humanity long after their creators have passed on.

Woman in Gold shows everyday from June 5th- June 11th at 7:30pm

When A Man Dreams
shows on June 9th at 6:00 pm with a q+a with director Philip Burrows following screening.

Reservations must be made at The Island House at 242.698.6300

Email: cinema@the-island-house.com

About the author: Kareem Mortimer is an award winning filmmaker and artist who has completed several films including Children of God, Wind Jammers, Passage, Float and The Eleutheran Adventure. He is the President of the production company Best Ever Film and is the curator of the film program at The Island House Cinema, a boutique 48 seat theater in Western New Providence dedicated to showcasing the best in independent, foreign, art, Caribbean and Bahamian film. He is also in development of the feature film Cargo.

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Films, Finance and Fine Arts - Kareem Mortimer
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