This weekend’s Fall Tour of Homes will also showcase the short documentary on the life and work of self-taught, African-American artist Clementine Hunter. Written and directed by Art Shiver, “Clementine Hunter’s World” combines vintage photographs with Hunter’s images to bring her story to life. There will be one showing of the film Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the barn at Melrose Plantation. A Q&A with Art Shiver will immediately follow the film. At 3:30 p.m., a talk by Tom N. Whitehead, entitled “If Clementine’s Walls Could Talk…” will also occur.
“I am very proud the film was entirely produced within Louisiana using Louisiana talent,” said Shiver. “The timing has been remarkable because, both the African House, as well as Hunter’s murals, have been beautifully restored and they are today as vibrant as they must have been the day Clementine finished them. This is the first film to take the viewers on a cinematic tour of the famed African House murals. Each panel is examined in detail for the first time on film.”
About Clementine Hunter:
From the time Clementine Hunter first picked up a brush in the late 1940s until her death in 1988, she painted thousands of images recalling her life on a 20th century plantation. Southern plantation history is often white-centric, but Hunter’s art records and recalls life among the African-American workers. As the artist quietly painted her colorful pictures, initially by the light of a kerosene lamp, rumblings of unrest were just beginning to awaken Americans to the changes coming in civil rights. From her tiny cabin on the grounds of rural Melrose Plantation, she knew little if anything about the protests breaking out across the south. She painted her life as she knew it and in doing so, left a visual diary that sheds light on the other side of the plantation’s racial divide. Today, paintings she sold for pennies sell for thousands of dollars and hang in private collections and prestigious galleries around the world.
About the film:
Just as the civil rights protests were beginning to jolt America, self-taught African American artist, Hunter quietly painted a visual diary of plantation life in Melrose. In a community where history was an oral tradition, written documents were mostly of the white plantation owners. Hunter’s vast collection of painted memories shed new light on the untold stories of African American workers. With each creation, she revealed colorful tales of mid-century plantation life in the Cane River Country.
Join Emmy-award winning television broadcaster Noelle Bellow, whose family traces its roots to the earliest days of the Cane River, as she explores the vividly restored murals that reveal one woman’s unique perspective on history. This is the story of an uneducated African American house servant who became a world-famous artist. Though she never learned to read or write, Hunter painted thousands of images immortalizing her experiences living in the rural South.
About the making of the film:
The writer and director of the film, author Art Shiver was determined to create the entire documentary within the artist’s home state of Louisiana. He chose Anne Gremillion and her firm, Gremillion and Pou Integrated Marketing of Shreveport, to produce the film with Director of Photography and Editor Matt Weeks, Noelle Bellow as moderator, Henry Price as historical commentator, John W. Gayle as the voice of Francois Mignon, Nathan Pizar for motion graphics, Wade Marshall as composer of original soundtrack, Jared Navarre as photographer, Brad Campbell for graphic design, Production Supervisor Chris Lyon, Alec McCommon, Clint McCommon and Jeremy Spring as production crew and Allison LaCour for hair and make-up. Work on the film began in the first quarter of 2016. The documentary was filmed in June and the film premiered in Natchitoches in October 2016.
For more information, call The Melrose Plantation at (318) 379-0055.