Clementine Hunter documentary to air on Louisiana Public Broadcasting

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Clementine Hunter is a self-taught artist whose work has shed new light on the untold stories of African American workers.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) will present the broadcast premiere of “Clementine Hunter’s World,” a short documentary exploring her life and work. The film airs Monday, August 23 at 7 p.m. An encore is planned for Saturday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.

Natchitoches Wood

The Louisiana produced film combines vintage photographs with Hunter’s colorful paintings to bring her story to life. From the time 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. 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. In doing so, she 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.

“Clementine Hunter’s body of work is more than just a Louisiana treasure; it’s a treasure we happily share with the entire world because of the priceless perspective she provides for us,” said LPB President and CEO Beth Courtney. “This is a documentary that was shown at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture. LPB is so proud to be able to provide the broadcast debut to our statewide audience.”

Art Shiver, the writer and director of Clementine Hunter’s World, was determined to create the entire documentary within Hunter’s home state of Louisiana. The production crew – responsible for everything from the cinematography, to the original music, to the graphics and marketing – all hail from Louisiana. “Everyone who worked on this film had a sense of pride knowing we were documenting the life of a Louisiana Legend. Now, thanks to LPB, that legend will be shared with people throughout the state.”

Shiver, along with noted Hunter historians Tom Whitehead of Natchitoches and Henry Price of Shreveport, join Southern University’s Robyn Merrick on the night of the broadcast to provide additional perspectives and stories about the making of the documentary.