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Kindred Spirits

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I was human. I knew I had sensitivity, so something was wrong with the information. So very early, I wanted to go to Africa. I wanted to find my cultural roots. Arriving in Africa was a tremendous experience that I’ve never gotten over.”

Other artists in the program also speak of their reclamation of this ancestral legacy. Bessie Harvey, who was raised in Tennessee and has never visited Africa, creates an amazing array of sculptures from tree stumps and limbs that she finds, all of which incorporate African motifs. In her words, “God is the artist.” The “visions” for her work come from being in touch with her own simple spiritual truths. “The tribes have been separated, but the spirit is still one,”she says. “We have lived under what we have been taught, but deep down inside that tribal spirit is there. And that goes for the blacks down through generations.”

Kindred Spirits is a celebration of the creative spark. Appearing as a special guest on the program, poet Maya Angelou shares her own feelings about creativity and her links to Africa and to all of humanity. “What one really is brought to see, “says Angelou, “is this statement: ’I am a human being; nothing human can be alien to me.’ That is love. That is what is in great art.”

Kindred Spirits: Contemporary African-American Artists was funded by a grant from the Philip Morris Companies Inc. The program was produced by Clayton Corrie and directed by Christine McConnell. The supervising director is Ginny Martin, and the executive producer is Sylvia Komatsu.

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