“I haven’t moved past the childhood days of my life when it comes to the artwork,” observes Winfred Rembert. “Most of the things I do now are just memories from a young guy, a teenager, you know, growing up in Cuthbert, Georgia.” As he speaks, Rembert is headed back to Cuthbert. He’s bringing a film crew with him, because now, as puts it, he’s “somebody.”
That somebody, you see early in All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, is certainly a product of his childhood days. The film—which screens at Maysles Cinema on 11 July, followed by a Q&A with Rembert and director Vivian Ducat and—traces how he has survived, by telling his stories in his art. At once harrowing and heartening, these stories are represented in particularly vivid form: Rembert’s paintings are actually not made with paint, but with bright dyes he applies to leather canvases. The images show cotton fields and chain gangs, baptisms and lynchings, images of the US South during the 1960s, a world where, he recalls his great aunt telling him, “You don’t make waves, you know, you can’t change a thing. White people do what they want to do, how they want to do, and you can’t do nothing about it.” Now, in his art, he’s doing something.
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