Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
ATLANTA—A documentary by Jonathan Gayles, associate professor of African-American Studies, will be screened during the National Black Arts Festival events at the Rialto Center for the Arts this week.
Gayles film, titled “Shaft or Sidney Poitier: The Emergency of Black Masculinity in Comic Books,” will be shown at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (July 14).
Gayles shot, edited and produced the film, which will be being screened for the first time at Georgia State University.
“The National Black Arts Festival is a premier international celebration of Black cultural and artistic expression that reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the African diaspora. The selection of my film for the NBAF is an honor of the highest order. I am truly humbled by it,” Gayles said.
An avid comic book reader as a youngster, Gayles’ documentary examines the earliest representations of Black masculinity in comic books from 1965 to 1977 and the troubling influence of race on these representations. Thinking critically about the manner in which black men were first portrayed in hero serials provides insight into broader societal conceptions of the black man as a character, archetype and symbol, Gayles said.
“While some may not have read comic books, the documentary uses comic books as a point of reference to examine these patterns of black masculine representation in comics, a longstanding component of popular culture,” Gayles said.
Beyond this week’s films, the two-week National Black Arts Festival has been celebrating and exploring the arts through music, dance, visual arts, humanities and children’s programming. This year’s festival themed, “Unexpected Encounters,” features events and performances, symposiums and workshops that engage, cultivate and educate diverse audiences about the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for artistic and creative expression.
Tickets for the film can be purchased at the door one hour before show time for $11, and online at www.nbaf.org only. For a full list of NBAF films showing at the Rialto this week, visit www.nbaf.org.
July 11, 2011