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Celebrating the Life and Work of African American Folk Artist Winfred Rembert

On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, The Arlington Center for the Arts and Arlington International Film Festival invites the public to attend a film, panel discussion and art show/sale with Winfred Rembert, a self-taught folk artist from Georgia whose carved and dyed leather artwork depicts the daily lives of African Americans in the pre-civil rights segregated south.

The event takes place on Thursday, September 19 at 7:00 in the Theater at the Arlington Center for the Arts, 41 Foster Street, Arlington, MA. Tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors) are available online.

The Panel discussion will include the artist, Winfred Rembert, the film director, Vivian Ducat, and moderator John Voci, from WGBH.

Left to right: John Voci, Winfred Rembert, Vivian Ducat

Film Synopsis: A feature documentary, the film chronicles the life of Winfred Rembert, a 66-year-old African American who grew up in Cuthbert, Georgia. Rembert spent most of his childhood working in the cotton and peanut fields. When he could attend school he loved drawing but not much else. Attendance at a civil rights demonstration got him thrown in jail without charges or a trial. An escape over a year later resulted in a prison sentence, but only after Rembert had survived an attempted lynching. While serving seven years on Georgia chain gangs, Rembert fell in love with both his future wife and with leather as an art medium. Life and eight children intervened after prison; it was not until 1995 that Rembert began to carve, tool and then dye pictures on leather in his studio in the front room of his home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Winfred Rembert, “Amazing Grace”

About Winfred Rembert: With his intensely autobiographical paintings depicting the day-to-day existence of African Americans in the segregated South, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important, if often disturbing, chapter of American history. His indelible images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful, not just because he lived every moment, but because he experienced so much of the injustice and bigotry they show as recently as the 1960s and 70s.

Now in his sixties, Rembert has developed a growing following among collectors and connoisseurs, and enjoyed a number of tributes and exhibitions of his work. In “ALL ME: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert,” the artist relives his turbulent life, abundantly visualized by his extensive paintings and, in a series of intimate reminiscences, shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.

For more information or advance tickets, please visit our website.

This event is co-sponsored with the Arlington International Film Festival, presenting films and special events throughout the fall. Weekend festival dates: October 23-27.

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