On 19 February ‘Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace' premiered at the Reel Artists Film Festival in Toronto. Since then the film has been screened at festivals and arts events across America - and there are more screenings to come. The film was also awarded 'best short documentary' at this year's SXSW Festival in Texas, USA.
Kehinde Wiley set out to address the conspicuous lack of black subjects in western European art. He began by painting portraits of young men - models he hand-picked from the streets of Harlem - placing them in the vernacular of artists such as Ingres and Titian. The poses were classical, the clothing, the model's own. The result was an arresting alchemy of highbrow and hip-hop that put a brand new spin on a traditional form.
Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace follows the artist as he steps out of his comfort zone to create a series of paintings of women for the first time. Kehinde casts his models on the streets of New York and then enlists Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy to create couture dresses for each woman. The film traces the artist's process from concept to canvas as he reveals to us another side of black femininity.
Director: Jeff Dupre
Producer: Jeff Dupre, Jessica Chermayeff, Ana Veselic
Distributor: Show of Force
Colour, 52 minutes, English, 2013
5 - 9 August - Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival
4 September - Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York
5 September, 9pm - PBS TV channel broadcast
Week of 8 September - Soho House, Los Angeles