AGBS and the Department of Art and Art History is proud to host a public screening of Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards, directed by Lydie Diakhaté. Lydie Diakhaté’s film reveals how in Melvin Edwards’s work, the global black initiative operates like a vital lifeline in his artistic expression and how exploring different techniques of welding and engaging his cultural and political values he established his own artistic language across five decades.
After the screening, we'll have a panel discussion with artist Melvin Edwards, curator Phillip Townsend, and director Lydie Diakhaté.
Melvin Edwards (b.1937) is a pioneer in the history of contemporary African American art and sculpture. Born in Houston, Texas, he began his artistic career at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, where he met and was mentored by the Hungarian painter Francis de Erdely. In 1965, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA organized his first solo exhibition, which launched his professional career. Edwards moved to New York City in 1967, shortly after his arrival, his work was exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem; in 1970, he became the first African American sculptor to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Lydie Diakhaté is a film producer and director, art critic, and curator for exhibitions and art programs. Her work focuses on producing and disseminating African and African diaspora films and other arts. Her professional path leads her to work regularly on three continents: Europe, Africa, and the United States. She was the co-founder and co-director of the Real Life Documentary Festival in Accra (2006–2011). Her director and producer credits include Slave Routes: The Long Memory, co-directed with the late poet Jane Cortez, and Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards. Diakhaté has written extensively about the arts and cultures and appeared in various publications.
Curator of Art, Phillip Townsend is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art + Art History specializing in modern and contemporary art of the African Diaspora with a focus on the politics of identity and representational strategies of BIPOC artists. He received his M.A., in Art History from UT-Austin (2016) and his B.A., in Art History from The University of South Florida (2014). Phillip is a co-founder of the Austin-based curatorial collective, Neon Queen Collective. He has curated and co-curated exhibitions featuring the work of John Pinderhughes, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Charles White, Ashley Ortiz-Diaz, and most recently Adrian Armstrong.