US-based filmmaker of Guyanese and Nigerian descent Chelsea Odufu shares her second vlog post about her international artist residency at Fresh Milk in Barbados. She talks through her experiences navigating the island, learning her way around and in so doing beginning to build familiarity with people and places. She also gave a talk to students at the Barbados Community College (BCC), where she screened her film Ori Inu: In Search of Self. Read more below:
Chelsea Odufu, a US-based filmmaker of Guyanese and Nigerian descent, shares her first vlog post documenting her artist residency at Fresh Milk for the month of October 2017. Chelsea has spent the first week working through her first impressions of Barbados and grappling with being immersed in the island’s history.
Chelsea will use her residency with Fresh Milk to begin doing ethnography research about Caribbean culture, specifically centered around Afro Caribbean traditions such as Carnival, Crop Over Festival & Juve, and the role Carnival plays in the daily lives of Caribbean people socially, economically, and spiritually. This research will inform a feature film script she is creating focused on Carnival’s connection to Caribbean Spirituality as many have lost touch with this connection, culminating in a short documentary that explores this generation’s disconnect or strong connection to the traditions of our ancestors.
Philipp intends to create a body of work that will explore the idea of identity in Barbados using site specific research, combining ethnographical field work with cultural history and community engagement. On the one hand, his work will focus on investigating communal history, such Barbados’ colonial past, cultural heritage, traditions and historical figures, as well as local people as key figures in today’s community, all contributing to a unique system of meaning. He wishes to raise the question of what makes identity; how is identity linked to heritage or geographical location, and how can we capture the ambiguity of reality, question the definition of identity and raise discussions about what the future of identity is.
About Chelsea Odufu:
Often considered a renaissance woman, Chelsea Odufu is a filmmaker and art activist whose mission is to use art as a tool to regenerate positive and empowering images of Blackness on screen. A Newark, New Jersey native with Guyanese and Nigerian roots, Chelsea’s work focuses on narratives that explore the complex Black identity while portraying issues such as colorism, the stigmas of Black spirituality, gender and sexuality. Chelsea previously worked at MTV, Nickelodeon, Universal Music Group and with many popular artists such as Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, Vashtie, but found her true love is narrative filmmaking.
Upon graduating from New York University’s esteemed Tisch School of The Arts as a Martin Luther King scholar, due to her proven academic excellence, leadership abilities, and passion for social justice, Chelsea hit the ground running with the creation of her film Ori Inu: In Search of Self with her brother Emann. This film has screened in over 7 countries including Paris, Berlin, Guyana, St.Lucia, London, US, Canada Finland to name a few, and over 15 film festivals. Articles about the film have been featured on NBC News, Huffington Post, Afropunk, Saint Heron, OkayAfrica and many more. The creation of Ori Inu film merged with her passion for social justice and community development launched her speaking career in 2015. Since then, Chelsea has spoken at universities such as Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, Columbia, Vassar, NYU, Wesleyan giving speeches, leading artistic interactive discussions and workshops centered around identity, Black representation in film and TV, Afrofuturism and her latest film Ori Inu: In Search of Self.
Shortly after graduation Chelsea was offered a job by honorary Oscar award winning filmmaker Spike Lee to work on a number of his projects including Chi-Raq and recently on his new Netflix series She’s Gotta Have it. She also recently directed and produced content for Cadillac General Motors Diversity. Chelsea’s work as an art activist encourages people to be proud of their cultural roots and to stand firm in their truth.
About Philipp Pieroth:
Philipp Pieroth is a German-born artist who works in drawing, painting and murals. His practice explores the non-stop connectivity between humans experienced in daily life, and how this challenges our individual position and impacts our ability to form genuine connections with others. These social formations, personal interrelation, intimate affairs and environmental determinations are a subject of constant overthinking for Philipp, and he aims to shift our collective consciousness and perception as a constellation of social beings, rethinking our presence, or Dasein in this world and how we relate to one another.
Philipp lives and works between Berlin, Germany and Johannesburg, South Africa. His solo exhibitions have included: 2016 – Dasein, AGOG Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Represantation by Gavin Project, Johannesburg, South Africa; Care, Guguletu, Capetown, South Africa; Concept of Hope, Khayelitsha, Capetown, South Africa and number of mural projects throughout Accra, Ghana; 2015 – Saudade, Inhaca, Mosambik and Same Wall, Different Space Woodstock (Mural), Side Street Studios, Capetown, South Africa; 2013 – A number of murals throughout Taghazout, Morocco; 2012 – Der STöR in der Pappelreihe, Pappelreihe, Berlin, among many others.