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Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts

Artist Bill Traylor lived his entire life in Alabama at a time of tremendous change. Born into slavery, Traylor’s life spanned the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration. Working as a farmer until physically unable to do so any longer, it wasn’t until his late 80s that he took up drawing and painting on discarded cardboard he found in the streets of Montgomery. Over the last decade of his life, he rendered in paint and pencil a unique and masterful chronicle of his life and the experiences of fellow African Americans. Incorporating personal reflections on Traylor’s art by cultural figures such as writer and musician Greg Tate, Smithsonian curator Leslie Umberger, and art historian Richard J. Powell, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts also employs archival photographs and footage, insightful perspectives from his descendants, and Traylor’s striking drawings and paintings to reveal one of America’s most important artists and chroniclers of a lost, yet staggeringly momentous time. (Jeffrey Woolf, 2018, 72 minutes) 

07/21/2021