Moore College of Art & Design
Introduced by Helen Haynes, Interim Director of Exhibitions and Programs, African American Museum in Philadelphia
Conjure Women is an exciting performance-based documentary exploring the artistry and philosophy of four African American female artists. Celebrated choreographer and dancer Anita Gonzalez was a founding member of and performer with Urban Bush Women and is now Artistic Director of Bandana Women. Robbie McCauley is a critically-acclaimed performance artist and theater director whose personal vision has consistently explored the 'herstory' of Black women. The stunning photography of Carrie Mae Weems captures a variety of images of African Americans. Vocalist and composer Cassandra Wilson (Grammy award winner for Best Jazz Vocalist) has released nine recordings of her work and was acclaimed in the New York Times as "the most important singer to come along in jazz in the last ten years." These four artists use their disciplines to reclaim their 'africanisms', an intuitive experience of what their foreparents had to deny if they were to survive. Conjure Women is a moving and entertaining record of the work of these remarkable women. It is also, as filmmaker Demetria Royals notes, "telling the story of African Americans in our own distinct and self-defined voices." 85 minutes
Helen Haynes is the Interim Director of Exhibitions and Programs with the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Prior to this she was the Director of Creative Philadelphia — City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, which manages and oversees City arts programs, is the steward of the largest and oldest public art program in the country, provides services to artists and arts organizations and serves as the primary point of municipal contact for the arts and cultural community.
Helen has spent the last 40 years as an artist, arts administrator, advocate, and educator. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, and attended the Harvard Institute for Arts Administration in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1976. She has served as the Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs at Montgomery County Community College for twelve years, and previously served as the Managing Director for Full Circle Theatre, at Temple University and the director of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts.