BAR HARBOR — Director Richard Kane and artist, poet and illustrator Ashley Bryan will attend a screening of the award-winning documentary film “I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan” in the Gates Community Center at College of the Atlantic on Wednesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. The free event, sponsored by the COA Diverse Voices Series, will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
“I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan” (2016) was directed by Kane in collaboration with Robert Shetterly and Melody Lewis-Kane.
Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Bryan’s talent was nurtured by artist Romare Bearden. He was drafted out of Cooper Union into the segregated United States army at age 19, serving in an all-black battalion during World War II and preserving his humanity by drawing, stowing supplies in his gas mask. Bryan has used art his entire life to celebrate joy, mediate the darkness of war and racism, explore the mysteries of faith and create loving community.
The film explores Bryan’s world from the time his father “was given the mop and the broom” (a reference to the famous Gordon Parks photograph), as Bryan quotes Marian Anderson, admonishing that “to keep another down you have to hold them down, and therefore cannot … soar to the potential within you,” and as he spreads beauty through his linocut prints exhorting “Let My People Go.” His life story and the art he makes from this wellspring of experience are an inspiration to people of all ages.
Bryan makes his home on Little Cranberry Island, and the primary school serving the Cranberry Islands bears his name.
“I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan” is the winner of The Hector Leonardi Art & Inspiration Award from The Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival and was an official selection of the 2017 Harlem International Film Festival, the 2016 Maine International Film Festival and many others. Visit ashleybryanfilms.org.