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Spelman Professor Emeritus Arturo Lindsay Debuts Art Congo Film

August 2023

Arturo Lindsay RetiresThe documentary film, “Arte Congo... artists journey on the congo coast of panama,” by Spelman College Professor Emeritus Arturo Lindsay, D.A., will be screened on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 3:30 p.m., at the Fulton County Southwest Art Center’s Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Lindsay, a prominent international artist who taught at Spelman College from 1992 until 2015, wrote, directed and narrates “Arte Congo…,” his first full-length documentary film. An official selection of the Bronze Lens Film Festival, the film profiles Dr. Lindsay’s return to his hometown of Colon after the US. Invasion of Panama in1989 when he travelled to help Panamanians find their way out of the devastation wrought by the Neo-colonial attack. 

Once there, Dr. Lindsay met renowned photographer Sandra Eleta and artist Virgilio “Yaneca” Esquina and together they set up an art workshop at Taller Portobelo. The Taller also inspired Dr. Lindsay to found the Spelman College Summer Art Colony where, for over a decade Spelman College and other U.S. based students traveled to discover the beauty of Panama’s lush tropical geography, the richness of the vibrant Afro-Panamanian culture and to explore their own artistic skills.

Together with famed Congo artists such as Ariel “Pajarito” Jimenez, Virgilio “Titto” Esquina, Manuel “Tatú” Golden and Gustavo Esquina de la Espada, who developed their craft at Taller Portobel; acclaimed U.S. artists such as Amy Sherald, Calida Rawls and Fahamu Pecou, among many others, also developed formative elements of their distinctive styles in Panama. 

Dr. Lindsay, who trained in anthropology as well as art, explores the essence of Congo art and culture as he outlines the African historical origins of the Pan-African communities of Panama with eminent scholars such as Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Gerardo Maloney, Sheila Walker and Renée Alexander Craft to reveal the retentions, rediscoveries and reinventions that animate the spirit of the Congos of Panama.  

About the Film

“Arte Congo…” is an intimate and informative film about the origins and rise to prominence of a distinctive group of artists and about the strength of an people who overcome poverty, deprivation, and disparagement to achieve respect and admiration in Panama and the world. 

Dr. Lindsay worked on “Arte Congo…” in tandem with his long-time creative and technical collaborator, Dan Bascelli, of the Comprehensive Writing Program at Spelman College who was the videographer and editor of the film.

Watch the “Arte Congo …” Trailer

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