Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts is an inventive feature documentary capturing the vivid life of Bill Traylor, who in his late 80s, living homeless on the street in the thriving segregated black neighborhood of Montgomery, produced a body of extraordinary art. Born into an enslaved family in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama, he witnessed profound social and political change during his life spanning Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration. In his later years, he poured out those memories from within, drawing and painting over 1,000 pieces of art from 1939 to 1942. Using historic and cultural context, the film brings the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life and shines a spotlight to a remarkable creative gift that was long ignored and marginalized.

“…in Traylor, we can see the power of individual voice…the work is transcendent and essential.” — Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine

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Apr 22 2021


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