African Brushstrokes

A visual and musical celebration of the collaborative spirit. The film follows three Vancouver-based artists from very different backgrounds on a grueling but intensely gratifying cultural exchange tour of West Africa.

directed by: David Pettigrew
produced by: David Pettigrew
(1997) 57 minutes

African Brushstrokes is a visual and musical celebration of the collaborative spirit. The film follows three Vancouver-based artists from very different backgrounds – Claude Pommier, Alberto Cerritos, and Thomas Anfield, all members of Arts in Action – on a gruelling but intensely gratifying cultural exchange tour of West Africa. The Canadian artists visited five countries: Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. In each, they mounted exhibitions of their own work and work by eleven other Canadians, met with local artists, and collaborated in the creation of dynamic public murals. Songs recorded in each of the five countries visited are included in the soundtrack. Some of the regions’ finest visual artists are introduced, including Cameroon sculptor Pascal Kenfack and Senegalese muralist Papisto Boy. African Brushstrokes paints a colourful portrait of a region with one of the richest and most vibrant cultures in the world, and reminds us of art’s unique capacity to transcend national borders and speak across cultural differences.

”I hope the film will serve to demystify media mages of Africa as a drought- and war-stricken continent. Through the eyes of Canadian and African artists, we experience the wealth that both cultures bring to each other when there is a desire to work together in a place of common understanding.” -David Pettigrew