In Whale Rider, a Maori village faces a crisis when the heir to the leadership of the Ngati Konohi dies at birth and is survived only by his twin sister, Pai. Although disregarded by her grandfather and shunned by the village, twelve-year-old Pai remains certain of her calling and trains herself in the ways and customs of her people.
At the dawn of the twentieth century, a multigenerational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina—former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions—struggle to maintain their heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland. This acclaimed film was the first wide release by a black female filmmaker.
IMAGE: Rodney McMillian, 44.8617° N, 93.5606° W: coordinates to an ascension (detail), 2018. Latex, acrylic, ink, and paper on duck cloth. 41 feet 6 inches x 36 feet 5 inches. Commissioned by The Contemporary Austin, with funds provided by the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize. Installation view, Rodney McMillian: Against a Civic Death, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center on Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas, 2018. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Courtesy the artist, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Maccarone, New York. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Colin Doyle.