Skip to content

The Seeing: a video exhibition scored by Daniel Bernard Roumain in the gallery

“The Seeing” is a month-long video exhibition produced through a creative partnership between FirstWorks and WaterFire Providence of six film works scored by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). On view in the WaterFire Arts Center gallery from Wednesday, January 12 through Sunday, February 6, 2022. A public opening is scheduled for Thursday, January 20, from 7-9 pm. <<Join the live-streamed Town Hall conversation on Facebook Live with Daniel Bernard Roumain on January 20 at 7:30 pm>>

The WaterFire Arts Center store + gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN (DBR)
ARTIST STATEMENT


The Seeing is a collection of films that are all related to our willingness to hear, understand, and love one another. Can we see each other? Of course, for so many, division and hatred is what is heard and understood, and hatred fills our screens and airwaves as it surrounds and drowns our communities into a chasm of despair. We are a country bound and divided by race, and these films take a clear-eyed view of race in America and how it unfolds for so many BIPOC people worldwide. The titles of these films reveal the intention of my work with an array of talented and brilliant film makers, from Yoram Savion to Dana Greenfield to Carlos Toro and others, all in deep collaboration. As a Black man in America, I am well aware of the trope of the being caught, in a frame, in a lethal pas de deux with law enforcement, hoping and praying to live.

There have been times when I have been afraid and feared for my life. These films speak to fear, but just as boldly, they speak to all of us seeking truth, justice, and a better American way—aren’t we better than this?

“The Seeing” includes the following film works:

“THEY STILL WANT TO KILL US”
Composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Mezzo-soprano: J’Nai Bridges
Directed and edited by Yoram Savion
Director of photography: Sam Wolff
Produced by Sozo
Run time: 04:30

Presented by Sozo Creative, in partnership with arts institutions from across the US, the short film “They Still Want To Kill Us” marked the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. It speaks truth to what transpired in 1921 at the Tulsa Race Massacre, an atrocity all but deleted from history until recently. The work’s premiere marked one year since the murder of George Floyd: a commentary on our progress this last century on the issue of race and America’s treatment of Black life.

“They Still Want To Kill Us,” is commissioned by the Apollo Theater, Opera Philadelphia, the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Capital One City Parks Foundation Summer Stage Anywhere, Joe’s Pub, Stanford Live, University Musical Society at the University of Michigan, Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Creative Alliance, Bill Bragin, and Washington Performing Arts with support from National Sawdust and the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation.  

“I HAVE NOTHING TO DO EXCEPT LOVE”
Composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Libretto, vocals, and piano by Minna Choi
Directed, edited, and libretto by Dana Greenfield; with words from Simone Roumain
Cinematography by Sam Wolff
Dance and choreography by Sarah Bolander
Project management by Sozo Artists
Run time: 05:46

Commissioned, developed, and produced by PROTOTYPE: Opera | Theatre | Now.

“ABOUT FACE”
Spoken word poetry by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Score by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Performed and choreographed by Drew Dollaz
Directed, filmed and edited by Yoram Savion
Produced by Rika Iino and Melissa Higgins | Sozo
Run time: 06:14

ABOUT FACE is the first of a 3-part short film series that puts a different spin on the school to prison pipeline and the role of fathers of black and brown children in the disruption of that paradigm. Based on original spoken word poetry by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and directed by YAK Films, ABOUT FACE features choreographer, dancer and actor Drew Dollaz and musical score by Daniel Bernard Roumain.

“FEAR”
Directed by Yoram Savion
Spoken word poetry by Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Score by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Director of photography: Gabrielle Blackwood
Produced by Rika Iino, Melissa Higgins and Yoram Savion | Sozo
Run time: 07:53

FEAR features American writer, spoken word artist, and activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph alongside a Kingston, Jamaica-based cast and is the second film in the trilogy The Just and the Blind. The Jamaican cast and crew “make powerful statements about patriarchy, the deadly menace of readily available weapons, and police violence — which all too often escalate already toxic situations,” explains Savion. “While all three of these films can stand on their own, the holistic architecture is to trace backward through the African diaspora — from Oakland, to Kingston, and finally Dakar (Senegal).”

“REQUIEM, FOR THE LIVING, IN COLOR”
Score by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Film by Steer (Steerforward.com)
Produced by FirstWorks, premiered at PVDFest 2020
Run time: 30:03

Responding to the realities of creating as people of color during these unprecedented times, multimedia artist Carlos Andres Toro and composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain collaborate on a live-streamed cinematic journey in film and in sound. As two proud sons of immigrant families of the diaspora between island nations and North America, Toro and Roumain marry their complex, fluid creative practices into a singular, seamless collaboration. Combining bold, dramatic imagery with a string and beat-based score, “Requiem for the Living, In Color” addresses the realities of living in modern-day America, where the inherent worth of black and brown bodies and souls requires impassioned pleas for their basic humanity to be recognized. This collaborative performance reveals life, loss, and an enduring legacy of hope.

“OUR COUNTRY”
Score by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Performed and Choreographed by Drew Dollaz
Film by Steer (Steerforward.com)
Cinematography by Sam Wolff
Produced by FirstWorks
Run time: 03:31

Our Country, originally commissioned and filmed by FirstWorks, premiered at FirstWorks Urban Carnevale on December 30, 2020. This collaborative work combines DBR’s reinterpretation of My Country ‘Tis of Thee as the score to Dollaz’ choreography and performance in this work that addresses police brutality.

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) is a prolific and endlessly collaborative composer, performer, and activist. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR has worked with artists from Philip Glass to Bill T. Jones to Lady Gaga; appeared on NPR, American Idol, and ESPN; and has collaborated with the Sydney Opera House and served for two years as FirstWorks Artistic Ambassador. Acclaimed as a violinist and activist, DBR’s career spans more than two decades, earning commissions by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. Known for his signature violin sounds infused with myriad electronic, urban, and African-American music influences, he has composed chamber, orchestral, and operatic works and created large scale, site-specific musical events for public spaces. danielroumain.com

About FirstWorks

FirstWorks is a non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island whose purpose is to build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging diverse audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Since 2004, FirstWorks festivals, performances and programs have attracted more than 600,000 participants. Last season, FirstWorks arts education programs reached over 5,500 students from public and charter schools across Rhode Island with transformative, arts-based learning experiences. FirstWorks is the founding partner of PVDFest, collaborating with the City of Providence to produce the City’s free signature arts celebration since 2015. In 2019 PVDFest drew 130,000 visitors to Providence to experience music, art and spectacular performances. Embracing collaboration, FirstWorks has fostered over 90 community partnerships across business, social service, government, arts, and education sectors. Visit http://first-works.org to learn more.

NEW DATE FOR RELATED EVENT: “The Telling” is an extraordinary multimedia performance by renowned composer, violinist and activist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). Originally scheduled for Saturday, January 22, this live performance is rescheduled to Thursday, September 29, 2022 to open FirstWorks’ fall season. The producers have prioritized the health of audience members and artists during the current high community transmission of COVID-19, while affirming the healing power of the arts. Visit firstworks.org for details.


About the author

+ posts by author

Over the last 10+ years, alongside some incredible co-workers and volunteers, I've worked to build the organization that WaterFire Providence is today. As Director of Creative Services, my team and I work on visual communications, graphic design, the visitor experience, merchandising as well as project management for programming at the WaterFire Arts Center. Being a part of the 'Rhode Island' experience for tens of thousands of people is incredible and I have an intense pride in place for both Downtown Providence and the Valley neighborhood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

X