The Life and Art of Grenadian Artist and Filmmaker Billy Gerard Frank

The Life and Art of Grenadian Artist and Filmmaker Billy Gerard Frank

It is not easy to work with history and memory, probably because these two concepts exist in such a strained relationship. While history is traditionally written by the so-called “victors,” memories are often questioned and not seen as valuable, especially when it comes to memories that have the potential to destabilize the existing status quo. The Grenadian artist and filmmaker Billy Gerard Frank is a master of extracting narratives that might not have been seen and heard otherwise from under the layers of lost history.

The Life and Art of Grenadian Artist and Filmmaker Billy Gerard Frank

Originally from Grenada, West Indies, Billy Gerard Frank moved to London as a teenager. While this was where he discovered his interest in contemporary experimental art, he had a passion for all things beautiful and artistic since childhood. Later, Frank moved to New York where he became an assistant and student of the famous American painter John Hultberg.

Today, Billy Gerard Frank’s art is featured in the permanent collections of multiple museums and institutions. The artist also represented his home country, Grenada, at the international art festival Venice Biennale twice. Besides, Frank is a lecturer in the Directing and Design program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.

The Life and Art of Grenadian Artist and Filmmaker Billy Gerard FrankBilly Gerard Frank’s artistic approach is best described as research-based. For example, he often incorporates objects like pictures and historical archives into his mixed-media pieces. For one of his latest projects, “Indigo: Entanglements,” he combined self-made natural indigo pigment, which played a significant role in the history of the enslavement of African peoples, logos of institutions that directly benefited from the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and objects like shells and traditional African woodcuts. The project continued the long line of research-based artworks the talented Grenada artist has created through the years to show the complexity of this historical period.

Considering the fact that Billy Gerard Frank’s mixed-media art and films often deal with issues of exile, immigration, and identity, as well as his passion for activism and education, it is only logical he would want to give others the opportunity to share their own stories with the world. In 2016, the artist became one of the founders of Nova Frontier Film Festival & Lab, a project that seeks to empower the voices of filmmakers and artists of African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American heritage.

Billy Gerard Frank is an artist worth keeping your eyes on. 300Magazine is sincerely looking forward to what he has in store for the future.

Photo courtesy of Billy Gerard Frank