WATCH - Home Use


artist Hershell West standing in front of some of his art work

The Artist in Society: Talking with Hershell West

This one hour documentary looks at San Francisco Bay Area artist/muralist Hershell West to discover his art, the ways in which artists contribute to society, and the value of public art. Adding special interest, West, a black man, was born and raised in the segregated rural South, giving him special challenges.

Defying the expectations of family and society, West obtained an MFA in fine arts from the University of South Florida where, in addition to painting canvases and murals, he engaged in outreach in the arts for the university. Later, he moved to California where he soon found himself painting, teaching art, and working as chief assistant to well-known muralist John Wehrle.

West has executed his own commissions while continuing to collaborate with others. He has taught at-risk youth, chaired the board of directors of organizations such as the Richmond Art Center and ProArts of Oakland, and helped found an annual exhibit called TAOLB (The Art of Living Black). Now in semi-retirement, he has had a long and meaningful career.

"...compelling documentary.... a heroic community figure." T. Keogh (for Video Librarian)

"... Profound...." Andrew Koval for EMRO (Educational Media On-line)

"...[provides] an enriched sense of why public art matters." Paul N. Straghalis ( Albany (CA) Public Library)

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Other Documentaries Related to the Black Experience

Masters of Rhythm, the Afro-Peruvian Way

Masters of Rhythm the Afro-Peruvian Way aired over national PBS in the United States, screened in eight countries on four continents, and won awards in the USA and Germany. A natural outgrowth of Ma's earlier documentary about Afro-Peruvians, it features lively music (including two original compositions) and shows off a fancy footwork dance form called Afro-Peruvian zapateo (done in friendly completition where each dancer tries to out-perform the other).

The 30-minute documentary is accompanied by several interesting extras. In one, Juan de Dios Soto cooks an Afro-Peruvian dish called carapulcra. In another, Lalo Izquierdo demonstrates rhythms from the days of slavery, rhythms which Africans used to communicate over long distances in a form of "talking drums." Even another extra shows how currently, Caribbean influences are coming into the Afro-Peruvian tradition. And in even another, Izquierdo explains more about how zapateo was performed in the "old days" when it was even more complex and demanding than today.

"...Highly recommended. C. Bloch (for Video Librarian)

"...a rare and delightful glimpse...." John Santos (seven time Grammy nomimee, US Artists Fontanals Fellow)

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A Zest for Life: Afro-Peruvian Rhythms, a Source of Latin Jazz

This is the first documentary I made about Afro-Peruvians. It focuses on the dance, and on the history of the Afro-Peruvian community. One hour long, it screened in four festivals and was runner-up for the prize of Best Documentary in the San Diego Black Film Festival. It has also been broadcast over individual PBS stations.

A Zest for Life stars Lalo Izquierdo, who is one of the three principals in Masters of Rhythm; in fact, it was Izquierdo's talent, chrisma, and knoweldge of the history and culture of his community, and willingness to participate in another project which led me to make additional trips to Peru to film Masters of Rhythm. In A Zest for Life, Izquierdo is ably complimented by singer-songwriter Jorge Luis Jasso, by bassist Vladimir Vukanovich, by the performing group de Rompe y Raja, and others.

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"...a vivid demonstration...that...Afro-Peruvian music and culture [are] ... exciting and dynamic...." Wayne Wallace, (3 times Grammy nominated jazz trombonist)

"...satisfying...good educational tool..." Troy Bedford (for Anthropology Review)

"Constructed simply and elegantly." Prof. Umi Vaughn (Cal Stat Univ. Monterey Bay)

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Rasaki's Drums and the rich rhythms of Nigeria's Yorubá

Rasaki Aladokun, a man with an infectious laugh, comes from a traditional Nigerian drumming family. He is Yorubá, one of the principal ethnic groups in Nigeria.

As an adult, he toured the world with the band of fellow Nigerian King Sunny Adé ("King of Juju Music") before settling down with his wife and children in Oakland, California.

Rasaki shows us how his rhythms and drums fit into the society and culture in which he was raised. It is worth noting that the Yorubá have also influenced America. Many African Americans have Yorubá roots, while in some Latin American countries, an even larger part of the population is descended from Yorubá and the traditional religion that Rasaki follows is practiced (with some modifications) by many people.

"A must-see for percussionists and people interested in African Music." Martin Meisonnier, founder of Island Records, promoter, playright.

"...highly captivating." Prof. Jeleel Ojuade, Vice-Chancelor, Ojaja University, Nigeria

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Other - general merch

MUSIC ALBUM - Sweet & Low: surprising music by musicians from around the world

The music album Sweet & Low compliments our documentaries about world music, dance, and culture including our four focused on African Americans, Afro-Peruvians, and Africans (Yorubá). With 15 tracks, there is a full one hour of music - but this is not your standard music album.

All of the music on this album is instrumental except for the final track, by a musician from Ghana, and several of the tracks come from the documentaries featured here. In addition, there numbers related to our documentary about Spanish flamenco and others. This is an album for those quieter moments, so - sit back and enjoy!

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MUGS - diversity cups

Our special, one-of-a-kind, Palomino Productions' Diversity cup! Bright, colorful, with scenes from our films, this cup shows that you value and enjoy ethnic and cultural diversity, and that you also love movies. Who doesn't?


Palomino Productions
P.O. Box 8565
Berkeley, CA., 94707, USA
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