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THE WORK...

A filmmaker, a sculptor, and an anthropologist form a guild of griots to travel the nation archiving the stories black men tell of masks and life meaning. They are creating an installation space and a film for healthy listening and learning through visual, experiential, and ritualistic wholeness for black men that includes a Salon Dinner Party in each city.  The dinner series curated by Hall and the table sculpture shaped by Suber centers the conversation around a documentary directed by Ellison, UnMASKulinity, debuting next year.

salon |səˈlän| | noun 

A salon dinner party is traditionally a gathering of people invited by a host to provoke enjoyment and learning. Black men can be worn and often wounded by the friction that kneads against uncharted movement they make in life. The culture of this dinner is safely rooted in a deconstructive ease to rest and laugh and eat. 

The day after filming in each city (the guild of griots) Marlon, Anthony, and Brian will host a dinner conversation in a local context that brings together a hornets nest of 16- cross-pollinating black men to create an ecology of listening and learning. At a long table the guild made by hand using reclaimed wood from Marlon’s grandmother’s home, they will deepen their research of the masks black men wear while offering a meal rich with rituals of renewal. 

Original musical composition, a resident culinary artist, and intentionally designed conversation experiences drive a night of wonder shared by black men who are different but share a heart for healing and new vision. Curated by Marlon’s anthropological design, these gatherings become pathways that explore human story and possibility.

The group, along with other experts in the arts and education, will create a curriculum to accompany the dinner series. The curriculum will act as a vehicle to empower communities to continue the conversation long after the dinner is over.