A still from Martine Syms’s The African Desperate (2022). Courtesy of Dominica Inc.

Martine Syms’s Debut Feature Film ‘The African Desperate’ is an Art-World Satirical Masterpiece

MARTINE SYMS is an artist who has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary.

Martine Syms is a celebrated artists and has shown extensively including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and ICA London. She has also done commissioned work for brands such as Prada, Nike, and Celine, among others. She is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award, a United States Artists fellowship, the Tiffany Foundation award, and the Future Fields Art Prize. She is in a band called Aunt Sister and hosts Double Penetration, a monthly radio show on NTS. She also runs Dominica Publishing.

So why not add Filmmaker to her list of talents.

Syms’s feature film debut (aka masterpiece) ‘The African Desperate’ follows artist Palace Bryant (Diamond Stingily) on one very long day in 2017 that starts with her MFA graduation from a white liberal arts college in upstate New York and ends at a Chicago Blue Line Station. Set against the lush backdrop of late summer, Palace navigates the pitfalls of self-actualization and the fallacies of the art world. Shot through with Syms’s celebrated conceptual grit, humor, social commentary, and vivid visual language, The African Desperate leads us on an intimate and riotously funny journey through picturesque landscapes and artists studios, from academic critiques to backseat hookups, and from the night of a wild graduation party to the morning of a lonely trip back home.

Written and directed by Martine Syms and starring artist Diamond Stingily, The African Desperate is co-written by Rocket Caleshu and edited by Nicole Otero with cinematography by Daisy Zhou and an original score by Aunt Sister, Colin Self, and Ben Babbit. The film is now streaming on Mubi.

All content courtesy and copyright of Martine Syms.

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