The Barefoot Artist 2015
Distributed by Film Movement
Directed by Glenn Holsten and Daniel Traub
DVD, color, 88 min.
Art, Biography, Design, Family Relations, Grief, History, War
Date Entered: 10/23/2017Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
Born in China and raised in Taiwan, Lily Yeh is an artist who brings creativity and beauty to troubled areas of the world. First as an artist-in-residence at the Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia and later as the founder of Barefoot Artists., Inc., a non-profit organization, Yeh developed a methodology for using the arts as a tool for community healing and individual transformation. Her murals, sculptures, and gardens are located in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. Highlighted projects include those in Rwanda, Kenya, India, and China. The film, co-directed by her son Daniel, chronicles Yeh’s professional growth as an artist. Linked to that development is a more intimate family narrative in which the artist returns to China to make amends to a family her father left behind following World War II.
Sensitively photographed and expertly edited, this reflective essay on the professional accomplishments and personal story of an innovative and inspirational artist succeeds on both counts. Interviews, along with recent as well as archival photographs and video footage seamlessly tie Yeh’s work and methodology to her own life experiences.