Student Filmmaker Lance Margarett O. Panes DRC’23 on Working with Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Internationally renowned artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed is the 2021-2022 Douglass Artist-in-Residence. The program is a unique collaboration between Mason Gross School of the Arts and Douglass’ new Faculty Fellows initiative, which brings cutting-edge professionals to campus to work hands-on with Douglass students. Rasheed’s workshops and seminars offer a cohort of Douglass artists a direct path to art, scholarship, and activism. For student artist and filmmaker Lance Margarett O. Panes DRC’23, working with Rasheed has been a dynamic experience that empowers her creativity and encourages her artistic passions across a variety of mediums.
“My experience working with Kameelah has always been welcoming and enriching. Her workshops include writing poems, drawing, and playing music,” Panes said. “Kameelah always makes the workshops a safe and brave space for us to play, be creative, and connect with one another in every activity.”
Based in New York City, Rasheed is primarily known for working with text across physical and digital mediums. Her work often incorporates social justice themes. In addition to her artwork, Rasheed is the author of two artist’s books, An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019) and No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019). She is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts as well as the founder of Mapping the Spirit, an artistic project that chronicles Black spirituality in the United States, and of Orange Tangent Study, a creative firm.
Rasheed’s experience and mentorship has been impactful for many Douglass artists, including Panes, who is already an accomplished student filmmaker. In spring 2021, Panes worked alongside an anthropology professor on a short documentary featuring a flower shop in her hometown as it served the community during the pandemic. Panes went on to create an experimental video for an art residency at Gardenship Arts in Kearny, New Jersey the following summer. By working with Rasheed, Panes enjoys space to reflect upon her previous art, refine her personal creative process, and expand her horizons for future projects.
For Panes, Rasheed’s philosophy of play, openness, and collaboration has helped her re-frame the concepts of art and creativity.
“When I was young, I thought of art as a means to play—I remember experimenting with mixing my mother's food colorings when she would bake cakes! However, as I got older, the meaning of art changed and became narrow,” she said. “I started associating art with perfection which in turn paralyzed me from starting anything creative. In her workshops, Kameelah redefined the meaning of art by making play and collaboration key to creativity. As I move forward with exploring my interest in filmmaking and other modalities, I'm hoping to make play and collaboration a part of my creative projects.”
Panes looks forward to continuing her work with Kameelah as part of the cohort this spring. She is excited to explore different mediums and deeply values the connections she has made in class with her Douglass peers.
“My experience with Kameelah has helped me broaden my perspective in so many ways, including how we connect with each other,” said Panes. “Without the participation, guidance, and creativity of my peers and mentors, I wouldn't have been able to create such beautiful things that are now out in the world. This spring, I'm excited to play, learn, and grow with my classmates–and create and share many beautiful things along the way.”