Poetics of Relation: The Open Boat


Billy Gerard Frank, born in Grenada is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and founder of the Nova Frontier Film Festival and Multi-disciplinary Lab.

Artist Bio

Poetics of Relation: The Open Boat is loosely based on the book Poetics of Relation by the French Caribbean writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant. The film takes poetic liberty at expanding on Glissant’s elusive prose as a metaphor and framework to contest and reflect on current-day migrant experiences; the violence of displacement through the eyes of multiple characters and scenarios. Capturing Glissant’s life (Paris in the 1960s), exiled from his natal country Martinique because of political reasons, he experiences his home through dreams; the prism of long-buried fragments of childhood memories. Souleymane, a newly arrived Ivorian migrant in Paris, navigates his budding queer discoveries in the city with Lucien, an MFA film student making a documentary about Glissant’s life. Souleymane grows torn between his Muslim background and his sexuality. Mame-Fatou Niang, a single woman in her late 30s, and Lucien’s professor of African studies at Sorbonne Université, is in a contentious relationship with her younger sister, Aya, a Hip-Hop singer grappling with issues of identity and belonging who is estranged from her traditional Muslim parents. These are just a few of the interconnected narratives the film weaves, documenting errantry tales illuminating the plights of disparate lives from different races and classes at a trajectory, caught in the maelstrom of survival, resistance, love, and global political consternation.

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Shot In the Artist studio in the Elizabeth Foundation for The Arts by Producer LaurenBeck

Billy Gerard Frank

Brooklyn, New York

Billy Gerard Frank received the Creative Capital Award in 2024. Billy Gerard Frank, born in Grenada, West Indies, is an artist, filmmaker, educator, and founder of the Nova Frontier Film Festival and Multi-disciplinary Lab, showcasing and incubating the works of filmmakers and artists from and about the Global African Diaspora, The Middle East, and Latin America. His mixed-media artworks and films have been exhibited and screened in group and solo shows in museums, institutions, and international film festivals, winning awards. Frank’s works address issues of migration, race, and global politics, relating to gender, minority status, and post-colonial subjects. His mixed-media artworks and films have been exhibited and screened in group and solo shows in museums, institutions, and international film festivals, winning awards. He represented Grenada at The 58th La Biennale di Venezia 2019 and has the honor of being one of the artists in the collective representing Grenada in the 2022 La Biennale once again. Frank currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.