Robert Shetterly, political artist and former president of the Union of Maine Visual Artists, and his project, Americans Who Tell the Truth: Models of Courageous Citizenship have become the subject of the latest episode in the Maine Masters film series directed by Richard Kane. The film is entitled Truth Tellers.
The film project was launched November 27, 2018 to document events surrounding the first time that Shetterly’s full collection of 238 portraits was displayed in public. The exhibit, running through December 14, 2018, is sponsored by Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship Tanner Lecture series. The November 29th lecture was comprised of a panel which included Shetterly and two of his subjects: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, of Flint, Michigan, the whistle blower who sounded the alarm about the high presence of lead in Flint’s drinking water; and Richard Bowen who blew the whistle on Citibank’s fraudulent subprime mortgage practices that helped lead to the US financial crisis of 2008.
According to film director Kane, “One of Rob’s greatest contributions is how he models what Americans can do now to effect change. He gives us the confidence to act. People don’t have to stand by while the climate wreaks havoc on our planet.”
The film will bring new and wider attention to the importance of speaking truth to power, to have the courage to build a society where all people are respected, where hatred is rejected, where embracing diversity is the source of our strength.
Rob quotes Frederick Douglass, one of his first portraits:
“Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong that will be imposed on them.”
This is the principle, the principle of moral courage, that runs throughout the struggle against slavery, against racism, for women’s rights, for workers rights, for indigenous rights, against child labor, for gender rights, for environmental rights. It is our common humanity, our common dignity that will bring us together to fight for the rights and survival of all species.
The film is slated to be completed Winter 2020. We will be raising the money through January 2019 and will continue shooting throughout the year. If we are able to raise the funds quickly, the film is slated to be completed and in wide distribution six months before the 2020 presidential election.
If you are able to support this project financially, please send your tax deductible contribution to:
- UMVA c/o Jackie Bennett,Treasurer
- PO Box 51
- Walpole, ME 04573
(Please indicate Shetterly on memo line of check)