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Against the grain: Dominique Seward

May. 31, 2017
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Art moves us, changes us, inspires us, shapes the way we think about life,  people, and ourselves. But unfortunately, in an American society where capitalism taints nearly every aspect of life, we have been taught that anything that does not consistently produce a high monetary return or guarantee great financial success is seen as a waste of time. That’s what British literary theorist Terry Eagleton meant when he said “[c]apitalism is at once far too rational, trusting in nothing that it cannot weigh and measure, and far too little as well, accumulating wealth as an end in itself.”  But what about those gifts that burn inside of us, the things that we can’t deny about what make us who we are?   

This is a series on female artists--young women who have chosen to be who they are in a society which often fails to appreciate artistic creativity and drive. This is a story about women who are conscious of the world around them and bravely share their thoughts and experiences in hopes of reaching and impacting others. These women are just like you and me: human. Yet somehow, they manage to conquer their fears, rise above the external and internal pressure they face and push against the grain, causing shifts in the culture we live in and lighting sparks in a broken world.  

Dominique Seward is a visionary documentary filmmaker. She challenges the structures of our society in hopes of bringing awareness and changing hearts. She utilizes her voice to speak for those who are often neglected and cast down, and issues that underride the surface of our daily lives—homelessness, sickness, domestic violence, to name a few. Her art speaks of passion and pain, life, and grit. As an artist she is fierce, and bold--unapologetic. As a person, she is kind, bubbly, and introspective, exuding a genuine radiance of love.  

Q: How old are you?

A: 25.

Q: Where were you born? 

A: Miami Florida, a large town about 25 miles north of Miami.

Q: What was your childhood like? 

A: It was happy. I was able to spend my summers in the Adirondacks swimming, waterskiing, and hiking. My mother was a theater teacher. I spent a lot of time with her. It was very rare that I was in school. I was always traveling with my mother, but I took my school work with me. 

Q: When did you discover your love for filmmaking?  

A: I would draw for hours on end by myself. At five years of age I told my mother that I did not want to follow in the family footsteps and pursue theater but, rather, art. The first thing I ever wanted to be when I was a young was an animator for Disney and have my own comic book series.  

Q: What motivates you to make work?

A: People’s stories. I am fascinated with capturing words and translating what is said, then visualizing it onscreen.  

Q: How are you able to find time amid the busyness of life? 

A: The funny thing is--when I create, I rule out time. I just don’t think about the concept of time and pretend that it does not exist.

Q: What has been the most touching or amazing moment you've experienced as an artist?

A: In the year 2013, I created two documentaries at the same time. One, DeWonna And I, was about my relationship with a woman named DeWonna who battled poverty. The other, The Truth About Huntington's Disease, is about a degenerative brain disorder which affects one's ability to communicate. While creating both pieces, I was exposed to an influx of information regarding persons with both physical and mental infirmities and how they are treated. I felt as if I were a cultural scientist. Exposure to those topics softened my heart and made me have more gratitude for life.  

Q: Inspirations (in or outside of art)? 

A: My mother. She is one of the most generous people I know.

Q: What are you currently working on? Or, where do you envision yourself going with your art? 

A: I envision myself eventually using filmmaking as a form of philanthropy. Generosity is contagious, and with film as my medium I plan to touch the hearts and minds of citizens; to break perceptions about race, gender, domestic violence, and poverty; and to inspire people! 

Q: What other interests do you have? What do you enjoy doing?  

A: I like running and water skiing, traveling and trying new restaurants. Actually, most of my money goes to food. It’s pretty amazing how much I spend specifically on Doritos per month. 

Q: Where can people find your work? 

A: Vimeo and YouTube