“Daughters of the Dust” is comprised of tableaux structually similar to African icons, Ethiopian magic scrolls, Egyptian reliefs or their New World antecedents, the work of pphotographer James Van DeZee.
Nana Peazant and her family are composed in tableaux shots to appear suspended in time, in a magical drama. I wanted them to appear as a memory. Stylisticlly the film is a rich tapestry of languid movements (achieved with the use of a speed control computor) and furtive glances between the young folks and the old. The story is narrated by two people, Nana Peazant, the great grandmother and The Unborn Child.
The color indigo, the most common source of color in West Africa–the color,the mood, the magic that it carries is intergral to the story, structure and art direction. The color indigo is used as a visual motif: the hands of the older men and women are stained blue symbolizing their having been born into slavery and having worked the indigo processing plants on sea island plantations. The houses or shanties have indigo blue trim of their windows and doors for protection from evil. The Unborn Child wears an indigo blue ribbon in her hair, she propels us back into the past and into the future.