Monday, August 3, 2015

Great Documentary: Packed in a Trunk

Old Steamer Trunk
"Here's to being seen"
There's a wonderful HBO documentary that you just have to watch. It's called Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson and is the story of a little-known artist and the discovery of her artwork in an attic in Wheeling, West Virginia. It began airing on July 20th, but I just saw it yesterday and thought is was fantastic. If you have access to HBO On Demand, please take time to watch it.

As summarized on the website dedicated to Edith:

"Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson is a documentary film that will celebrate the long-buried talent of the painter Edith Lake Wilkinson who was part of the Provincetown art scene in the early 20th century and produced an astounding body of work. In 1924 she was committed to an asylum -- perhaps with the help of the family lawyer who was busily siphoning off her funds. The lawyer had also objected to Edith’s 'close and constant contact' with her companion Fannie. Once she was put away, Edith’s work and all her worldly possessions were packed into trunks and shipped off to a relative in West Virginia where they sat in an attic collecting dust for the next 40 years. Edith was never heard from again. 
Edith’s great-niece, Jane Anderson (Emmy-winning Writer & Director) grew up surrounded by Edith’s paintings thanks to her mother who had gone poking through that dusty attic and rescued Edith’s work. ... Packed in a Trunk will follow Jane in her efforts to find the answers to the mystery of Edith’s buried life, as well as her goal to return Edith’s work back to Provincetown."

There are some historical records, a few photos, a scene where her great-niece walks the cemetery in search of Edith's grave, lots of art, and ultimately a result not unlike our efforts with genealogy: this woman's story is uncovered and now she will not be forgotten. 

As it says in this line on the website, "Here’s to being seen."

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