Ya'Ke Smith

Ya’Ke Smith

Department of Art and Art History

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The world is full of stories waiting to be told, and Ya’Ke Smith has a passion for putting those stories on film. “Film is so much more than just beautiful pictures,” says the assistant professor of film/video in the Art and Art History Department. “It’s the most powerful medium we have, and when used effectively it has the power to change the world.” Smith’s latest work, Katrina’s Son, is on track to do just that, telling the story of an 11-year-old Hurricane Katrina evacuee searching for his mother, who is living in San Antonio. The story sheds light on the ongoing aftermath of Katrina and its lingering social issues. Released in 2010, Katrina’s Son has won several awards and been shown at numerous film festivals, including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. It is eligible for an Oscar nomination in the short film category. “I want my work to be a mirror, so we can examine ourselves,” Smith says. “I want us to see our beauty and our many flaws so that healing can take place.”

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