Dionne Warwick stands against a white backdrop, wearing a tasseled shift dress over a pair of matching slacks, waving her hands in the air. The Pose actor Dominique Jackson sports a beehive hairstyle, surrounded alternately by moody darkness and a backdrop of sandy dunes. These are the images that appear in Passage, a new short film out today made by Solange Knowles for her creative agency Saint Heron and celebrating the six finalists for the 2021 Woolmark Prize.
Just one week after Saint Heron announced its pivot to a multidisciplinary platform, studio, and creative agency, the cultural institution has released its first official work in Passage. The short stars Warwick, Jackson, the Atlanta musician SahBabii, Dungeon Family artist Joi, and the singer KeiyaA—all wearing designs made by Bethany Williams, Casablanca, Kenneth Ize, Lecavalier, Matty Bovan, and Thebe Magugu. Directed by Wu Tsang and styled by Ib Kamara, Passage also features an original score made by the post-genre avant-garde band Standing on the Corner; the group previously collaborated with Knowles on her album When I Get Home.
Against dissonant violin, piano, and bass chords, Passage depicts these artists embodying the six stages of creation, through movements that connote contemplation, courage, optimism, vulnerability, discipline and strength.
Woolmark commissioned Saint Heron for the film—but Passage is nothing short of a passion project for Knowles, who describes the work as further exploration into her “interest in theatrical production.”
The imagery depicted in the short film is right in line with Knowles’s emotional, grainy, and dance-forward visual identity—and Jackson’s and Warwick’s choreography fits right in.
“To reflect on and honor the creative process with the 2021 International Woolmark Prize finalists, Passage aligns with Saint Heron’s mission to reverence creation as life, from abstraction to being,” Knowles said in a statement.