Laterally Creative has created works that explore our visual culture and legacies of histories. These projects include cultural animation, creative writing, film, theatre, performance, soundscapes and combinations of these crafts. Laterally Creative has also enjoyed collaborating with fellow creatives to explore new ways of making work and expressing ideas. 

P.D. Casely-Hayford

Visual culture is a term that opens up a dialogue on the meaning of representation. Every artistic element can be a point of departure for discussions on histories, critical theories, and the sacred context of the artefact. Interpreting creativity is a dynamic experience that changes with our perception of culture , and life experiences.


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mother’s sleeping

Mother’s Sleeping received Official Selection for screening at the third Cultural Animation Film Festival held at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii, U.S.A in May, 2019. The film is part of the CAFF2019: Animated Perspectives Program that is a collection of diverse points of view. The festival showcases a unique collection of cultural based animated films from around the world.

The film explores the role of memories in relationships and the ways in which is constantly re-imagined throughout our lives. A child watches her mother sleeping, reflects on their relationship, and contemplates on the responsibility of become an Elder who will pass on the family stories and culture to the next generation. The mother’s skin is a metaphoric narrative of her life experiences. At first, mother is a child. Her skin is covered with the Akan Adinkra symbols that convey her philosophy. As mother ages, her skin accumulates the experiences of her life; love, colonisation, war, the journey to independence, and the memories of family. Finally, she is released as she takes her last breath and her soul returns to the Ancestors.

Cultural Animation Film Festival >>

Honolulu Museum of Art >>

when freedom kissed her: blue mood

When Freedom Kissed Her: Blue Mood 2019 was screened at the World Screen Blackout Solid Screen Festival at Northern Rivers Conservatorium Underground Studio, Lismore, Australia in March, 2019. Curated by Jenny Fraser, SOLID Screen includes a range of short film works and digital stories from Aboriginal Australia, Kayche Festival in Mexico and other Indigenous women Digital Storytellers in an expression of solidarity. 

When Freedom Kissed Her: Blue Mood is an international collaborative experimental film project that combines cultural animation with choreography and dance. The work features Natasha M. Cole who responds to P.D. Casely-Hayford’s original soundscape and prose through the language of dance. Cole is a Ghanaian born dancer, based in America. Casely-Hayford has taken the dance footage and responded to the improvisational performance by creating the cultural animation.

Screenshots from  When Freedom Kissed Her: Blue Mood

Artwork, Photography & copyright: P. D. Casely-Hayford

cultural animation: when freedom kissed her

When Freedom Kissed Her 2018 was a cultural animation film produced by P.D. Casely-Hayford. The film was screened at the Opening Night: Program #1 at the Cultural Animation Film Festival held in  May, 2018 at the Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre. The festival provided animators with an opportunity to share their culture-based work with other artists and audiences. The program was presented “in association with Twiddle Productions Inc., the Centre for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i –Mnoa, and The Cultural Animators Network. Community partners included Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking, Le Fetuao Samoan Language Centre, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Pacific Islanders in Communications, New Media Arts Program, Kapi'olani Community College, Lady Pacifica, Maui Comics and Collectibles and Design Talk Hawai‘i.

When Freedom Kissed Her presents a woman’s skin that was covered with colonial legacy icons of war, domesticity, and enslavement. As she remembers the strength of her culture and resilience, her skin morphs into the Adinkra symbols that convey her story through Akan proverbs and philosophies inherent in Ghanaian culture. Her childhood memories remind her of her dreams and freedom. As the woman she is portrayed with the markings of life experience represented by colonial icons on her body. These fall away to reveal her worldview told through the Adinkra that repeats like a mantra over her body.

Artwork, Photography & copyright: P. D. Casely-Hayford

Image by CAFF 2018 converted to greyscale

Image by CAFF 2018 converted to greyscale

Cultural Animation Film Festival >>

pith @ solid: international festival of the screen

In April, 2017, cyberTribe presented Solid: the International Festival of the Screen at Nungeena: the Jirun Queensland Aboriginal Women’s Council, Glasshouse Mountains, Queensland. “Jirun is an Aboriginal Womens’ Council and Think Tank that promotes the voice and advocacy of Queensland based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women. Jirun is a Kombumerri and Yugambeh word for the star constellation also known as Seven Sisters Dreaming.”


Curator, Dr Jenny Fraser, describes Solid as an International Festival that showcases, “Indigenous Women ScreenMakers and acknowledges the importance of screen culture histories and representations.” In particular, Solid presents “a range of screenings from invited Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Native Canadian and Maori screen storytellers that respond to important transformations that have reconfigured opportunities for experimental arts, remix, and media arts practice in recent times.”

Artwork, Photography & copyright: P. Casely-Hayford

Dr Fraser shares the same passion as P.D. Casely-Hayford for redressing Othering representations in the moving image. This meeting of the minds led Dr Fraser to invite Casely-Hayford to screen the experimental film, Pith, which explores the legacy of mixed ancestry in Ghana.  Pith employs Ghanian satirical  performance traditions in storytelling that lampoon characters. 


Solid Awards were presented to emerging and long-standing Indigenous women in screen arts. Dr Fraser described the awards as, “a very rare opportunity to celebrate the current outstanding practice offered by Indigenous Women Screen-makers.” Lynn Chapman who is from Wakka Wakka country of Eidsvold received the Solid Screen Storyteller Award. The Solid Experimental Screen Award was presented to P.D. Casely-Hayford for the experimental film, Pith.

Previously Solid has been held in Tallebudgera [2016] and Cairns [2014-2015] Queensland, Australia. In 2015 Solid participated in the Festival de Cine y Video Kayche' Tejidos Visuales, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. In the same year, Solid was hosted by the Hawai'i Women in Filmmaking in association with the Hawaii Filmmakers Collective. The international tour culminated in the “screen-makers,” retreat, festival and yarning circle for Indigenous women at the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Gathering in November in Aotearoa: New Zealand.

Solid International Festival  >>

shirt & teapot

Artwork, Photography & copyright: P. Casely-Hayford

The film, Shirt & Teapot was P.D. Casely-Hayford’s film responds to stories from her mother’s stories from missionary boarding schools during the last stages of the colonial era in Ghana, West Africa. The film highlights the monotony and banality of domestic duties that were undertaken by young institutionalised children. The narrative is expressed through gesture and a haunting soundscape. The film evokes questions on the power structures involved in domestic enslavement in society and the ensuing psychological and cultural abuse. 


Shirt and Teapot was officially selected for the 2015 International Black Women’s Film Festival held in San Francisco, U.S.A.

confidential despatch

Artwork, Photography & copyright: P. D. Casely-Hayford

The film, Confidential Despatch, is P.D. Casely-Hayford’s response to the legacies of enslavement, and the ensuing marginalisation of the women of colour’s voice. The point of departure for the work was the confidential correspondence between governmental officials that became known as the Firminger Scandal of 1891. The scandal concerned the illegal enslavement of a woman named Fatima by a British colonial officer named Firminger on the Gold Coast colony in West Africa in the 1900s. Firminger purchased Fatima from a slave market for his sexual pleasure then discarded her onto the streets when he returned to England. The film presents a bricolage of the moving image, stills, animation, and archival materials including the transcript of the original colonial correspondence. The film was initially screen at the Block, Creative Industries Precinct, Brisbane, Australia. Subsequently, Confidential Despatch was officially selected for the 2014 International Black Women’s Film Festival held in San Francisco, U.S.A.

International Blackwomen’s Film Festival >>

sankofa dreaming

sankofa dreaming

Sankofa Dreaming, featured in the image gallery above, was a solo exhibition by experimental filmmaker, P.D. Casely-Hayford, held at the Block, Creative Industries Precinct in Brisbane Australia in 2014. Sankofa is an Akan [West African] principle that encourages people to revive the spiritual teachings from their cultural traditions, and apply these insights to their present circumstances. This process helps them to understand how legacy can hinder their personal and cultural maturity. As a result, people can contextualise their experiences and responses, and find positive ways to resolve inner conflict with the wisdom of the Ancestors. Casely-Hayford applied this principle to the project. The legacies in question were colonisation, postcoloniality and the subsequent filmic stereotypic representations of Other. The point of departure for the exhibition was investigating  the complexity of the history of domestic enslavement of West African people. The final work presented a set of six films that expressed these legacies through gesture, texture, soundscapes, text, and symbols. The exhibition presented a diaspora aesthetic as the artist looked back to culture while exploring motifs of the transglobal culture. Two films from the exhibition were officially selected for International Film Festivals.

Project 24

a single bracelet does not jingle

In 2010, Indigenous Australian visual artist and scholar Yarraga, and P.D. Casely-Hayford developed Project 24. This was an artistic conversation between the two creative practitioners who worked in different mediums. The aim of the project was to converse through 24 creative exchanges on the 24th of each month for 24 months. No discussions on their work were allowed other than their ritual of the exchange on the 24th. This unique collaboration enabled each artist to explore a range of formats and artistic responses to one another’s work, wh. Each exchange became to the point of departure for the next work. Neither artist knew what they would receive during the exchange.

“We are working in different mediums, and have no idea if the other [artist] will continue using that medium for the next exchange. We have absolutely no idea of the outcome or themes that will emerge, nor what threads these conversations together.”  Casely-Hayford


“Well it seems as though the conversation has shifted. This kind of reminds me of the process of language. We all are thinking about the same thing, but we say it in different ways. I thought I had some idea of where we were going. Just goes to show you should wait till the other person has finished speaking [through their creative work].”  Casely-Hayford

far left: Yarraga opening exchange: left, textile art by  Mayrah Yarraga:  right, sculpture by P. D. Casely-Hayford: far right: photography by P.D. Casely-Hayford

“Wow, what can I say. In responding, a lot of things were going on for me. I had been really thinking about my connection to country and the movements of people through my life. When listening to your soundscape there was a moment of confusion. It was like you had taken my heart and transformed it into sounds. A kind of bloodline, familiar and comforting. As I painted the movement of the sounds swirled my brush strokes, and soon a colour change was needed. Then the Ancestor, a power iteration of your mob. This collaborative moment made me think of their emergence into my work.”  Yarraga

red hat: playback theatre & film project

Sunshine Coast [Australia] Playback Theatre Group’s Red Hat was a film and playback theatre project that involved improvised performance and film-work. The Red Hat playback theatre performance re-enacted the traumatic experiences of a group of travellers who were captured by Banditos in Columbia, South America in the early 1990s. Filmmakers, P.D. Casely-Hayford and Athena Currie collaborated with producer Suzanne Nicholson and Playback Theatre Specialist Dr Rea Dennis on the project. The filmmakers merged with the ensemble, and interacted with the performers on stage. This process disrupted the demarcation of the performance space as the filmmakers’ presence was both performance and archivist.

Dr Dennis, Convener of the Improvisation Continuums Conference, 2007 described the outcome as a  "groundbreaking film documentary… an experimental dramaturgy that explored improvisational story-based method playback theatre in performance in film, filmmaking and storyboarding.” The film was initially screened at S.C.A.I.P, Queensland, Australia. Subsequently, the film was screened at the 10th Annual Playback Theatre Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August, 2007 as part of a session entitled, Enthnofiction, Re-enactment and Playback on Film.

 far left: Anna Heriot, Zjamal Xanitha & Adam Cashmore-Brooke; left:  Zjamal Xanitha;  

right: Zjamal Xanitha,  Anna Heriott; far right: Anna Heriott & Adam Cashmore  - Photography:  P. D. Casely-Hayford

everywhere that mary went: urban gothic meets improv film freak

Everywhere that Mary Went was a collaborative experimental film project involving Laterally Creative and producer, Suzanne Nicholson. The film explores the recovery of memories concerning abuse. The filmmaking process was improvisational. The story was told through gesture, soundscape, textures, and light. Each scene was limited to one take to create a sense of urgency in the film. Also there was no storyboard to guide the set up of shots or actions on screen. After all, it was improvisation! 


Film director Casely-Hayford, said, “It was a wild carnival ride in the dark, never knowing what was around each corner. Suzanne gave me the ticket, we all got on board with little idea of the destination, or how we were going to get there. I imagined scenes on the spot, and we just went for it. The actors and crew were great. Everyone trusted the process. No rehearsals, no blocking, and only one take, then literally pack up and rush to the next location. This tension flowed into the film. I'm still making sense of it all. It was wild, fast and fun! Urban Gothic drama meets improv film art freaks.” Everywhere that Mary Went was screened at S.C.A.I.P, Queensland, Australia in 2007 to a mesmerised audience.

  far left: Trevor Russell, left & right: David Lindsay Falcon-Smith, right: Fiona Donelly. Photography & copyright: P.D.  Casely-Hayford

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