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Discover the world of "Rocaterrania" – Museum shows Kuhler tribute film

RALEIGH — Scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler passed away in June at the age of 81. During a 30-year career as an illustrator for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, he drew hundreds of portraits detailing the anatomies of myriad natural history specimens. In private, and for a larger portion of his life, he produced amazingly colorful and detailed drawings of Rocaterrania, a place of his own creation that was equal parts fantasy and reality. 

Rocaterrania postcardJoin us for a free screening of the feature-length documentary based on Kuhler’s life called “Rocaterrania,” showing in the Museum’s main auditorium on Thursday, August 8 at 7pm. Director and former Museum media specialist Brett Ingram will be on hand to discuss his inspiration for making the film. Shark Quest, the eclectic Triangle-area band that provided the musical score for “Rocaterrania,” will play a short set beginning at 6pm.

Rocaterrania “directly tells the story of my life and my struggle to become what I am today,” Kuhler says in the 2009 film. “I am Rocaterrania.” Before the making of this documentary, no one knew that Kuhler was such a prolific visionary artist — his astounding body of work has been called one of the most important discoveries of outsider art since Henry Darger. His beautiful illustrations have since been exhibited in Baltimore, New York and Raleigh, and will be exhibited in Paris later this year. 

Ingram is a former journalist, physics teacher and electrical engineer on the Space Shuttle Main Engine Program who has been making films since 1990. “Rocaterrania” has earned four awards — screening at more than 50 film festivals from Vancouver to Buenos Aires before airing on regional PBS in 2011. His first documentary feature, a portrait of the idiosyncratic claymation artist Bruce Bickford called "Monster Road," won 16 awards (including Best Documentary at the 2004 Slamdance Film Festival). He currently teaches filmmaking at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Shark Quest is comprised of a virtual who’s who of the local music scene over the past 10-15 years and draws on myriad styles, combining individual influences and talents. Dusty pop melds with elements of surf guitar, bluegrass, traditional folk, bossa nova, Sufi-western and neoclassical baroque to create a sound that is uniquely their own. The band provided the musical score for “Monster Road” as well as for “Rocaterrania.”

The Museum stays open till 9pm every Thursday night for “Science Thursdays,” featuring presentations from scientists, introductory science classes, hands-on lab activities and much more. For more information, visit http://naturalsciences.org/sciencethursdays

Publish Date: 
Friday, July 12, 2013