Back Inside Herself

S. Pearl Sharp

05/07 - 15/07/2023

Described by S. Pearl Sharp as “a visual poem on identity,” Back Inside Herself (4 min., 1984) shows a Black woman finding her own sense of self and rejecting hegemonic societal expectations of who she should be and how she should behave.

Back Inside Herself is shown in the context of The Work We Share, a film program of ten newly digitized films from the Cinenova collection. Produced between 1972 and 1994, the films address oppositional histories and questions of difference through the lenses of gender, race, sexuality, health, and community.

The Work We Share gathers a number of films that previously existed in precarious conditions, in some cases, with negatives being lost or distribution film prints being the only copy. This program intends to acknowledge Cinenova’s interdependency: from organization to filmmakers, cultural workers, communities, and individuals. How can we acknowledge our interdependent relationships? How can we recognize our place in a network of communications, relationships, and resources, particularly as an un-funded volunteer organization? What different strains of labor does our work rely on? How do we sustain this work mutually?

Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. It was founded in 1991 following the merger of two feminist film and video distributors, Circles and Cinema of Women, each formed in 1979. Cinenova currently distributes over 300 titles that include artists’ moving image, experimental film, narrative feature films, documentary, and educational videos made from the 1910s to the early 2000s.

S. Pearl Sharp’s (b. 1942, United States) work focuses on cultural arts, health, and Black Diaspora history, including the poetry short Back Inside Herself (1984 and 2009 Re-mix), the semi-animated Picking Tribes (1988), the celebrated The Healing Passage/Voices From The Water (2004) and directing numerous documentaries for the City of Los Angeles’ CH 35. Her films have screened in Norway, China, Britain, the Caribbean and at FESPACO. Instigating through art and activism, she authored the non-fiction books Black Women For Beginners and The Evening News, four volumes of poetry, and in 2021 she released the short poetry video Blood Bank.

01S. Pearl Sharp, Back Inside Herself (still), 1984. Courtesy of the artist and Cinenova.



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