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This World is Not My Own

DATE AND TIME
Wednesday, March 27 2024
7:00pm
doors at 6:30
TICKETS
$10 General
$7 for SPACE members

Directed by Petter Ringbom and Marquise Stillwell
97 minutes

Join Indigo Arts Alliance, SPACE, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design for a screening of This World is Not My Own, a documentary exploring the world of Nellie Mae Rowe, a self-taught artist born in 1900 the daughter of a share-cropper and once-enslaved father. Though she was propelled to artistic stardom late in life, Rowe’s creative world-building emerged early in youth, using found objects to symbolize herself and her community and transforming her father’s sharecropping farm into a vibrant realm she called the “Playhouse.”

The revelatory and innovative film fuses intricately detailed sets and innovative animation with more traditional documentary techniques to create a kaleidoscopic portrait of a profound talent that was nearly lost in obscurity. Uzu Aduba (of Orange is the New Black) provides the voice of Rowe in the narrative 3-D animated sequences.

Over four acts, This World is Not My Own traces the lifespan of an artist who struggles to dedicate her life to art while exploring the personal and political events that shaped her singular body of work. The film mixes traditional documentary techniques with animations and scripted scenes shot in intricately detailed sets to bring her dynamic story to life.

Opendox created film sets that reimagine Nellie’s “Playhouse,” and partnered with Kaktus Film to design and animate 3D characters in Nellie’s and her gallerist’s likenesses. Actresses Uzo Aduba and Amy Warren perform scripted scenes based on Nellie Mae Rowe quotes. Their recorded voices and movements make the animated Nellie and Judith come to life. 

Co-presented by Indigo Arts Alliance, SPACE, and Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art and Design. Supported in part by TD Bank Foundation through a MECA&D Student Life Diversity Mini-Grants.


The film screening is presented in conjunction with James Allister Sprang’s solo exhibition, Rest Within the Wake, on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design. Sprang’s multi-sensory exhibition features textual elements, wall-based multimedia work, advanced spatial audio technologies, and an orchestral score written “60 feet beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea.” Composed while Sprang was pursuing a scuba certification off the coast of Belize, the Rest Within the Wake score and exhibition recreate the experience of a deep-water descent and its physical, metaphysical, and historical associations.

The exhibit is on view through April 6, 2024, learn more here.

Support for Rest Within the Wake was provided by The Kindling Fund, a grant program administered by SPACE as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program.


Image: Animated Nellie Mae Rowe by her home known as the “playhouse.” © Opendox, Photography by Petter Ringbom. Character Animation & VFX by Kaktus Film

🕯️ The dance show of the summer is Scapegoat Garden’s Liturgy|Order|Bridge. The Hartford-based company calls upon Black church traditions and ideas of faith, nature, fashion, and experimentation in their limited performance run June 20-22. Tickets available now, presented by SPACE at Mechanics’ Hall. 🕯️