Two persons, one in a pink and one in a blue sweater, photographed from the side in in a collage-looking style

This World is Not My Own Film still

The Film Club: This World is Not My Own


6.10 2023


Come to the premiere of the documentary “This World is Not My Own” at Zita Folkets Bio! The film portrays Nellie Mae Rowe, who in later life became the artist she always knew she was. After the screening, director Petter Ringbom talks to Moderna Museet’s Camilla Carlberg.

In collaboration with Folkets Bio, the Film Club is showing the documentary “This World is Not My Own”, portraying the American artist Nellie Mae Rowe and her life in 20th-century USA. It reflects segregation and racism in the US, but also the civil rights movement in Atlanta. Friends, relatives and others who knew Nellie Mae Rowe are interviewed in the documentary. The artist herself also appears in animated sequences.

The evening starts with drinks, and after the screening the film’s director Petter Ringbom talks to Moderna Museet’s Camilla Carlberg.

Nellie Mae Rowe

Nellie Mae Rowe (1900–1982) is one of the USA’s finest folk artists. She grew up in a farming family with ten siblings in Georgia. As a young girl, she loved to paint, but her family was poor and everyone had to work in the fields to contribute to their livelihood.

At 16, she ran away from home, frustrated over not being allowed to choose her own life. She married and worked as a housekeeper in various families, which she later portrayed in her art. After being widowed twice, she began exploring her talent as an artist.

Her house and backyard were transformed into her first art installation, with paintings, drawings and sculptures made of discarded materials, such as chewing gum and old kitchen utensils.

Her paintings and drawings are in strong colours, filling the pictorial surface with mythological creatures, people and animals. These works tell of her life, her beliefs, and the fate she was born to, as the daughter of a formerly enslaved man in the American south.

Nellie Mae Rowe experienced a major breakthrough in the last ten years of her life. Together with her close friend and agent, the gallery owner Judith Alexander, she opened numerous exhibitions of her works.

A black-and white photo of a person looking towards the camera, with blue and red paint surrounding it
This World is Not My Own Film still
A doll-looking person is watering a tree with a flask made out of glass. The tree has flasks instead of branches.
This World is Not My Own Film still