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Seeing and Being Seen: A Trio of Films (15*)

A still from a black and white film depicting a person of colour

Three recently restored works by pioneering African American filmmakers complement and interrogate Alice Neel's approach to painting downtrodden America.

A screening of three films by Camille Billops and Fronza Woods, who were amongst the first practising female African American filmmakers. These short films expand themes recurrent in Neel's work from addiction to the elderly female body, from sex work to morbidity, while questioning the dynamics that Neel's artistic practice raises: cross-cultural and intergenerational encounters, and the act of depicting trauma.

Neel, Billops and Woods were working at similar times and with similar subjects, but while Neel was what might now be termed an 'ally'; Billops and Woods used their personal experiences as African American women.

While Neels' paintings discard the classical form of portraiture to reveal people that intrigue and at times unsettle, these short films provide an insight to what some of these cryptic sitters might have said.

Films: Suzanne, Suzanne (1982) Camille Billops US 25"

Older Women and Love Camille (1987) Billops US 25"

Fannie's Film (1981) Fronza Woods US 15"

Content warning

This event will showcase films rated 15. They show descriptions of instances of domestic violence, police violence, physical abuse towards children, addiction and sex/sexuality; and a photograph of a dead body.


This event was curated by Abiba Coulibaly, independent film programmer and founder of Brixton Community Cinema.

Auditorium 2