DER Documentary

When Visitors Come

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by Rina Sherman
part of the The Ovahimba Years Project
color, 30 min, 2006

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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A film about the relationship between anthropologist Rina Sherman and an Omuhimba family with whom she lived for seven years, filming and photographing aspects of their everyday and ritual lives. Halfway through her tenure in the field, Sherman presented a multi-media exhibition, entitled The Ovahimba Years: Work in Progress in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. A group of young people from the community of Etanga travelled to Windhoek to participate in the exhibition.

The film explores the evolution of this relationship that lead to the exhibition, shows the group of young people discovering the presentation of their cultural heritage at the exhibition, holding performances as part of the programme presented, and shows the resulting discussions and consequences of the exhibition, once everyone is back in Ovahimba country. When Visitors Come is a film about an anthropologist in situ, and evokes several notions central to fieldwork, such as the nature of the bond between the observer and the observed, the observed observer, participant-anthropology and emotion as possible vector or hindrance in fieldwork.

Visit the project's website:

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Rencontres, Paris-Berlin, 2007
Rina Sherman Retrospective, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, 2011

View more photos on

other films from the The Ovahimba Years Project:
Keep the Dance Alive
Shake Your Brains

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts