Rina Sherman is a filmmaker, ethnographer and photographer. She studied with Jean Rouch, under whose supervision she completed a doctorate with distinction at the Sorbonne in 1989. A recipient of the Villa Médicis Hors les Murs prize and the Lavoisier bursary of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she undertook a seven-year fieldwork study of Ovahimba and other Otjiherero speaking communities in Namibia and Angola. From the body of filmed and photographic images and sound recordings constituted during that time, she has produced films, books, multimedia exhibitions and photographic collections. Her archival collection resides with the National Library of France, who dedicated an exhibition, “The Ovahimba Years / Rina Sherman” to the collection in 2015.
Rina Sherman’s films cover a range of interests, from her collection of cine-portraits, “Voices, Meetings with Remarkable People“, including among others, Jacques Blamont, Michel Zink, Bernard Esambert, Andres Serrano, J. P. Donleavy, Rhoda Scott, Alain Gheerbrant, François Roustang, to her collection, “Witnesses of our Times”, with works in progress about Jean Rouch, Claude Mollard, Michou, Delfeil de Ton, Jean Widmer… to her work on dance in Africa, her early art films, and her recent collection of slow cinema moving tableaux, “Cities & Elsewhere”.
Rina Sherman has published books in different languages, of which, Uitreis (Leaving), a first novel in Afrikaans, a fictional rewriting of her doctoral thesis, Le Huitième mort de Tibherine, a counter-investigation into the death of grand reporter Didier Contant, and Ma vie avec les Ovahimba, a first account of her seven years of life with an Omuhimba family in Namibia.
She has created K éditeur, and in 2020 published Paysages & Transfiguration / Philippe Ciaparra. In 2018 she published as editor Dans le sillage of Jean Rouch (In the Wake of Jean Rouch), a collection of essays with Les Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.
As a curator, Rina Sherman has participated in numerous cultural projects: In 1995, she was audiovisual curator for the exhibition “South Africa: Music of Freedom” in La Villette, Paris. In 1996, she was curator of Jean Rouch’s tour of South African universities in collaboration of the French Institute in South Africa (IFAS) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Namibia. In 2002, she presented a multimedia exhibition at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre in Windhoek. In 2011, a retrospective of Rina Sherman’s films was held at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, with two programs, “Life in the City” and “The Ovahimba Years“.
Rina Sherman lectures and teaches internationally, of which the School of Sound International Symposium, Southbank Centre, London, 2019, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, L’ethnologie va vous surprendre ! 4th Ed. Femmes de terrain, 2019, Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, conference at the exhibition : Afrique, les religions de l’extase, 2018.
Rina Sherman’s projects have received support from various Ministries in France, of which, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of culture, the National Centre for Cinema, various EU Embassies (UK, Germany, Spain), The Ford Foundation, and numerous private sponsors.
Rina Sherman’s films and books feature in the collections of major academic and public libraries and museums in the USA and Europe.