‘Scars Should also be Crowned’: reflecting on Shelley Barry’s cinematic oeuvre

by Sihle Motsa

Where do we create from? We create from inherently political places. Our stories, when we tell them, reflect our positionality. Whether imperfect, jarring, odd or bold, they mirror our experiences, yearnings, fears and most importantly our experiences of embodiment. We write ourselves figuratively and literally through the reflection of our lives, our traumas. We name ourselves through these acts of creation. Even when our lens is outward bound it betrays a particular disposition, a purview, and articulates, in the words of poet Adrienne Rich, ‘a politics of location’. [1] We create with and from our bodies, spinning intricate webs around these vessels, which simultaneously burden and liberate us.

Shelley Barry works as an artist and filmmaker who exists and creates from a being that is both within and at the edge of the world. Her films are synopses that map the neglected inner world of the queer and disabled subject. They trace what it means to live and be in the nexus of disability and queerness, what it means to love, cry, dream and create from this place, a place that for many represents barrenness, given the ways disability is posited as lack.

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