The Desert Is No Lady

A film by Shelley Williams in collaboration with Susan Palmer

1995 | 45 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 99429


With provocative imagery and spirited juxtapositions, THE DESERT IS NO LADY looks at the Southwest through the eyes of its leading contemporary women artists and writers, including author Sandra Cisneros. The nine women profiled are Pat Mora (poet), Sandra Cisneros (writer), Lucy Tapahonso (poet), Emmi Whitehorse (painter), Harmony Hammond (painter), Meridel Rubinstein (photographer), Nora Naranjo Morse (sculptor), Pola Lopez de Jaramillo (painter) and Ramona Sakiestewa (tapestry artist). The Southwest is a border territory - where cultures meet and mix - and the work of these nine women from Pueblo, Navajo, Mexican-American and Anglo backgrounds reflects its special characteristics. THE DESERT IS NO LADY is a vibrant celebration of the diversity of women's creativity and changing multicultural America.

"An inspiring tapestry of history, imagination and daily life. I highly recommend it."
- Vicki L. Ruiz, Arizona State University


"***1/2 Highly recommended. Visually stunning, the film features broad vistas and small artistic details."

Video Librarian

"...this film will be invaluable in courses in women's studies, American literature and art, and ethnic studies."

Deborah Rosenfelt University of Maryland


  • San Antonio Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Rocky Mountain Film Festival - Opening Night Film
  • Internationale Biennale du Films Sur L'Art - Opening Night Film
  • Montreal Festival for Films on Art
  • The Art Film Festival Trencianske, Teplice, Slovakia
  • Cinewomen Festival, Norwich, England
  • Arizona Film Festival


Shelley Williams

Award-winning film and TV director and producer Shelley Williams collaborates with artists, philosophers, ecologists, dancers, writers and neuroscientists to create entertaining & inspiring work for cinema, TV, exhibition & performance.

Her work in fiction and documentary seeks out the space 'in-between' to give visual form to a more balanced view of the world, one that engages both left and right hemispheres. The audience is invited to go beyond the rational mind and connect directly with the reservoir of intuition, myth, innate wisdom and spirit.

With a keen ability to tell stories that tap into universal truths, she visualizes that which often isn't seen, said or consciously understood. This passion for creating beyond the boundaries together with visual flair combine to realize work of high imagination.
She seeks to inspire and empower an audience to embrace a transformative, shamanic vision of the human and non-human aspects of the world, synthesizing the elements of matter and spirit, art and science, mind and body. She most definitely honors the gift as well as the servant. (8/14)


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