Vancouver’s International Performance Art Celebration

Oct 4 highlights: VERB FRAU TV, artist talk, Mineki Murata, Fatimah Jawdat, Thirza Jean Cuthand, Raven Davis, New Body Language panel with SUM gallery Oct 4 highlights: VERB FRAU TV, artist talk, Mineki Murata, Fatimah Jawdat, Thirza Jean Cuthand, Raven Davis, New Body Language panel with SUM gallery

VERB FRAU TV: Supporting – Day 2

Margaret Dragu and Sophia Wolfe led a group of artists and public through another morning of healing moving and not moving that included deep breathing, meditation, grounding, stretching, and dancing.

Rochdy Laribi, a participating artist at VERB FRAU TV's Supporting LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.
Rochdy Laribi, a participating artist at VERB FRAU TV’s Supporting LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.

Artist lunchtime talk: Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, Adriana Disman, Preach R Sun

The artists set the tone by declaring the importance of the message and meaning of their work. It is less about being seen as artists (“when is your next piece is not important, what you are saying and the impact you are having is”).

Moderated by Doug Jarvis, who noted that all three artists coincidentally used song in their performances.

Mineki Murata

Murata continued his epic three day durational performance with relentless drawing into a wooden wall in complete darkness, chanting throughout.

On the second day, at Ground Floor Art Centre…

Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.
Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.

On the other side of this window…

Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.
Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.

Up the stairs…

Upstairs, Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.
Upstairs, Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.

Follow the arrows…

Curtains outside Murata's performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.
Curtains outside Murata’s performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.

A handful of tiny punctures began to let light through…

Mineki Murata's durational performance in progress at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.
Mineki Murata’s durational performance in progress at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Shannon Miller.

Fatimah Jawdat

Fatimah Jawdat is a young artist living in Diwaniya, Al Qadisiyah, Iraq. Her education and background is in theatre and fine art. Her performative pictures relay a profound sensitivity through visual metaphors to discuss feminist and political issues.

Since it is not permissible for her to travel outside Iraq, her chosen exhibition venue is Facebookexhibition venue is Facebook through which she is developing an exponentially growing international audience. Her participation in LIVE is an extraordinary portfolio of images she has instructed us to project to the public.

Fatimah Jawdat screening at LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Fatimah Jawdat screening at LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.

Thirza Jean Cuthand
The Future Is So Bright

Thirza Jean Cuthand undresses with a neutrality that makes you feel like a fly on the wall, observing her at home after another day on this planet.

Cuthand sits on a red chair with only her red underwear on. The screen behind her shows scenes of massive glaciers melting. The projection continues this way throughout the performance, showing clips of climate change devastations and natural disasters. Wildfire, houses in flames, tornadoes, tsunamis, unabashedly displayed as Cuthand unwraps one Werther’s Original caramel after another, puts it in her mouth for a few seconds, then takes it out and sticks it onto her naked body. All the while, these two contrasting visuals are accompanied with an audio recording of Cuthand’s love letters read aloud.

The different jarring sensations evoked by the visual and audio happenings interact at times, awkwardly at times, but somehow they seem to make the personal and relatable content digestible. As the viewers are presented with muted scenes of apocalypse, Cuthand’s caramel-eating and candy-placing onto her flesh is tender, comforting, like looking at the personification of innocence. In addition to the visual stimulation is the reading of Cuthand’s love letters, which are minimal in punctuation and breaks; Cuthand spilling her heart out to various crushes while naming her self-awareness of it. In these letters, Cuthand expresses her ideas of love, sprouts of romance; how it burns into her mind when her hand brushes her crush’s, her desires—sexual, parental, simple—and the improbable future, what with climate change and being queer and all.

“These days, it feels like I’m an outlier to want to parent.”
“Who knows what is impossible anymore?”
“I can’t believe I feel like time is running out because I want babies.”

The love letters finish, houses continue to burn on screen, “Heat Wave” by Linda Ronstadt comes on with a periodic “clang”—the sound of Cuthand taking the caramels off her body one by one and dropping them into a titanium bowl—giving the whole scene an odd rhythm yet completing the piece. The Future Is So Bright wraps in a way that mirrors the contradiction many people feel on a daily basis, living when and where we do: the world is burning but we can’t stop talking about the future, dreaming about what we will do with the ones we love, what we will create; we cannot help but be hopeful and pragmatic at the same time; always realizing what really matters a little too late. Yet, somehow, we muster the courage to say, “SWEET!”

Review written by Katherine Chan

Thirza Jean Cuthand performance at LIVE 2019, VIVO Media Arts. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Thirza Jean Cuthand performance at LIVE 2019, VIVO Media Arts. Photo by Alisha Weng.

Raven Davis

Raven Davis takes the stage inconspicuously, wearing a cap, dark jeans, a baggy sweater and jacket, pacing carefully. They read an excerpt from a book titled Selling Sex. They divulge their experience working at strip clubs, revealing to the audience the dark truth that dancers are forced to accept drinks offered by their clients because that’s how the club makes money, even when Davis was underage.

The rest of the performance is a dual-display of the artist’s internal and external: the screen shows a video of the artist telling their story, typing in the iPhone’s Notes app,; on stage, Davis slowly takes off their clothes with a neutral (or numbed?) expression on their face, occasionally fake smiling, as if we are customers at a strip club that they have to please. It is on the screen that viewers learn about Davis’s past, tenderness towards their mother, their fears; what it’s like to dress like a man when leaving the club with the hope this will protect them from harassment, running to the bus station as soon as the bus arrives; what it feels like to be scared of a police officer showing interest in you because you could be murdered and missing forever, because you are an Indigenous woman and some people are sick perverts. As Davis sensually, reluctantly strikes into different seductive poses on stage, the audience learn from the on-screen typing: Davis’s most cherished childhood memories going to pow wows with their mother and sibling; how they eventually stop going to pow wows; how they miss dancing without fear; and that Davis’s father used to say to them: “your [long] hair is what makes your beautiful.”

Raven Davis’s performance is generous because they take off their invisible mask to tell the audience their life story. It has been traumatizing and is deserving empathy yet is unrelatable, unless you are an Indigenous person living in these lands that have been stolen from your people, an Indigenous woman who is the subject of predation, part of a community that has been ignored and discarded for so long. Davis’s fluid transformation, their outpouring of intimate memories, fears and disappointments, together transport the audience to moments of reflection of the imbalanced culture and indelible history of the land which we occupy and call home.

Review written by Katherine Chan
Photos and video to come upon artist’s permission.

New Body Language panel with SUM gallery

Following Davis’ and Cuthand’s performances, a panel of queer, trans, 2 Spirit, and Muxe-identifying artists discussed issues of gender identity and politics in performance art with the SUM Galley community.

The panelists: Thirza Jean Cuthand, Raven Davis, Adriana Disman, Lukas Avendaño.
Moderated by Shane Sable

Thank you, SUM Gallery, for making this wonderful discussion happen.

Artist panel presented by SUM Gallery, LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Artist panel presented by SUM Gallery, LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.

Watch the panel discussion from our recorded live stream:

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Upcoming – the final performance of LIVE 2019: Carmen Papalia

On Sunday, October 6, please join us for the final performance of LIVE 2019, a walk through PNE park, led by Carmen Papalia. Everyone is invited to meet at the entrance to the PNE Forum at 3:45pm (15:45). This event is free. See you there!

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LIVE 2019 is September 28 – October 6, 2019. Find the full schedule is on our websiteour website and on our Facebook pageour Facebook page.

Find out what’s happened at LIVE 2019!
Sept 28 highlightsSept 28 highlights
Sept 29 & 30 highlights and looking ahead to the rest of the festSept 29 & 30 highlights and looking ahead to the rest of the fest
Oct 1 highlights: Do Not DisturbOct 1 highlights: Do Not Disturb
Oct 2 highlights: Tari Ito – LIVE 2019Oct 2 highlights: Tari Ito – LIVE 2019
Oct 3 highlights: VERB FRAU, artist talks, Mineki Murata, Preach R Sun, Jon Sasaki, Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, Adriana DismanOct 3 highlights: VERB FRAU, artist talks, Mineki Murata, Preach R Sun, Jon Sasaki, Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, Adriana Disman

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