Across mediums – a visual response to O k’inādās panel discussions. By: Jessie Fosty

Karolina Bialkowska and Tomas Jonsson

A cross media response by Jessie Fosty. Jessie Fosty is pursuing a BFA Honours at Brandon University in the Department of Visual and Aboriginal Arts. She works closely with Peter Morin. Her mediums include painting, drawing, and ceramics, and her themes include the impact of residential school and the plight of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016: On Bodies

Round Table participants: David Garneau, Rodrigo Hernandez Gomez, Cecily Nicholson, Rebecca Belmore, and Jordan Scott

Jessie Fosty Demas - Round table 1 Response

This red watercolor painting I made as a response visually binds together the elements of the first Round Table that spoke to me the most: Rebecca Belmore’s spoken word performance, Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez’s concept of the 3 wheels, and Cecily Nicholson’s talk about Poplar island’s erosion and the idea of a continuum. Every person on the panel approached the body theme in their own way.

Rebecca Belmore did a powerful spoken word performance. She went up to center stage and slowly began yelling at the crowd in increasing volume. Soon she was yelling at the top of her lungs. It made me freeze and filled the space in such an ominous way. She was angrily yelling “body, somebody, nobody” in a repetitive fashion. It sent shivers down my spine and the crowd was dead silent.

Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez talked about his work with Ayatzi 68, a collective he is a part of. This group functions with political matters in mind. He said indignation helps them reflect and react in a dignified manner. Hernandez-Gomez said that one of the concepts they use to do their work is The Three Timelines: three different wheels moving at different speeds. The first is ancestral and moves the slowest. The second wheel is moving faster and is the state of being Mexican. The third wheel is the fastest and represents working on the land, being present in this body, and how we experience ourselves on this land.

Cecily Nicholson’s most recent book From the Poplars talks about Poplar Island. Nicholson spoke about how the island is empty now. In the past Poplar Island was used for small pox victim quarantine, at other times for logging and mining, but now the island is eroding away. That island and the body of the river exist together- there is no containment for them anymore.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016: On Butterflies

Round Table participants: David Khang, Adrian Stimson, Michelle Jacques, Lori Blondeau and Carmen Papalia

Another strong lineup of Round Table participants continues to feed my gratefulness to beJessie Fosty Demas - Round Table 2 Response 1 here to witness these discussions. I was influenced by David Khang’s talk and performance which led me to paint this water colour visual response.

In David Khang’s presentation he spoke about a lot of the issues surrounding political and violent warfare that have influenced his art practice. For the transformative, performance part of his presentation, Khang removed the camouflage military outfit he was wearing to reveal a butterfly patterned military outfit underneath. He then went out into the crowd and handed out some postcards fashioned after some of his earlier work. When he approached me and handed me the cards, he smiled and spoke some of his Native tongue Korean. I felt grateful to receive a gift and hear him speak to me in Korean.

  Round Table #2-2 Response info: (sunrise/sunset one)

This watercolor visual response was influenced by Carmen Papalia and Lori Blondeau’s talks at the second Round Table discussion.

Jessie Fosty Demas - Round Table 2 Response 2

Carmen Papalia shared the tenets he has written to create a dialogue to change the conversation surrounding accessibility for other visually impaired peoples. The idea of open access is one of the tenets he spoke about. Papalia asked what kind of conditions can lend themselves to a more free experience? He also spoke about the Eyes Closed Walking Tours that he has led and how they are a chance to find community, and allow practice for people to use their non-visual senses. I was able to participate in his downtown Kelowna Eyes Closed Walking Tour. I found it strange to be unable to attach sounds that I heard to the physical objects in the vicinity we were walking in. Afterwards, I found the tour gave me a newfound feeling to not take my sight for granted.

Lori Blondeau spoke about a couple of her projects. One of her projects she spoke about was her 2007 Venice Biennale performance Grace. Blondeau would sit at a space at the canal at sunrise and sunset while audio of Aboriginal birth and death stories was being played. This decolonizing work sounds so powerful.

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