Multi-channel indigenous performance art captures energy of Six Nations

Ho-lah! That’s a lot of words to describe an art project meant to reflect the voices of our territories. Creating news ways to reflect that voice has been the focus of creative duo Jackson Two Bears (Mohawk) and Janet Rogers (Mohawk/Tuscarora) during their return home to Six Nations June 27-July 8 2016.

Using the newly opened Secord House as a homebase and inspiration for some of their performance/media work, Jackson and Janet used the notion of messages, like the important, and destiny-changing message Laura Secord herself carried to the British and Haudenosaunee allies which played a big role in winning the War of 1812.

Rogers, a poet, spoken word and performance artist and host of Native Waves Radio, works with voice, sound and audio textures in everything she creates. So it made sense to find voice on the land, listen to voice on the land and develop ways to represent “word and sound messages.”

Jackson Two Bears worked outside his comfort zone as a video mash-up artist to build on his beginner-knowledge with multi-channel media and video mapping practices.

Using three projectors and multiple sound sources, Jackson uses a video mapping program to reflect footage he shot of Janet interacting on site specific grounds such as the Mohawk Institute, Chiefswood National Historic Site and the Secord House on 4th Line in Ohsweken.

Together they produced pseudo ceremony intended to transform, not only energies within the sites but which transformed and deepened their own relationships with the territories.

Never underestimate the power of the arts. As the team can testify from their experience of walking through the Mohawk Institute, locally known as “the Mush Hole”, residential school and finding what they described as shockingly disturbing energies, transitioned to warmth and light after they laid tobacco bundles and read children’s stories aloud in the basement, along with images of Jackson’s and Janet’s family members projected on the decaying walls.

Art can change energies for the good. Art is healing.

For This Land, Phase II will be part of the Mush Hole Conference and Exhibition September 15-17th at the Woodland Cultural Centre.

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