Join us for the culminating exhibition of this
four week artist residency in Guanajuato.
Sábado/Saturday, 26 Setiembre 2015, 5-7pm,
Performance/Actuación a 6pm
Centro Bharati, Plaza del Baratillo
Refreshments served/ Refrigerios servidos
“Each entered the forest at a point that he himself had chosen, where it was darkest and there was no path. If there is a path it is someone else's path and you are not on the adventure."
--Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey
“He remained with the people until it came time that the old salmon that had gone upstream and had not been caught by the humans came drifting back down towards the stream. As salmon boy stood by the water, he saw a huge old salmon come floating down towards him. It was so worn by its journey that he could see through its sides. He recognized it as his own soul and he thrust his spear into it.”
--From the Native American legend Salmon Boy
Akumal International Artist Residency in Guanajuato
SALMON HERO/HÉROE SALMÓN
This first season of the AIAR residency in Guanajuato gathers two female artists, both of them mixing the disciplines of visual art, performance and text. Influenced by the majestic mountains, tiny roads, bright colors, vibrant music and the pure life force that is Guanajuato, how can one not be transformed?
These two artists: Césan d’Ornellas of Canada and Irene Nerys of Italy found immediate connection with each other, sharing strangely similar experiences and histories, despite their age gap. They seemed to experience one another as themselves at different points in life. And both women, while in residency, like the salmon, are swimming upstream on a hero’s journey of their own, exploring the unknown. Everyone is the hero of his or her own myth.
Césan chose to work visually from a text she wrote some 25 years ago (about the same age Irene is now). Salmon Mother is the title of the text she has brightly illustrated for an artist book. It is Césan’s story, but it explores the path we all take on these unknown journeys upstream, fighting the currents. Although it references the many salmon legends sacred to many traditions, her work is deeply personal and vividly portrayed in a delicate, almost private way. It is as though we are peering into a personal journal.
Irene has been inspired for her work here by the hero’s journey in her search into the unknown. Joseph Campbell identifies The Hero’s Journey as a pattern of narrative that appears in drama, storytelling, myth and religious ritual. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as “the hero”, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. This journey involves a “call to adventure,” a “crossing of a threshold,” and the eventual “return with the elixir,” transforming the hero. According to Campbell, the hero’s inner journey (and our heroine’s) includes the awareness of a need for change, overcoming the accompanying fear and accepting the consequences of this new life, thus writing a new story. Through Irene’s emotional dance, music, video and text, we share her varied and visceral journey, ourselves somehow transformed.
Both of these artists are embracing their journey: a younger women bravely evolving into the older woman skillfully reflecting on her past, while creating the present. Through transitions manifesting as divergent rivers or pathways, unsteady, swerving, they find themselves not quite where they were and certainly not where they will become. Nonetheless, they answered the call that brought them both here at this moment to Mexico, on this balcony—in a literal balance between Heaven and Earth—a 25 year old and a 50 year old simultaneously exploring the past and the future, excavating their story, discovering their path.
Will we heed our own “call to adventure” or will we let it slip like a salmon through our fingers, unable or unwilling to thrust our spear into it? The salmon are ultimately swimming to their death, but the Salmon Hero must not. She must return with the elixir, the treasure, to transform the world.
Kim Schultz, Residency Director
Césan d'Ornellas is an experimental visual artist based in Canada. She is known mainly for bold expressive abstract paintings and more recently for mixed media explorations on wood, plexiglass and paper.
Irene Nerys is a performing artist from Italy, based primarily in Paris. Her work is a quest, constantly in (r)evolution.