Curated Film Screening

November 26, 2022

9:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Wonder'neath Art Society, Maynard Street, Halifax, NS, Canada

In Person & Online ; Closed-captioned

Moderator: Solomon Nagler

Aggrey Agwata 
Oddside Arts
Mark Daye
Tamika Galanis
Charlotte-Ann Henay
Warsam Isse
Darrel Varga

Rahyne
 
Animated Film Screenshot of Olamina/African Spirit from Rahyne 2021

Rahyne (2021 ) is a short animated film done in the style of a motion comic that follows a young Afro-Indigenous (Bajan and Mohawk), non-binary youth who turns to the water to guide them through the turmoi l highl ighted by the pandemic, political unrest and trauma experiencedby Black and Indigenous peoples. This short film delves into Indigenous and African/Caribbean folk tales surrounding water that conceives it as a spirit, a guardian, life-force, and holder of memories and history, among many other things. Viewers will join Rahyne as they visit the Toronto waterfront guided by the desire to quell the turmoil of the last few months, in search of a teacher to inform a new way to approach the world they find themselves in. The ultimate goal is to inspire conversations on collective ways of healing and what that looks like using the water as a creativeinstructional tool.


This film was created by Queen Kukoyi and Nico Taylor in partnership with filmmaker Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore for Earthseeds: Space of the Living, the inaugural TorontoWaterfront Artist Residency. It was developed with the support of the Waterfront Toronto, Waterfront BIA and Centre.


Oddside Arts is a cultural arts not-for-profit organization and creative technology artist collective that merges art, technology and wellness through Black speculative design. It works from a point of view that prioritizes mental wellness and reimagines spaces for those who identify as part of the Afrodiasporic and Indigenous communities, most especially women, gender-expansive and LGTBQ+ folks, to theorize, create, and contribute to the development of the equitable future.


Oddside Arts explores art through speculative practices (sci-fi & fantasy imaginings, and musings about the future), and the application of technology by using digital design and immersive experiences. The organization uses art as a point of access for critical discussions about accessibility, equity, coalition building, and demystifying the public art process for a cultural community of artists to gain access.


Queen Kukoyi uses a meta-analytical Afrofuturistic convergence of meditation, music, art, and sciences through spoken word poetry, digital collage, animations, and installation work.​


Nicole "Nico" Taylor is a writer, scholar, digital and performance artist who uses feminism and critical race theory in her art making practices. 


Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore is Kanien'kehàka (Mohawk) and an enrolled member of Six Nations of the Grand River territory where she is based. Moore’s work focuses on restoring spiritual, physical and economic balance at the place where Indigenous ways of being meet our modern experience.


Catching Shadow
 
Catching Shadow Still, Tamika Galanis photo credit, December 2021

Catching Shadow, a film and work in progress, is a creative collaboration between documentarian and multimedia artist, Tamika Galanis, poet and performance artist Charlotte Henay, and Princess Pratt, cultural worker. One of the intentions of the work is to make explicit the power of invocation inherent in mourning, and its conjoined making of futurities. The film chronicles the ritual of how we welcome the dead across water and worlds, in a praxis of memorying the things that do not register, the silences in the archive, the unspoken, the unnamed. 


Catching Shadow features an Obeah woman who, while petitioning the Silk Cotton tree for one spirit, inadvertently frees many more. The shadows propel her to the water, surrounding her, represented by archival photographs.  Photographs are, at their core, light and shadow, they bear historical reference to “shadow” across time. Sojourner Truth is famously quoted for the inscription on her many cartes de visite which says, “I sell the shadow to support the substance ”(metmuseum.org). To that end, this work is not only a discussion about spiritual practice, but also archival silences.


Tamika Galanis is a documentarian and multimedia visual artist. A Bahamian native, Tamika’s work examines the complexities of living in a place shrouded in tourism’s ideal during the age of climate concerns. Emphasizing the importance of Bahamian cultural identity for cultural preservation, Tamika documents aspects of Bahamian life not curated for tourist consumption to intervene in the historical archive. This work counters the widely held paradisiacal view of the Caribbean, the origins of which arose post-emancipation through a controlled, systematic visual framing and commodification of the tropics.

 

Tamika’s photography-based-practice includes traditional documentary work and new media abstractions of written, oral, and archival histories. 

 

Galanis’s work has been exhibited in The Bahamas, the United States, Europe, and throughout the Caribbean with film screenings including the Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival, The Bahamas International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, BlackStar Film Festival, and the inaugural Smithsonian African American Fim Festival.

 

Tamika earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. Tamika is currently an artist in residence at the Penn Center in St. Helena Island, SC where she is working with fellow Bahamian artist, Anina Major, envisioning an exhibit that bridges the gap between Bahamian and Gullah-Geechee cultures.


Charlotte Henay is a Bahamian diasporic performance artist, poet, pluridisciplinary scholar and Assistant Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock University, in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. She works with poetry, lyric and visual essays in writing about Black and Indigenous women’s voices as witness.  Henay’s deathwork sits with the bones as protocols for cultural reclamation and spiritual reparations, making Afro-Indigenous futurities in diaspora. Integral to this work are Black-Indigenous land relationships, where land - and the archive - are embodied. The substantive goal of this work is healing justice, and the design of alternate worlds in relational frameworks. 


Charlotte’s work renders explicit in poetic form this process of talking with the dead and, through that, of confronting and ultimately transforming absences and silences in the archive. Unearthing silences and the missing spaces and times invites a layered and non-secular recognition of the sacred and interdependence of relations that could overturn rampant disaster capitalism.


Henay’s writing has been published in Canada and internationally, in literary magazines and academic journals, and her multidisciplinary work exhibited at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, conferences and galleries in Toronto, Canada.


Princess ‘Abdiel’ Pratt is a modern-day folk artist and griot with Bahamian, Jamaican, and Barbadian roots. A multicultural, multifaceted, autodidact, and multi potentialite, she fills many shoes while drumming, dancing and creating to the many rhythms and frequencies of her multidimensional nature. 


Pratt is the founder of Sensually Spiritually Culturally Me, and sole female drummer/performer in the cultural group Ubuntu, and holds a certificate from the University of the West Indies’ (Mona) Institute of Caribbean Studies’ Reggae Studies Unit. Her performance and written work seek to unpack contemporary Bahamian social issues and reclaim identities of divinity and sovereignty. Princess has performed in The Bahamas at The Regional Women’s March, Women’s Wednesdays, International Day of Silence, and the Blue Flamingo Literary Festival. Her poetry has been featured in the University of The Bahamas’ Tamarind Journal and the Journal of Revolution and Liberation. Princess has also performed at Comedytainment, a Jamaican comedy show held in The Bahamas where she shared the poetic stage with dub-poets Mutabaruka and Yasus Afari. 


Princess, in collaboration with Christine Wilson, launched Saucy Expressions, a creative arts brand. To date they have hosted two successful open mic events called Barefoot Poetry, and Riddim n Tingum, featured in the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas’ NE9 performance series, Season at Fiona’s. Pratt and Galanis collaborated in Returning the Gaze under the NE9 exhibition. She is a two-time representative of The Bahamas to the Ananse SoundSplash Storytelling Festival and Conference, and is featured in a forthcoming National Geographic food and travel series.


Sheekada Bankii Naagi Taagnayd
 
​​Warsame Isse, Sheekada Bankii Naagi Taagnayd, (2022), Image of Dried Water Droplet

This story is archived using microscopic footage of dried water droplets from a sample of water that was exposed to the soundwaves of this interview. This creates a visual representation that is influenced directly by the oral storytelling. It also allows me to depict a story visually without using any painful images or even if there is no photo documentation of the story at all. The soundscape playing in the background of this archive is comprised of distorted Morse code of Somali words as well as omitted portions of the interview with my Father. These forms of abstraction are a manner of ethical redaction. This is done to respect my Fathers comfort and wellbeing. It also allows me to represent complex words, memories, and emotions that may lose their nuance through translation or are otherwise ineffable.


Sheekada Bankii Naagi Taagnayd is an abstract audiovisual archive focusing on my Grandmother. This archived story delves into the traditions and beliefs held by her, giving a glimpse into who she was and how she thought. The film specifically centers on the story of the perilous journey her and my Father took through Bankii Naagi Taagnayd (Standing Woman Desert). This is one of the first stories my Father ever told me about my Grandmother or Somalia. It gave me a visceral understanding of my family, our beliefs and the land we come from. My father taught me Somali traditions, rituals and myths through this story. However, more importantly he taught me just how brave, kind and selfless my Grandmother was.


Warsame Isse is a Somali Diasporic Multimedia artist based in Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal. He graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelors in Communication Studies, and another in Western Society and Culture (2021). His practice investigates finding new ways to visualize and archive the more ineffable aspects of memory, language, and the Diasporic experience. Using microscopy, he creates surreal images of dried water droplets to visually archive memories. He incorporates distorted Morse code in his soundscapes to depict the nuance of translated words or to incorporate omitted sections of recorded conversations. Using this Afrosurrealist method he creates new forms of representing the emotions and experiences that cannot be fully expressed in words. Through his art, he aims to create spaces reminiscent of Frantz Fanon’s Third Space. In this space, a person is freed from the narratives and stereotypes they find themselves being defined by for most of their lives. In this Third Space, they are able to transform and go beyond these reductive narratives and reclaim a sense of humanity. Warsame Isse intends for his art to empower people to express themselves beyond the capability of language.


Harbour of Nevermore
 
Photographer: Darrell Varga - screen grab

"Harbour of Nevermore," a film on the Halifax harbour, a dreary somnolent port filled with a people as blustery as the cold north Atlantic wind. It was in the year of our lord one thousand, seven hundred forty nine came a cloud dark as night, a blunder upon this rocky land that until now time had left alone. A bastard son of England named Cornwallis, fresh from the killing fields of Culloden landed with layabouts, petty thieves, and all manner of the dregs of London. And so it goes, marching as to war.


Darrell Varga is a filmmaker, writer, and professor at NSCAD in the Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture, where he teaches film history and film production and is currently the president of the faculty union. He is the author of numerous books and essays, including: "Shooting From the East: Filmmaking on the Canadian Atlantic" (McGill-Queen's University Press). His feature documentary "Bread in the Bones" has screened at numerous festivals, won the best documentary award at the Atlantic Film Festival in 2020 and is available on numerous on-line platforms.