Artist
Cheryl L’Hirondelle

Metis/Cree Nation / Canada
www.cheryllhirondelle.com

Cheryl L’Hirondelle is an Alberta-born, Metis/Cree, interdisciplinary artist and singer/songwriter. Since the early 1980s, L’Hirondelle has created, performed and presented work in a variety of artistic disciplines, including music, performance art, theatre, performance poetry, storytelling, installation, and new media. Her creative practice investigates a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time-space. L’Hirondelle develops endurance-based performances, interventions, site-specific installations, interactive net.art projects, and keeps singing, making rhythm, songs, dancing, and telling stories whenever and wherever she can. She has performed and exhibited her work widely both in Canada and abroad, and her previous musical efforts and new media work have garnered her critical acclaim and numerous awards.

Performance
êkâya-pâhkaci by Cheryl L’Hirondelle

êkâya-pâhkaci [ee-guy-uh-puck-a-chee] (don’t freeze up)

êkâya-pâhkaci operates through an intersection of nomadic site-specificity, visual patterning, language, narrative, movement and rhythm. In this work the artist stages a performance presented under an adaptable traveling tent from where she relates and offers information to the audience using her body, voice and graffiti/tagging. The audience, by proximity and in accepting her invitation to witness her activities “comes in from the cold” and becomes part of her “camp.”

Presented in the context of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Art Festival

Faculty of Art Speaker’s Series: An Evening with Cheryl L’Hirondelle
October 15, 2008 @ 6:00pm
Ontario College of Art & Design, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto

Series
IDea

Curatorial Statement by Paul Couillard

Issues of identity are at the centre of IDea, FADO’s multi-year international performance art series. Chris Barker writes that cultural politics are about “the power to name; the power to represent common sense; the power to create ‘official versions’; and the power to represent the legitimate social world.” These powers speak to identity in a territorial, institutionalized framework, but performance practices offer the possibility of turning their presumed weaknesses—contingency, ephemerality and aterritoriality—into strengths, by offering a potentially decolonized, non-institutional forum.

The concept of identity has been at the forefront of art discourse since the 1980s. Performance artists have been particularly concerned with how our various identities are constructed, how they mark us and how they influence self-understanding. At the same time, artists have also used performance tactics to problematize and transform their identities. In recent years, the debate has shifted to examine identity issues in subtler, less didactic ways, using the territory of identity as a ground for complex and often ambivalent readings of subjectivity, hybridity and representation. IDea draws from this growing body of work.

The series considers a broad range of identity labels, including gender, skin colour, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance, familial role, economic status, political affiliation and profession, to name a few of the more obvious possibilities. In blunt terms, the series will circulate around an underlying set of interrelated questions. How do we accept or resist these multiple identities? Which do we choose to embrace, and why? What identity labels are misleading, unhelpful or irrelevant, and in what ways? How do these labels intersect with one another? How do they determine the nature and quality of our lives? How do they contribute to a sense of belonging or alienation?

While these questions inform the series, they are only a contextualizing lens, not a prescription for how individual projects should or will be structured. IDea is not about representation, or the politics of difference, which is to say that the intention is not to assemble a collection that presents one of each kind. We are not encouraging strident political statements (though there is certainly room for them), but rather, featuring works that reveal something about how the creators understand and situate themselves. Along the way, we also hope to track how artists use performance tactics to circumvent prescribed attitudes and behaviours around identity.

IDea seeks to consider a range of bodily identities—physical, social, political, emotional, and spiritual. To provide further context for the series, commissioned critical that respond to each of the performances. These texts will come from an interdisciplinary variety of thinkers in the realms of philosophy, religion, politics and science.


The IDea series presented 12 performance projects between 2005–2007, and was curated by Paul Couillard.

Series Purple

An ode to FADO's history, Series Purple is composed of a collection of purple fragrance materials dating back to the Roman Empire. Dense, intense, and meandering, this fragrance tells us non-linear stories.

Top Notes

huckleberry, violet

Middle Notes

cassis, lilac, heliotrope

Base Notes

orris root, purple sage, labdanum