Artist
Aiyyana Maracle

November 25, 1950 – April 24, 2016

Born November 25th, 1950, on the Six Nations territory on the Grand River near Ohsweken in southern Ontario, Aiyyana grew up in Rochester and Buffalo, New York. Spending time in Vancouver, Toronto, Chippewa territory, and Montréal, in 2010 she returned to the Six Nations reservation. On April 24, 2016, Aiyyana Maracle died surrounded by her loving family and friends.

Aiyyana Maracle was a multi-disciplinary artist, scholar, educator, story-crafter and storyteller. For half a century, Aiyyana was actively involved in the merging of Ogwehoweh art and culture into the Euro-centric world and consciousness. For 20+ years she sought that same inclusion for herself and other gender-variant folks by offering an alternate framework to the prevalent Euro-centric view of gender. Aiyyana Maracle was both a maker and keeper of culture.

Describing herself in her article “A Journey in Gender” as a “transformed woman who loves women,” Aiyyana’s work steered people towards a decolonized understanding of gender and sexuality. Through her work she argued that in most traditional Indigenous cultures gender identifications fall outside the strict confines of the gender binary and are recognized as both socially and spiritually integral to the culture.  Her one-woman show, Chronicle of a Transformed Woman, detailed her use of traditional medicine rituals for transitioning genders while struggling under colonial rule.

Aiyyana’s work, which reflected her various transformations in relation to her ongoing process of decolonization, received numerous honours and recognitions. She’s believed to be the first Indigenous person to be awarded the John Hirsch Prize, a national award for the most artistically exciting new director in Canadian theatre (1997). In addition to performing across Ontario and Chippewa territory, in 1998 she exhibited an installation and a performance piece at the Second International Transgendered Art Festival in London, England. She is the author of the book, Chronicle of a Transformed Woman (2000), and many articles.


Source: https://www.uvic.ca/transgenderarchives/collections/maracle/index.php

Performance
ndn wars are alive, and…well? by Aiyyana Maracle

FADO is pleased to feature the world premiere of a new performance by award-winning artist Aiyyana Maracle. Join us in the ravine of Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park on the evening of October 22 when Maracle presents ndn wars are alive, and … well?, a multimedia performance with video projections. This performance is presented in the context of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.

Inventive, passionate and multi-talented, Maracle is known for her eloquent actions that assert the ongoing struggle for aboriginal presence and title in this country, particularly in her ongoing “peace piece” series. She is also recognized as a key contributor to Vancouver’s vibrant First Nations performance art scene.

Maracle provides this pointed commentary about her new work:

“The ndn wars: Canada’s Indigenous people remain resistant to the perpetuation of an unjust colonial relationship with ‘the Crown,’ and within Canadian society. The Crown, by its own actions and inactions more so than its words, continues to show its resistance to entering into a new era of an equitable, respectful, peaceful relationship between our cultures and peoples. Canada the meek; Canada, the world’s peacekeeper. Can there be peace in this world while this country remains so willing to, yet again, engage in violent repression of the Indigenous people of this land?”

Masks by Aiyyana Maracle
Video by Aiyyana Maracle and La Mathilde

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