FUTURES/forward Mentorships: featuring Lara Aysal
FUTURES/forward Mentee, Lara Aysal — cohort #2 triad, May to September 2020 — mentored by David Diamond
— As part of the triad model, Lara was placed as an artist-in-residence at Greenpeace Canada where she created, facilitated, and piloted a community-based participatory arts project: “Theatrical Adaptations: Co-creation of Knowledge on Climate Change through Storytelling”.
LARA AYSAL is a climate justice and human rights activist, performance artist, facilitator of community-oriented projects. She has collaborated with a variety of communities in South Africa, South America, Turkey, Italy, Germany and Canada. Her work mainly focuses on child sexual abuse, youth in detention centres, migration, ethnic minority conflict and climate crisis. She is one of the co-founders of AA+A Contemporary Performance Research Project and Ray Performance Collective. Before starting her Ph.D. in Canada, she taught first and second year acting classes at Beykent University and published individual and collaborative ideas on Conference of the Parties (COP20), civil disobedience, theatre in conflict zones and poems on possibilities of hope. She is interested in the role of theatre to address, organize and take action within climate justice context though decolonizing methodologies. She finds joy in experimenting with tools of theatre to disturb everyday life. Lara received her BA (Honours) from Bilkent University Acting Department and her MA in Advanced Acting from Bahcesehir University. She is currently a Ph.D. student at University of Victoria Department of Theatre. https://laraaysal.com
The Project — “Theatrical Adaptations: Co-creation of Knowledge on Climate Change through Storytelling”: The complexity of climate change brings a high degree of uncertainty about what the future might bring, but it is also a critical moment in history that fosters an opportunity to share, practice and learn from each other about ways in which we can transform our future. This was a unique and creative arts-based program to “co-create” knowledge and discuss solutions to climate change with Indigenous and Western Knowledge Holders. It was an online series of workshops and feedback sessions using theatre storytelling methods. We were honoured to have two knowledge holders co-facilitate during this series: Audrey Siegl (Musqueam Nation, storyteller, artist, musician, activist) and Sarah Rosengard (UBC oceanographer). For more details on the project programming, read this PDF.
Inspiration for the project
Our workshop series was centred around bringing Western and Indigenous knowledge systems together through storytelling, with the guiding principles of Mi’kmaw Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing (Bartlett & Marshall, 2018) approach, as a form of community-based participatory art. Opening a pathway for a meaningful exchange of information between different knowledge systems could enable communities to reflect, not only on what actions must be taken, but also how actions should be taken in these challenging times. Our knowledge holders Audrey Siegl and Sarah Rosengard guided and inspired our intergenerational team of participants to explore our day-to-day struggle with issues around climate change. As a collective, we transformed them into the stories that we have co-created to inspire and empower others who may be in a similar place as we were then and now.
Read on to learn more about the project participants and listen/view their stories from the project presented in various media.
Linda Weech is a West Coast Canadian professional educator, artist and healer whose work focuses on the beauty and mystery of nature, humanity and the journey of realizing our universal oneness. She has been living her passion through integrating the expressive and healing arts, transformational education and community development. For over 35 years she has held classes, workshops and retreats for both local and international students of all ages and experience. Linda is also the founder and creative director of the ‘Children’s International Peace Project’ which is dedicated to peace and well-being for all humanity and nature. www.LindaWeech.com
Tiffany Yang is an artist, designer, snow sculptor and sustainable eco-educator. She graduated in 2016 from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and holds a bachelor’s in Interaction Design and a minor in S.P.A.C.E Social Practice and Community Engagement. Tiffany had been a Volunteer Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator at a local recycling social-enterprise: Green Chair Recycling Inc. since 2012. She has worked at events and festivals all over the Lower Mainland and guides volunteers to help sort and divert waste away from landfills and oceans. As an artist, she builds snow sculptures of endangered species to share her passion in conservation. Her goal is to inspire and spread awareness on leading a minimal lifestyle in a practical and very fun way to as many people as possible!
She Said There Was No Word for Love (PDF)
Said There Was No Word for Love (mp3) listen below
Happiness (mp3) listen below
Smoke and Delusion (PDF)
Smoke and Delusions (mp3) listen below
Please Continue Fighting (PDF)
Please Continue Fighting (mp3) listen below
Grace Golightly lives with respect and gratitude on the unceded lands of the Cowichan Tribes. She has a background in journalism, and is passionate about the importance of retaining trees, forests, and nature for the continued wellbeing of our planet. She volunteers with Community Trees Matter Network and with a grassroots group of old-growth forest defenders.
What’s That Stink (PDF)
7 Sonnets in 7 Directions East — watch below
Gilles Cyrenne is a Vancouver Downtown Eastside writer and poet. He has published one book of poetry and is working on a second one. He coordinates Downtown Eastside Writers Collective. Gilles write because language shapes reality and words create futures. Poetry expresses a passion for truth through words, sentences, stanza as it unites the world with electricity in his brain, heart, and breath, and communicates that unity. Expressing unity between what’s out there and what’s in him shapes a journey to truth and beauty, creates a reality that brings him to enlightenment, to less suffering, to peace of mind, to a quiet heart, connects him to community and creativity.
CHRISTINE A. ALLAN
Chemainus, BC Canada
Felix Goes Home (PDF)
International artist Christine A. Allan, originally from the prairie province of Manitoba, Canada, later moved to the West Coast of Canada. She has lived in a number of small communities in British Columbia, including a remote Native Community on the West Coast of Canada, where she learned First Nations Art from a respected Nuu-chun-nulth sculptor and teacher. Although Christine used art to cope with an unstable life growing up, her later studies in Archaeology, Art History, and Fine Art, led her to explore many forms of creative expression. Christine has been an exhibiting artist for over 20 years. Her latest environmental work is not only inspired by the environment, but is made using hand-made paint with only organic pigment and linseed oil and then wood-burned. She has exhibited her mixed media paintings at many international events including the Salon des Independents in Paris (2015), the London Biennale (2013), in New York private galleries and in a museum exhibition in Japan. Christine has won awards for her art including an Award of Excellence for her new work at the London Biennale, England (2019) and an Award of Merit for her use of sfumato at the Chianciano Biennale, Italy (2013). Many of her pieces are in private collections around the world. Christine supports Greenpeace, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Plastic Oceans, and other organizations dedicated to protecting biodiversity, ocean conservation, wildlands conservation and climate change.
The Raven Is (PDF)
The Raven Is (mp3) listen below
Sheryl Mountenay is a nature loving bird enthusiast. The black-capped chickadee and the wind are all her best friends. She often finds joy in the little things in the great-out-doors.
DAMLA EKIN TOKEL
Damla Ekin Tokel was born in 1985, in Ankara. She studied theatre at Bilkent University (Ankara) and modern dance at Yıldız Technical University (İstanbul). She worked as an actor and dancer in various projects. During her master’s in Critical and Cultural Studies at Boğaziçi University (İstanbul), she started to write performance criticism and to practice dramaturgy in others’ projects. She moved to Brussels to pursue her artistic research project initiated at a.pass (advanced performance and scenography studies). Nowadays, except for being full-time mother and ex-squatter, she is still involved in the housing rights movement in Brussels. She indulges in dramaturgy, writing, and developing her research on Semi-Private Performance.
A little short story about a boat (PDF)
Can Güvenç was born in Ankara in 1986. After Graduating from Bilkent University’s Faculty of Music and Performing Arts Acting Department, he started working as an actor at Turkish State Theatre in Ankara and then in İstanbul. In 2012 he participated in forming the “Ray Performance Collective” and performed, facilitated plays, performances, forum theatre projects with the Collective. In 2014, he met with Lecoq Pedagogy, acting with mask, clown and storytelling. He continues working in independent companies like KAST, Project Diffusion, and Spoilinist as an actor.
Missing biography: Jessica Fong
* Many thanks to Tiffany Yang and Jessica Fong for volunteering for the digital design, curating and editing of all the stories. This would not have been possible without your generosity.
ICASC wishes to thank Greenpeace Canada for this collaboration and hosting Lara Aysal’s artist-in-residency. FUTURES/forward gratefully acknowledges that Lara’s mentorship thrived due in part to the generous support of the McConnell Foundation, BC Arts Council, and Judith Marcuse Projects.