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LA WEFAN MANIGUA is a collaborative, site-specific, interventionist sculpture with sound and interactive video, as part of the Wild New Territories touring group exhibition to London, Vancouver and Berlin.
Kathy Kenny and Ron Den Daas: Wild New Territories: Curators
"Featuring artists from Vancouver’s Dana Claxton to London’s Gillian Wearing, and integrating exhibitions, performances and workshops as well as outdoor installations, the project, co-curated by Ron den Daas and Kathy Kenny, would seem to up the ante for multi-pronged, multi-locale endeavours across the country in future." Canadian Art Jan 10, 2013
Particpating artists: Henry Bragg, Gordon Cheung, Dana Claxton, Ron den Daas, Jamie Griffiths, Edgar Heap of Birds, Foreign Investment, Mars Kaliszewski, Kathy Kenny, Max Kimber, Michael Landy, Glenn Lewis, Michael Morris, Bo Myers, Diego Samper, Vincent Trasov, Gillian Wearing, Alma Tischler Wood and Cornelia Wyngaarden
In January 2012, jamie joined Colombian/Canadian artist Diego Samper at Calanoa Amazonas Nature Reserve on the Amazon River in Colombia, to develop their concept for an experimental film project. Jamie spent several weeks immersed in the Amazon ecosystem alongside Diego and his wife, Marlene, being introduced to local Ticuna, Mocagua and Huitoto indigenous communities, artists and shamans, while also working as a volunteer researcher for a video/camera equipped library boat, the Yacaré, to serve the local indigenous communities. While gathering digital media during this trip, Jamie examined her outsider role in the complex sphere of contemporary Amazonian politics and ethics, while collaborating with Diego Samper, who has spent 40 years exploring, documenting and living-in-relationship with the ‘Big Dark Forest’ (La Manigua).
In Vancouver in the spring of 2012, Jamie invited longtime collaborator Rob Scharein to join the project with her, to develop a 'species' of insects for the video part of the 'La Wefan Manigua' installation. (The Woven Forest)
The artists that have built LA WEFAN MANIGUA hope that the experience of a temporary simulated immersion in an Amazon ecosystem while visiting urbanized parklands, will trigger thoughts about the history of both the Amazon, and of the lost natural ecosystems of the park spaces where the works are being installed. They hold up contemporary fine art practice against a backdrop of historical, colonial and contemporary ecosystem destructions, pulling a thread forward from the Anglo-Saxon/Roman past of Kings Cross's lost rivers and marshlands across to Canada's aboriginal genocides and contemporary issues of racism and broken treaties, through to the present day massive scale urban developments surrounding Camley Street Natural Park in London's Kings Cross. Finally, by exhibiting a video portrait of the artist in the Amazon, jamie turn the lens on herself, thereby questioning non-aboriginal excursions into the wild, for the sake of adventure, eco-tourism and art.
La Wefan Manigua asks visitors to ponder their own role in global urban/wild dynamics. It acknowledges the ongoing exploitation and destruction of indigenous people and their territories alongside ongoing harvesting of natural ecosystem 'resources' for commercial use across all regions.
Sept-Oct 2012 Camley St Natural Park, Kings Cross, London, UK.
The work was installed as an outdoor interactive sculptural installation with sound and video projections. If a park visitor settled into the area quietly, the sounds of the Amazon at dusk become audible, gradually merging with the ambient sounds of the urban park. The soundscape was derived from field recordings of the Colombian Amazon forest, river ecology and indigenous peoples. If the visitor remained quiet, they experienced a 60 minute audio immersion into a rainforest ecology many thousands of miles away in the Colombian Amazon, interspersed with the sounds of a Makuna tribal village. Fireflies created from light, emerged at dusk to swarm in the trees around 'vines' made from felted wool with a jute core. The vines were loosely gathered together... 'woven'... to represent both the commodification of nature and the unity of natural ecosystems.
Download a pdf file Info & photographs of WNT London 2012.
Jan 12 -April 12 2013 Simon Fraser Gallery, Canada Place & Stanley Park, Vanc.,BC.
See video and photos of La Wefan Manigua at the Simon Fraser Gallery exhibition.
Map of the Guided walk Teck Gallery, via Canada Place to Stanley Park/XWayXway via the seawall.
In Vancouver, La Wefan Manigua became a multi-part installation
STANLEY PARK La Wefan Manigua brings the Colombian Amazon into Stanley Park, connecting it to BC’s old growth forest ecology. It compares the forced removal of the Squamish village at Xwayxway out of the park 120 years ago, with ongoing encroachments in the Amazon river basin. Park visitors hear the amplified sounds of Colombia’s Amazon ecology and the Makuna tribal nation alongside an old growth stump and the failed artificial salmon stream (a parks board ecological regeneration project).
PDF Brief history of First Nations communities in Stanley Park/Xwayxway
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY GALLERY In the gallery, artifical liana’s (hanging vines) are exhibited inside a museum exhibition case, swarmed by an artificial species of fireflies.
CANADA PLACE On the screen at Canada Place and in the Bear Pit television installation, the artist poses for the camera, in front of the buttress roots of a massive tree on a nature reserve in the Colombian Amazon, while time and space dissolve, implicating her in both historical pioneering colonialism and neo-colonialist ecotourism.
Sept-Nov 2013 Berlin Botanical Garden, Berlin, Germany.
Sound installation in the Begonia House. Dolby surround sound. Multiple hidden speakers. Visitors experience either the sounds of the Colombian Amazon or the streets of Covent Garden in London as they enter the space, depending which side they enter from. As they progress through the Begonia House a clash of audio begins as the two recordings bleed with each other in the space.
Amazonas, Colombia: The sounds of the forest and the songs of a Ticuna shaman and villagers.
Covent Garden, London: Pedestrian tourists, street sounds and a homeless man playing "The Saints" on a traffic cone.