Minister Kenney Launches Refugee Voices

Voices of Refugees Installation launched by Immigration  and Citizenship’s Minister Jason Kenney, June 2009.

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The Voices of Refugees Multimedia Installation was officially launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney on June 16 2009.  SEE www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/2009/

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Minister Kenney Launches “Voices of Refugees”

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 16, 2009) – In recognition of World Refugee Day, “Voices of Refugees,” a new multi-media presentation combining portraits with videos of refugees telling their stories, was unveiled today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM, Representative in Canada of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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“Voices of Refugees enables refugees to share their stories with all Canadians, to show that there are real people in real danger,” said Minister Kenney. “Refugees are sometimes forgotten as a faceless group stranded in a far away land. We need to heed these voices and listen to their stories.”

This project came from two ordinary Canadians – Graham Thompson and Sherry Tompalski – doing extraordinary things. The partnership between these two Canadians and the refugee artists featured in the multi-media presentation is the kind of initiative that will help bridge communities and build a more inclusive and cohesive Canada for all.

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“These works of art speak for themselves and help us understand that refugees are not faceless statistics, but real people with talents and with real needs like you and me. Ask them and you will know that every refugee has a moving story to tell,” said Mr. Abraham.

Every year Canada’s refugee programs provide protection to more than 30,000 people. We have a fair and generous domestic refugee protection system that is well regarded internationally. Through our resettlement program, we provide protection to 1 in 10 refugees who are resettled globally. In fact, since World War II, Canadians have provided refuge to over 1 million refugees.

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Even so, the Government of Canada is exploring ways to improve the refugee status determination system and our resettlement approach in order to better help refugees. Canada must focus our resources where they can do the most good. Working with its many partners including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, private sponsors and service providers, Canada is helping refugees begin their lives anew.

Voices of Refugees is a testament to those who have already come to Canada and of the thousands still in need of protection. This presentation highlights the remarkable bravery of these individuals and the important contributions they are making to Canadian society.

Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal

Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal, Retrospective of net.art features North-South-East-West, 2008.

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The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal’s Electronic Magazine,  issue No 32 a Retrospective of net.art, features North-South-East-West Web Site in December 2008.

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The North-South-East-West web site was reviewed as follows:

COSMOGONY ALGONKINE CACHÉE/MONTRÉE?

About the well-known work of Graham Thomson, North-South-East-West, we will recall his operating mode first of all, like its organization.     With the opening of the URL an interface of reception informs us of the format of the work, carried out under Flash.

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If the hyperlector chooses not to have any action, it will discover a sequence of four distinct sequences:

  • a very fast succession of images lets to us guess a plan of country, or city. It is necessary to make use of several captures of screens, then to increase them, to realize that the plan in question is that of the Contracting State of Minnesota (or of the state), the USA. Area bordering, should it be pointed out, of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, ancestral grounds of Algonkins;
  • an anthropomorphic figure, that one will be able to associate a totemic representation, becomes animated on a bottom of horizontal screens. A cube drawn in three D also rolls on the space representation which this screen constitutes;
  • in tone bluish, dark, a heavenly object occupies the bottom of a scene which seems left an space-opera. A hinged jib (Canadian technology?) approaches a unit which could be a space base;
  • finally, of the parabolas, fixed on pylons, roofs, seem to receive waves coming from the sky.   Once the hyperlector will have shelled dissolve-connected these four sequences, it will have to click on one or the other of the bonds hypertexts to discover a new interface – which will give him access to the contents of work itself.

In a very simple way, and as many works born on the Web could show it to us, the interface of work is appeared as a space metaphor. In top north, bellow the south, on the left the west and is on the right.

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Under each of the four cardinal points, a list from five to eight names proposes to us, thanks to the hypertext link, to discover an animated sequence. Before returning on their contents, we stop a few moments on another element of the interface, which will be always present at the screen, méta-bars it navigation. The choices suggested by this méta-bar are as follows, rather similar to those which one can find on considerable sites: exit, home, contact, information.

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The subparagraph “information” will teach us that work is inspired by the symbolic system of the cardinal points traditional of the people algonkin. One will not be thus surprised to have discovered only the plan which ravelled at any speed in introduction was that of a state in the past (and also in a contemporary way) populated algonkins.

All work then, can be included/understood starting from this aspect of the introduction. The history of the American settlement being supposed known of all, one could only be sensitive to the fact that the people algonkin, like all the indigenous people of two Americas, have a report/ratio with the eminently problematic territory, conflict, even painful.

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This territory, that the Amerindian people had by force to divide with Europeans, it is represented here in extreme cases of the visible one. So much so that one is forced to fix the image by capture of screen, to discover that it was about a plan of Minnesota.

The territory, literally, is hidden, virtual. It is in addition the territory of the other, since the place names are for the majority resulting from the Anglo-Saxon space representation: Cambridge, Turkey Not, Normandale, etc… It is a case emblematic of the use of information technologies and communication – where the appearance and disappearance as well as the tape speed of the images make direction.

This territory hidden, evoked perhaps by this totemic dance of the introduction, then moved in the space, and finally reinvested on ground through the waves received by parabolas, the body of work then proposes to us to discover it.

It while clicking on different the items is contained under the headings North South – East – West that we will be able to open the sequences having for name:    winter, snow, elder, courage, ice, endurance (North), summer, spirit, quest, secrecies, bloom, vision, adolesence, youth (South), birth, dawn, spring, flower, sun (East), automn, adult, thunder, sunset, renewal, (West).

With the choice, one will stop on the sequence “Vision”, in the North heading, to hear the message whereby “Vision C not reveal”; or one will hear, in “Dawn” this thought animist “All that belongs to the earth belongs to me”. But there is not the essence of our reading: the quality of animations, of the spoken or sung sequences, all that is left with the appreciation of each visitor, according to his sensitivity. It will be noticed only that none the many rewards received by this work is usurped.

What must hold our attention, it is connect it simplicity of the device, behind which semiotics questions differently more complex hide.

The list of the items reproduced above informs us indeed that certain sequences are called in reference to the season (winter…) and in connection with such or such cardinal point; other sequences indicate natural phenomena (snow, ice, flower, sun, thunder); others milked in the human condition (elder, adolesence, youth, birth, adult); others still refer to human or animal qualities (courage, endurance…); and others finally with phenomena of calendarity (dawn, sunset, renewal).

What it is necessary to point of the finger, it is the extreme diversity of the items and the extremely different registers which they indicate: natural seasons (long calendarity), phenomena, age group, human and/or animal quality, short calendarity.

Consequently, the action to click on one or the other of these items, and the surprise to each time discover a different sequence by its setting in image, the absence or the presence of a said text, etc… puts the hyperlector in a situation of imbalance with the project openly announced by the work – which is, let us recall it, inspired of the symbolic system of the cardinal points of the nation algonkine. How indeed to build a knowledge of this cosmogony if no methodology is proposed by the author – and whereas we are in a new mode of expression?

Moreover, one will notice the readily enigmatic character of certain sequences – which seem to function according to a logic well more oneiric rational.

In short, none known in the past cognitive maps seems respected here: we find the linearity of the written text and its paratextuelle organization, neither the syntax of the cinematographic writing (fictional or documentary), nor the methodology of the museographic modes of exposure, etc…

It however remains that the work of Graham Thomson transmits a message well to us, and more still that a message the feeling to have shared a significant experiment.

The logic which seems to prevail is well more that of the dream – a dream directly connected to psyché of Amerindian people – a logic which one will be able to say transverse, for want of anything better for the moment.

It is perhaps the greatest quality of this work, which all at the same time enchants us in the most naive way, and reserves questions differently more difficult to us, having milked with semiotics, and the development of a specific critical language.

Xavier Malbreil

The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal Overview

The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal (CIAC) is a non-profit organisation administered by a board of directors and managed by personnel with an expertise in artistic production, communications and arts administration. The mandate of the CIAC is to disseminate contemporary art from Québec, Canada and abroad. Initially identified with the visual arts, the CIAC also showcases the creative practices of artists working in design, graphic art, art film and video, architecture and urbanism, and landscape architecture.

The CIAC’s aim is to make its activities accessible to the greatest possible number of visitors. It employs various strategies to achieve this, including exhibitions, conferences, discussions between artists and the public and educational activities for a variety of target groups. The CIAC has no permanent space for its activities. It temporarily occupies various locations suited to each event, whether a museum, an unused warehouse, a park or other public space, a gallery or exhibition venue, etc. First identified with the visual arts, the CIAC also disseminates the work of professionals in object design and graphic design, video and art film, architecture and town planning, architecture landscape.

From 1985 to 1996, the CWC was mainly noted for organizing the hundred days of Contemporary Art of Montreal.  In 1998, he set up the Montreal Biennale (BNL MTL), an international biennial included in the biennial network of major cities in the world. In addition to the organization of artistic events, the CIAC also carries out cultural work, aimed at an in-depth understanding of the stakes of contemporary art, which took the form of various programs of activities, in particular the annual competition Of Young Critics in Visual Arts (1997 to 2007).

Finally, the CIAC online edits the CIAC’s Electronic Magazine. This bilingual magazine (English and French) offers critical works and general information on active artists in the middle of the web art (or line art ) and the institutions that disseminate it.

Parliament of Canada, Refugee Voices

Federal Minister Jason Kenney launches the Voices of Refugees Installation at the Parliament of Canada in 2009.

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The Voices of Refugees Installation was exhibited at the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa Ontario June 16, 2009. The multimedia event featured 8 portraits of refugees from Central America, Central Asia and Africa, with segments of their life stories displayed on four large screen video monitors and was introduced by Federal Minister Jason Kenney.

The Voices of Refugees Project at the Canadian Parliament

The event involved 4 large video displays, 10 short films, 8 portraits and the music of Tito Medina, revolutionary singer from Guatemala in celebration of World Refugee Week. The project was reviewed by Radio Canada International’s Link Program, Tony Martins of Guerrilla Magazine of Ottawa and Alan Neal on CBC’s Ottawa Morning.

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The event included the following speakers: The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Abraham ABRAHAM the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representative in Canada. The projects partners included United Nations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Coalition of New Canadians for Art and Culture. The project’s funders included the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council, City of Ottawa and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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Tito Medina Backgrounder

Mayan musician and activist Tito Medina was just a kid when his songs got him into trouble in his home country Guatemala. After fleeing Guatemala he lived in several countries – Nicaragua and Mexico – before settling in Canada.

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Tito Medina in front of his Portrait

Tito recounts, “I started to sing songs about what was happening in my country when I was twelve years old. I have two brothers that are still missing, disappeared. My mom was heavily tortured both by national forces and foreign international advisers and mining companies, that have small armies locally. They force the people out of their communities, you know, they just to strike gold or nickel or something. We need to learn to forgive but we don’t have to forget.”

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Victor Fuentes Video Transcript

SINGING: What’s the use of having so much, What the use of having so much power, If when the day of my death comes, Nothing, absolutely nothing, I am going to take with me. What the use of having so many possessions? What is the use of all these wealth? When there are so many that have nothing? No even a bread on the table? SPEAKING: I was almost killed in my country, I was tortured, I was arrested on 2 occasions, I was a student at the National Salvadorian University. 1 week the first time, with no food, no sleeping, no water, being beaten up by 7 soldiers, although, I couldn’t see anybody. The first time I was put into a torture chamber, they put me on a chair and I was blindfolded. I was hand cuffed in the back. There was a minute of silence, complete silence, before they started to beat me up.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Press Release

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Guerilla Magazine Ottawa, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits reviewed by Tony Martins of Guerilla Magazine Ottawa, 2008.

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The Talking Portraits Series was review by the Guerilla Magazine of Ottawa Canada in an article entitled Portraiture by Intuition by Tony Martins in issue #8 in June 2008.

Portraiture by Intuition by Tony Martins

Do we create images of who we are on our own or through unseen collaboration with others? The “Talking Portraits” installations of wife and husband Sherry Tompalski and Graham Thompson use technology to capture a “co-creation” that is mostly invisible, highly intuitive, and quintessentially human.

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Rarely have I seen such compelling evidence of human intuition as I did on the morning I arrived at Sherry Tompalski’s studio to serve as subject for one of her portraits. I had met with the Tompalski and her husband Graham Thompson (both are Ottawa-based artists) a few weeks earlier over coffee to discuss possible treatments of their new multi-media collaboration in Guerilla. When Tompalski suggested that I could obtain a first-hand view of things by sitting for a portrait, I readily agreed and we began to make arrangements.

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The Talking Portraits series documents the creation of Tompalski’s oil-on-canvas portraits using three integrated components: the finished portrait; a time-lapse video of the portrait in the making; and an audio recording of whatever Tompalski’s subjects verbalize while beneath the gaze of the portraitist. As you may see in the three talking portraits we present here, the sum total is an almost spooky emergence of a distinct personality through shape, colour, image, and sound. Tompalski is a practicing psychiatrist. For her, the series serves as visual confirmation that “90% of what goes on between two people is unconscious”—an idea she credits to Daniel Stern, a professor of psychiatry and psychology and a noted expert in mother-infant relationship.

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In a slightly different sense, the Talking Portraits are an instance of co-construction, “the theory that there is a mutual reciprocal bi-directional interaction between two people that is unconscious,” explains Tompalski.

Which is sort of like a fancy way of saying intuition—which brings me back to that morning in Tompalski’s studio.

The smiling portraitist greeted me at the door and ushered me upstairs, where Thompson was attending to his video and audio set up. A 3×3-foot canvas was already positioned on an easel. It was nearly covered with large square swaths of purple paint.

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“This is the colour that reflects my impression of you after our first meeting,” explained Tompalski.

“Actually, purple is my favorite colour,” I replied.

“Well, there you go,” said Tompalski.

There was laughter and then knowing smiles all around. Simply by conversing over a cup of coffee, Tompalski and I had already begun to “co-create” my portrait. She had intuited the colour that best represents my conception of self and confidently used it as the foundation for the portrait.

Although Tompalski and Thompson have been married for 25 years, Talking Portraits is their first formal artistic collaboration. The idea began to take shape late last year, when the couple returned from an Asian tour where Thompson presented his digital artwork through a variety of new media installations.

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“Graham decided to document the series of large faces I was painting, as he was interested in capturing my intuitive approach to portraiture. We viewed the videos together, saw the possibilities, and began experimenting with voice tracks, music and time-lapse photography.”

On Friday, May 26, the Talking Portraits made a one-night appearance at Ottawa’s La Petite Mort Gallery. Previously, the Talking Portraits have appeared at the Red Salon Artists in Ottawa, the Bridge Street Gallery in Carleton Place, the Steam Whistle Gallery in Toronto (where the portrait “Sam” is in the permanent collection), and at the Ontario Psychiatric Association annual meeting in Toronto.

After the LPM show, the series was slated to appear at Ottawa’s Cumberland Gallery and Cube Gallery. The first international solo show of the Talking Portraits takes place at the ARC Gallery in Chicago in November and early December.

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Tompalski says the next phase in the Talking Portraits evolution will include a 90-minute ambient video version.

“The project will be shot in high definition video and the portraits will develop very slowly, in a hypnotic soothing way, and will be shown on a large screen,” Tompalski explained.

Recalling how I had yammered on about myself while sitting for my portrait, I wondered how other Talking Portraits subjects had behaved.

“I have no expectation that the person must talk, and as a result, there is a great deal of variety,” said Tompalski.

“For example, one woman sat for four hours and made only one comment. However that comment was extremely poignant and meaningful.”

SAW Video Ottawa, Metis Media Fest 2007

Metis Media Fest 2007,  24 Aboriginal Artists, 50 videos, 25 digital images and 10 audio tracks presented at SAW Video Media Arts Ottawa.

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Metis Media Fest 2007 was exhibited at the SAW Video Media Arts Centre in Ottawa Canada on August 30, 2007. The multimedia Installation featured 50 videos, 25 digital images and 10 audio tracks in collaboration with 24 Aboriginal Artists from Australia, The Philippines, Peru, Canada and the USA.

Metis Media Fest 2007 ran from 4-8 PM Thursday on August 30, 2007 in CLUB SAW in the Arts Court Building at 2 Daly Street (corner of Daly and Nicholas in Ottawa’s Market District). The videos, digital images and audio tracks were featured within an immersive installation of computers and video projectors. Excerpts of the works were shown on the main screens with the unedited versions available on the computers within the installation.

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Exhibited videos included: “Singing Home the Bones: A Poet Becomes Himself” by Hilary Pryor, “Buried Traces” by Michelle Smith, “Hybred” by Christine Kirouac, “Anwolek- Regatta City” by Dana Claxton, “Sierra’s Song” by John Barnard. VIdeos were digitized and “mashed-up” or “remixed” on 8 large screens. Full length Video, audio and digital images were presented through an interface on 5 available computers.

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Marcel Fayant – The 2nd Dumbest Question of the 20th Century

Videos Exhibited – Artist, Title

  • James Diamond Mars – Womb Man
  • James Diamond – Private Property
  • Terry Haines – Skin for Life
  • Terry Haines – Raven Heart
  • Terry Haines – Dragonfly
  • RoseAnne Archibald – Class Clown
  • RoseAnne Archibald – Payuk Sashkeehitowin (One Love) Peuk Nepi,
  • James Nicholas – Meeting Waterwoman
  • Dana Claxton Anwolek – Regatta City
  • Hilary Pryor – Singing Home The Bones: A Poet Becomes Himself.
  • Marcel Fayant – The 2nd Dumbest Question of the 20th Century
  • Marcel Fayant – The 3rd Dumbest Question of the 20th Century
  • Marcel Fayant – The Response to the Dumbest Question of the 20th Century
  • Marcel Fayant – Native Dance Movement

The Metis Media Fest asks “What does it mean to be Metis?”

The films, YouTube videos, audio tracks, digital images, and photographs featured the work of Aboriginal artists from Canada, USA, Australia, Peru and the Philippines that examine issues around Aboriginal/European heritage, including why people of mixed heritage may or may not identify themselves as Métis.

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Digital Images by Wayne Phillips

This family-friendly event featured 50 videos, 25 digital images and 10 audio tracks, all presented within an immersive installation of computers and video projectors. Excerpts of the works will be shown on the main screen with the unedited versions available on the computers within the installation.

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Anwolek – Regatta City by Dana Claxton

The event will be of interest to audiences of Aboriginal culture as well as those seeking a technological experience. The work ranges from traditional  to experimental. In 2007, The Installation included electronic works of Aboriginal artists from Vancouver, Montreal, Saskatoon, Regina, Fargo, Lima, Baguio and Melbourne.

ARC Gallery Chicago, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits at ARC Gallery of Chicago in November  2006.

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Tompalski’s Talking Portrait installation opened at the ARC Gallery of Chicago on November 6, 2006. It was covered by CANTV and later broadcast November 19th at 3pm on CAN TV 21.

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The installation of 12 portaits, 6 videos and 7 portable CD Players were exhibited from November 1 to December 3, 2006 at 734 N. Milwaukee (corner of Milwaukee & Carpenter) Chicago USA. Videos of Graham, Jane, Carol, Marlene, Annick and Tony were displayed in a continuous loop on a video monitor at the centre of the installation. The corresponding audio tracks were made available on portable CD players so that visitors could listen to individual sound tracks as they view the 36″x 36″ portraits from the series. See the image below.

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The Talking Portrait Installation Overview

The installation includes audio, video and painted portraits. The portraits are painted from a live model sitting for approximately six hours. The audio portion is edited from the comments, questions and reflections made by the model during the sitting. The time-lapse photography records the development of the portrait.

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Typically, the painted portraits, exhibited as a matrix of faces, are inscribed with bold brush strokes and adventurous colours, that capture the psychological experience of the subjects. Tompalski’s work is concerned with intuition, interpretation, and  co-construction (the unconscious dialogue experienced during the portrait sitting.) Sherry Tompalski  states “To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which we feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. “

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The sound tracks, were developed by splicing together the unscripted comments between the subject and artist with computer music and an assortment of sampled sounds added.

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This dialogue allows for a momentary glimpse into the process of co-construction through the model’s verbal dialogue and the painter’s visual expression. The time-lapse photography displays the development of the portrait. The hypnotic effect helps the audience take the time to look and become engaged with the painted portrait.

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Thanks to our Supporters

Special thanks goes to Galeries Saw of Ottawa Canada, the Ontario Arts Council for their support in developing this show and to the coverage we received from CANTV who filmed the opening reception.

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ARC Gallery Backgrounder

The ARC Gallery is a not-for-profit, artist run gallery located in Chicago’s River West Neighborhood. ARC is an internationally recognized alternative space and has been an integral part of the Chicago art community since 1973. The ARC Gallery’s mission is to bring innovative, emerging and/or experimental visual art to a wide range of viewers, and to provide a nurturing atmosphere for the continued development of artistic potential and dialogue.

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Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park

North-South-East-West at Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Ping Dong 2005.

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The North-South-East-West Video Installation with Metis storyteller Graham Thompson was exhibited at the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park in Ping Dong Taiwan in March 2005.

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The Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan

The indigenous peoples in Taiwan refer to the inhabitants who had been living on the islands before major Han Chinese immigration began in the 17th century. Culturally and linguistically, they belong to the Austronesian group. The Austronesian peoples, covering the most inclusive peoples in the world with the majority in Southeast Asia, originates from Taiwan in the north, extends to Easter Islands in South America in the east, and reaches Madagascar in the eastern coast of Africa in the west. The common characteristics to the Austronesian peoples are building houses on stilts to protect against damp, insects, and snakes; adopting slash-and-burn farming style; keen on chewing betel nuts, good at bamboo and rattan weaving; relying on hunting and fishing; and among others.

Taiwan is located in the very north point of the distribution of the Austronesian people and has been maintaining close contacts with the Austronesian peoples in the nearby South Pacific Islands for the last hundred thousand years. The various archaeological evidences suggest that Taiwan should be the origin of the distribution of the Austronesian peoples thousands years ago and should have played a critical geographical location as the origin of Ancient Austronesian peoples and in the process of migration to the South Pacific Islands.

The Origins of the Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan

It is currently said that there are two approaches to explain the origin of the Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan. One advocates that the origin of the indigenous peoples is located outside of Taiwan; the other one discerns that Taiwan is the ancient origin of the Austronesian peoples. The former theory is commonly popular and scholars testify in terms of languages, archaeology, literature review, folklore legends to conclude that the origin of the indigenous peoples should be the southeast coast of China. Scholars even predict the plausible era when the indigenous peoples migrated to Taiwan. For example, Saisiyat and Atayal must have immigrated to Taiwan around 3000 B.C. during the Paleolithic Age. Paiwan and Puyuma must have immigrated to Taiwan during the prime time of Southeast Asia Rock Age. The latter approach indicating that Taiwan is the origin of Austronesian peoples is a newer theory, a research result of many linguists.

National Donghua University, Hualien Taiwan

North-South-East-West at Nat’l Donghua University, Hualien Taiwan, 2005.

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The North-South-East-West Video Installation with Metis storyteller Graham Thompson was presented at the National Donghua University in Hualien Taiwan in March 2005.

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National Dong Hwa University

The National Dong Hwa University a comprehensive public institution of higher learning in Hualien County, Taiwan. The school serves over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The name Dong Hwa signifies NDHU’s East Asia location while inviting a poetic allusion to the image of flowers. The school colours are green and yellow. The mascot is a native pheasant. The present university results from the 2008 merger of two public institutions: the National Dong Hwa University founded in 1994 (today’s Shoufeng campus in Shoufeng Township), and the National Hualien University of Education founded in 1947 (today’s Meilun campus in Hualien City)

Western Mindanao State University, Philippines

North-South-East-West at Western Mindanao State University Zamboanga, February 2005.

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The North-South-East-West Video Installation with Metis storyteller Graham Thompson was presented at the Western Mindanao State University, Zamboanga Philippines, February 2005.

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Multi-Media Canadian Ethnic Rites Show in WMSU on February 24; Sutherland To Grace Affair, 10 Feb  2005

A CANADIAN aboriginal artist will recreate North American ethnic rites in their native settings through his self-crafted two- hour multi-media show to be held at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) on Thursday, February 24.

Dubbed as “North, South, East, West version 2.0,” artist Graham Thompson’s show in traveling in eight cities in the Philippines, a Canadian embassy correspondence to WMSU president Dr. Eldigario Gonzales said.

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The media installation is “concerned with enchancing our emotional connection to the earth by creating an immersive audio-visual environment of video monitors, projectors, DVD players, computer workstations, interactive CDROM,” the embassy said.

Canadian ambassador to the Philippines Peter Sutherland will speak during the show.

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Thompson specializes in the use of new media, such as digital computer technology, to artfully discuss native and aboriginal cultures, the embassy added. His trip to Zamboanga is intended to share his North American ethnic culture with Philippine lumads.

“‘In North South East West 2.0’, Thompson tries to recreate the hypnotic environment of (Canadian aboriginal) sweat lodge, by emulating the atmosphere of chanting and repetitive rhythms of the rattles within the darkness of the lodge through the use of multiple monitors and sound tracks with a darkened gallery setting. The repetition of audio-visual themes on overlapping displays engages the audience in a complex environment of sounds and images to provoke a feeling of belongingness and inclusion and a feeling of shared         experience,” the embassy said in elaboration.

The show, it added, “was designed to create a ceremonial experience that permitted self-reflection and examination of one’s life stages and to explore our spiritual and psychological relations to the earth.”

WMSU Public Affairs Director Prof. Ali T. Yacub said the show will be held at the university’s Social Hall at 10 to 12 o’clock, February 24. It is open to the public. (Rey-Luis Banagudos, Public Affairs Office, WMSU)

Cotabato Philippines, Medicine Wheel

North-South-East-West at Regional Educational Learning Centre (RELC) of Cotabato City, February 2005.

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The North-South-East-West Video Installation with Metis storyteller Graham Thompson was presented February 22nd 2005 in Cotabato City Philippines at the Regional Education Learning Centre. The Installation was inspired by the Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel.

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The show accompanied by the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Sutherland, was part of a 8 stop tour of the Philippines in February 2005, that included presentations at the Tamawan Village Art Gallery Baguio, Ateneo Art Gallery Manila, Darayonan Centre in Coron, Kamarikutan Gallery in Puerto Princessa, University of the Philippines Mindanao Cultural Centre Davao, Regional Education Learning Centre of Cotobato City, Lumad groups of Cotabato City  and the Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga.

The installation traveled to Taiwan in March 2005 and was exhibited at the Pingdong Aboriginal Cultural Park, Taipei National University of the Art, Taiwan Public Television System, National Donghua University, Aboriginal Art Institute, and the ShunYi Taiwan Aboriginal Museum.

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The Cotabato presentation included an audience with the Teachers from the Regional Educational Learning Centre (RELC), the Canadian Embassador to the Philippines Peter Sutherland, Fatima-Ilon Adza, Al hadja Chief Administrative Officer of the Regional Educational Learning Centre.

Roundtable Discussions with Indigenous People of the Cotabato Region

Dr. Susan Y. Salivador-Anaytin – Chief Technical Management Services and Consultant for Peace of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, organized the round table discussion group where Indigenous People from the Cotabato Region voiced concerns about their culture and societies.

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The Indigenous People Roundtable Dialogue at the Estosan Garden Hotel, Cotabato City of February 23, 2005 included the following list of participants: For Teduray Indigenous Peoples: Victoria Kanakan Executive Director – Office for Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC) – ARMM For Terudays and Manobos Indigenous Peoples: Ms Juanita Mamo and Rosita Bandala – Manobo IP and Kulaman Valley, South Cotabato, For Bangsamoro Group of Indigenous Peoples: Engr. Saad Yusah Director, Ms Sinaolan C. Mustapha and Hadja Bai Aleizzah Albaya-Balabaran Wampa of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage ARMM, For Manobos and other Indigenous Peoples in the Cotabato Area: Ms Felisa Rangaban and Ms. MAria Wanan for the NAtional Commission on IP, Region XII. For the Iranon Tribe: Mr Fispand Kamsa Commissioner, Mr. Mohammad Mang and Mr. Sol Kasim of the National Commissioner on Culture and Arts (NCCA).

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Dr. Susana Salvador-Anayatin has been a partner with the Goldin Institute since its launch in 2002 in Chicago. She holds a doctoral degree on Peace and Development and is a part time Peace Educator in two graduate schools in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. Aside from her work in the government and the academe, Dr. Salvador-Anayatin leads the Goldin Institute’s initiatives in the Philippines to convene grassroots movements and develop partnerships with international and local NGO’s working for peace and development. She is actively involved in the promotion of a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence with women, youth, former combatants and other vulnerable sectors of the society. She currently leads the Goldin Institute’s efforts to build a National Platform for Child Soldier Reintegration and a People’s Peace Initiative in the Southern Philippines.