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4°3: a ritual dance Canada

Artist Blog by Lesia Maruschak

Canada Latitude 52.5175791/Longitude -106.0169777 May 2023

Photography is at the centre of everything I do. Extending the boundaries of its expression and creating multiple channels of entry for the audience are key objectives for me, especially when working on difficult subjects.

4°3: a ritual dance, was certainly one of the most unpredictable and satisfying experiences of the project. Four directions, three atrocities, all measured in degrees. We embarked on a landscape performance, circular and framed by the four sculptural textile installations of the children’s faces. Vocal explorers, dancers, and witnesses joined to send out a prayer for the children implicated in the atrocities.

First, I appeared on the land, wearing a custom-made cape of wool and silk dyed with native prairie plants. As if a seed awaiting spring, I arose to the sound of the vocal explorer harmonizing with the violent prairie winds. This then stirred the dancers, who were clothed in handwoven vintage hemp garments made in Ukraine. Moving within three circles, marked with flour, the dancers’ gestures, like waves, expanded and contracted, disappearing into the winds. The circles, constantly erased, appeared even more fleeting than our prayers. The performance concluded with the sharing of a traditional Ukrainian ritual bread.

This experience was later re-imagined for performance in Ukraine. Working with MON, a group I collaborate with, Poems of Our Children, was manifested while the war raged on.