Returning from Los Angeles
More great behind the scenes news from the Qld JUMP artists – this time Chantal Fraser recounts her travels to Los Angeles to participate in an exhibition showcasing a collection of international Samoan artists.
A couple of weeks ago I returned from some time in Los Angeles, where I attended the opening of a group exhibition that I was a part of at Harris Gallery, University of La Verne. The show, ATA: Contemporary Samoan Artist Installation, was curated by LA curators and artists Chuck Feesago and Dan Taulapapa McMullin, and featured international contemporary artists of the Samoan diaspora including my mentor Shigeyuki Kihara. (Images from the exhibition can be found on Facebook.)
The collection of work was received well by the community prompting much discussion about localised cultural perception in and outside of the contemporary diaspora. A discussion panel with the artists, local film makers and writers facilitated by faculty Professor Felicia Beardsley opened the conversation about the term ‘performance’, historically, culturally, domestically and contemporarily. What was interesting about the forum was firstly hearing the similarities amongst all of us as people that are part of an urban Pacific sub-culture in large cities, but secondly (and more engrossingly) what differentiates us through our home country’s own influence, whether that’s politically or culturally – it was interesting to observe the levels of cultural understanding and perception when discussing this amongst creatives who live in the USA, Australia, the UK and NZ.
Following on from the ATA exhibition, I travelled to Palm Springs to film some video work as part of my JUMP mentorship. Within my performance I have been looking at forming new identities, but cross-merging those with existing ones, creating cultural contradiction through the object’s placement and sound. I will be discussing this body of work with my mentor next month in NZ which is very exciting.
To describe the vista of this place as ‘incredible’ would be a great, great understatement. I filmed in various locations of the city, but the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass Wind Farm was the most physically challenging and gave you the sense that you could be swallowed up by the location’s grandness. For those that don’t know, this wind farm provides enough electricity to power Palm Springs and Coachella Valley nearby. When you stand amongst them you’re literally blown side to side which makes coercing pieces of adornment a slightly challenging task. There were times when the energy created from these windmills dictated the performance.
I’ll be editing the footage this month at The Edge, so am hoping the work presents the idea I have been visualising for a while. In the meantime I have received much correspondence from those I met in LA and it’s good to know the conversation is still open.
You can find out more about Chantal and her work on Blogspot.