Artists Experiment in Brave New Show

What do a dancer and a photographer have in common? What about a visual artist and an actor, or a writer and a violinist? The answer is Brave New Works’ Homeland Fusion, which will run Nov. 21 and 22 at the Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse.

Brave New Works is an artist collective that supports emerging and established artists, showcasing new and experimental work. Originally established in 1999, Brave New Works showcases a vast range of artistic talent, from visual artists, to performance artists, to musicians, to playwrights, to filmmakers and everything in between.

This fall the collective turned their eyes towards the concept of fusion.

“We put out a call to the artists’ community looking for practitioners in different media who were willing to take a leap of faith and work with someone from a different genre in creating a performance piece,” explains Lauren Tuck, Brave New Works producer. “After all of the applications had come in, (artistic director) Claire Ness and I sat down and paired them off and then waited to see what would emerge from their collaboration.”

The 12 artists involved in the show are Kassity Allison, Katie Avery, Martin Berkman, Émélie Caron, Mellisa Kwok, Alistair Maitland, Arlin McFarlane, Aimee Dawn Robinson, Monique Romeiko, Lauren Tuck, Winluck Wong and myself.

The process of creating the work has been a challenging and rewarding experience for the artists involved.

“You want to bring your best work to the pairing,” explains photographer Alistair Maitland, “but you have to re-work your normal process to do that so that you are helping to showcase your partner’s efforts through your own.” He adds, “I think it’s been a really exciting challenge for all of us to tackle.”

Actress Émélie Caron highlights a different side of the process.

“I was really worried that I was walking into this project without any ideas of what we should do,” she says. “A friend told me not to worry – that my partner is very creative – but it was still a bit stressful. Luckily once we sat down and starting talking ideas just started to flow and led us really quickly to an exciting plan. I’ve really enjoyed the project so far – I think if Brave New Works puts out a similar call in the future I will apply again.”

The unlikely artistic pairings have an ace up their sleeves when it comes to the development of their pieces. Celia McBride is working with each team several times throughout the process to help develop their dramatic presentation as they prepare to bring their work to the stage.

“I really want to help the pairings stay true to their voices and ideas, and to help them portray those visions as clearly as possible to the audience,” says McBride. “They are an amazing group to work with – so much passion for and dedication to their work – it really is quite an honour to help them along through this journey.”

If you would like to see where the journey has led these artists you need to make your way to the Old Fire Hall. The shows start at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15.

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