Collectively, the Americas are more than Free Trade and immigration problems. The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics brings together different institutions in the Americas (both North and South) to examine politics, scholarship, and artistic expression. Initially started by professors in New York, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, it began offering a large week-long festival/conference called an Encuentro (the word in fact means meeting or conference) every two years starting in 2000. The goal is to bring together hundreds of scholars, artists, activists, and students to lectures, work groups, performances, installations, discussions, exhibits, and video screenings. Since its inception, the conference has been held in different countries and this year, Montreal is the proud host on the ninth Encuentro starting June 21 and running until June 28.
The city is booming this week with all kinds of activities associated with the event around the theme of Manifest! Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas. The Manifest theme takes in all kinds of Mani- ideas, including the idea of cargo (manifest), a statement of views (Manifesto), a street demonstration (manif), a festival (fest), the concept of manifest destiny, the incorporation of a spirit (manifestation), and the Latin term for hand (mani).
While many of the events are intended exclusively for participants of the Encuentro, some of the events are open to the public through Concordia University. These include the screenings at Cinema Politica, and visual arts exhibitions and performances at the galleries.
Cinema Politica has a week of pwyc screenings around the theme Creativity, Colonization, Contestation: Indigenous Cultures and Peoples of the Americas on Screen and Stage. Cinema Politica films are always worth seeing, if only for the enlightenment they provide on different topics that are often not in the public eye. Among the films, there are Rhymes for Young Ghouls (reviewed by us HERE) is on June 28. Filmmaker of Rhymes Jeff Barnaby will be in attendance. Other films include Missing Young Women and Finding Dawn on June 27, and Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer on June 23. He’ll also be there to discuss his film. Cinema Politica films screen from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the at 1400 De Maisonneuve W.
The Concordia galleries have art exhibits as well. The Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery features three installations and art performances every day at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The perfornmance is Manifestroom by Brooklyn based artist Zavé Martohardjono and Providence, RI collaborator Lilian Mangesha. This participatory installation is intended as a meeting place and space for interaction with historical documents from international radical and artistic movements. Also offered is Zapantera Negra a project chronicling the encounter between Emory Douglas who was once the Minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, and Mexico’s Zapatista movement. This multimedia exploration showcases pieces by Zapatista artists and pays homage to Douglas’ work in the Black Panthers’ popular press. Caleb Duarte, Eva Mia Rollow, Saul Kak and EDELO. Finally, there is a traveling library brought by Lois Weaver called the Library of Performing Rights. Visitors are encouraged to browse and contribute to this collection of documents that has traveled from Europe around the world. The Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery is in the J.W. McConnell Building (1455 Maisonneuve W) 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The FOFA Gallery has a group of 18 distinct projects that include installations, exhibitions, and performance art as well, which will be located all of the FOFA Gallery sites. In particular, a group of red dresses are part of the REDress Project by Canadian artist Jamie Black. These hang in the York Corridor. The red dresses stand in for missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. Alongside this is the photographic work of Julio Pantojar with Mujer, maiz y Resistencia, which studies the role of corn in the lives of South American peoples. Other artists include Abigail Levine’s Refrain, Rocha and Poise Las Catrinas, DisOrientalism’s Maiden Voyage, Jorge Roja’s Tortilla Oracle, the Bread and Puppet Theatre’ Boot, and Grace Davie’s The Occupy Wall Street Liberty Plaza Collection. The FOFA gallery is located at 1515 St. Catherine W.
Encuentro runs from June 21 to June 28.