5th Wednesday: In the Dark curated by Allison Halter
Nadia Buyse Black Shirley
“I’m an American African. I’m not black, but I am not white. I am so far removed from the country that my family comes from and still lives in that I’ve never really identified myself as being from there.
Rewind 24 years. I am in a Veteran’s Day school play. While carrying the American flag I fall down and drop the flag on the ground. That day in the schoolyard a kid cornered me and said, ‘Go back to France you nigger spick chink!’ The words were inconsequential … He just knew it’s what his parents called brown people behind their backs.
Fast-forward 18 years. Move to Olympia Washington. Punk rock, feminism rah rah rah. Conversations about my personal experience with racism throughout my life would 50% of the time end up with some white guy telling me ‘you’re not THAT brown.’ Or would 50% end up with some dreaded hippie girl saying, ‘Your hair is so exotic…what is your ethnicity, anyway?’ Labels are limiting, and I’m not interested in limitations.”
Nadia Buyse is a trans-disciplinary artist and MFA candidate at PNCA. She has twenty cats.
Allison Halter WICKED WICCAN (Blackness Remix)
“I am a conceptual artist interested in systems of power, in the acquisition and abdication of control.
I seek opportunities to confront and confound audience expectations. Highlighting the daily performativity we all assume, I expose the dependency we have upon social matrices for our shifting personal identities. Repetitive actions hint at mysterious prior events. The viewer must extrapolate the significance of these accumulating gestures, which take on a deeper emotional charge as they slowly and inexorably pile up.
My practice exists on cusps. I believe that only in these in-betweens can we truly stop being polite and start getting real. One recent area of investigation is witch work. Inspired by Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch, I have begun using witchery as a way of collecting a conversant community of women. This work encompasses video, experimental dance, the generation of specific iconography, and a performance art band: WICKED WICCAN.”
Allison Halter is a performance artist’s performance artist and organizer of 5TH WEDNESDAYS, who happens to live in Portland, OR.