Shapeshifting is resistance, coalitional, and transformative. In Middle Voice, artist Sarita Dougherty works with five multi-generational artists and cultural practitioners of Filipino, Chinese, and Indigenous descent who center earth-based and ancestral practices in their communities. Together, they return to and activate Earth and Ancestor within contemporary realities of nationalism and ecological degradation. Their work invokes the dormant medicine present in the natural living systems that make the conditions of life possible.
Located in the fissures of violent systemic erasure of indigenous histories, origin stories are punctuated throughout the gallery to illuminate political possibilities of survival. Painted en plein air, portraits of native Californian flora and intercultural dwellings reflect one’s relationship to home, earth, and potential. Trash Art installations remix refuse with guile into a native tongue that spits humor; in the next room, an imaginative video installation tells the stories and uses of native plants, inciting life through ceremony. The Sarimanok, the legendary bird of the Maranao people, sits powerfully atop a tapestry, remaking itself throughout the space to frame talismans and animated mandalas.
In the center of the gallery, Paradigm Portal, a portable decolonization chamber made collaboratively by Dougherty and her partner champoy, will host multilingual workshops and healing circles, and at the end of the exhibition, travel to MacArthur Park for public engagement. Paradigm Portal is a site for dreams, a mobile container to reimagine change within the context of late stage capitalism and community resilience. Here, the artists arrive together in the middle voice, the language of ceremonial invocation, to map a hybrid cosmology of ancient ways merging with an urban reality. Middle Voice is an offering to the land and voices of the here and now.
Community programs in conjunction with Middle Voice
Saturday, May 19, 2-4 pm: Artists Walkthrough
Saturday, May 26, 6-10 pm: Kamayan (Traditional Filipino Feast) and Video Screening
Saturday, June 2, 2-5 pm: Palm-Weaving with BukoBomba and Middle Voice Readings
Sunday, June 10, 2-5 pm: MacArthur Park Celebration with Social Justice Theatre, Music, Meditations & Play
Sarita Dougherty’s work articulates new visual languages of hybrid identity, ethnoecology and an animate worldview in pedagogy and in painting. She maps cosmologies of the self and home as the departure point for healing and sustainability and teaches at the community, college and University levels. She currently lives and works on a mountain habitat with her partner and child, learning from the living knowledges of Tongva, Yokut and other indigenous elders while reaching into the intuition from her Celtic, Cajun and Bolivian ancestors.
champoy is an LA-based artist born and raised in the Southern Philippines. His work is based in drawing subjects from his personal cosmology and cultural remix pulled from his bloodline, the effects of colonization, and the process of returning to the ways in which we are intended to live as part of nature. He translates his linework into assemblage sculptures made from reclaimed materials to transform discarded items into relics of the imagination. Champoy also applies this practice to creating collaborative and sustainable dwellings.
Diyan BukoBomba is tawo of Bikolan@ ancestry born on Turtle Island in the territory of the Tongva people in Yangna. A self taught multi-media artist, crystal ball magic- solar pyromaniac, musician and community organizer, her artwork uses creation as a way of finding freedom from inner pains & colonial traumas. She recreates “folk art” and reimagines indi-genius & ancestral art as part of her healing process, to indigenize, decolonize and reconnect with her ancestors and native roots.
Olivia Chumacero is a First Nation being of the Americas. She speaks of our responsibility to the flora and the fauna of our home planet. Drawing from blood memory she teaches indigenous ways of reciprocity and reiterates, that we are not separate from nature but integral in nature and of nature. She asks that we honor our legacy as indigenous beings from this day forward of May, 2018 and help stop poisoning water, air and the very Earth itself for the sake of all life and future generations.
Nicanor Evangelista Jr creates sacred geometry mandalas and videos with the profound symbolism and inspiration drawn from his Filipino ancestors, their spiritual arts and practices. He researches through mentors, museum and field visits, and by tapping into his dreams. He translates these visions through drawing, digital painting, wood pyrography, sculptures and cinematography.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, iris yirei hu makes images and builds spaces that foster intergenerational-cultural-and-personal exchanges. She is interested in rearranging social and intimate habits of making life through the insistence of storytelling. Her art, pedagogical, and curatorial projects explore the shifting possibilities of care in relation to systemic and institutional power.