This site/platform takes its name from a series of conversations that happened on January 26th, 2019. The conversations and performances that comprised On Breathing and Braiding were a continuation and an expansion of an on-going collaborative process between Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti, through their shared work with Musagetes. Throughout 2018, their collaboration involved several modes of relational engagement with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, scholars, and communities, including visits, gatherings, and consultations leading up to a number of questions relating to rigorous, ethical and respectful engagement with Indigenous senses and sensibilities (being, knowing, relationships, trauma, place, space, time, movement, rhythm).
A key inquiry woven throughout that day asked how different sensibilities learn and work together in the holding of space for the possibility of collective breathing and braiding, of recalling exiled capacities and enlivening guidelines for this work with (self-)compassion, generosity, humility, flexibility, and rigour, without turning our back to (or burning out with) the complexities, difficulties and pain of the process of healing. For the day, we invited a number of artists we have encountered whose work gestures toward this space in between and strives to calibrate different sensibilities towards interwoven and generative orientations, while not erasing difference, historical and systemic violence conflict, paradoxes, contradictions, and uncertainty.
Robert Houle, in conversation with Elwood Jimmy. Photo credit: Ryan Edwardson.