There are so many great performances to see in the Distillery District and I was fortunate to find this hidden treasure through word of a friend of mine Toronto Arts Girl . It was an evening that moved me through tears and deep places yet I was glad to be a witness to the journey. Everyone could relate to the Wind in the Leaves Collective performance to their own life experience in some way or another. As one of the performers said at the ending, “we all came from somewhere.” The wonderful thing about performance art and a collective of many artistic modalities, is there is something for everyone. Wind in the leaves is dance, instrumental music and spoken word.
Wind in the Leaves Collective
The Fleurette Africaine dance performance presented by the Wind in the Leaves Collective was an intense passionate creative piece that helped make a connection to our own inner struggles. It made me realize the continual patterns of slavery and oppression that we carry within us all. This awareness that came to light was “an interdisciplinary performance exposing the fulcrum of the life experiences.” The collective claimed this art work they created is still a work in progress and will continue to be developed. It has has already taken three years from concept to creation to the Distillery District performance. All the performers worked collaboratively bringing their own personal stories into the weave of one.
The Artistic Director mentions, “We have all learned from each other and the subject matter of the poems I have written have been one of the uni…fying elements in our work. In founding the “wind in the leaves” collective I have been interested in working with other disciplines to retell and recreate my personal “poetic stories” to illustrate where my personal space intersects with public space, where my “poetic stories” about being a man of African descent in Canada today intersect with stories across the African diaspora about identity, struggle, hope, opportunities/missed opportunities, pains, joys and insights.”
The collective has the desire to connect many individuals and communities. The idea of the performance was to create a bridge of understanding commonalities around the questions of who we are, why we are here and the imprint that every culture, but in particular African culture has made on the various elements of the Arts across the world.
The Collective Tells Stories of Diverse Identities, Globalization
The collective tells the stories of leaves which, like people, become moved by the winds and who all have unique and interesting stories worth being told regardless of diverse identities, be it women, people with disabilities, ethno-cultural and racialized groups, immigrants and refugees, faith groups, the poor, Aboriginal peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Inclusion in practice they feel should exist in everything that they do as artists and human beings. The collective connects to many individuals and communities in a multicultural, multiracial society and a global community. The themes the ‘collective’ is working on echo those of transnationalism, diaspora, globalization as well as the use/abuse of power and the marginalization that results from it and wounds both individual and groups.
“Wind in the Leaves is not soothing; it is profoundly disturbing and thought-provoking although delivered with a light touch, minimal sound and light devices to enliven the spoken word. Just maybe, it will disturb us enough to move more earnestly towards healing.” Yola Grant, Human rights lawyer