Deconstructing The God of Gods: A Canadian Play
Deanna Bowen is a Black Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist whose auto-ethnographic practice examines race, migration, historical writing and authorship. Bowen makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures in order to define the Black body and trace its presence and movement in place and time. Her work involves rigorous examination of her family lineage and their connections to the Black Prairie pioneers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Creek Negroes and All-Black towns of Oklahoma, the extended Kentucky/Kansas Exoduster migrations and the Ku Klux Klan.
In her talk, Deanna Bowen will discuss her current work God of Gods: A Canadian Play. In it, she revisits a play staged by members of Canada’s artistic elite at Hart House in 1922, which projected the horrors of war into a loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet — using ‘native’ motifs and “red face.” Her film enacts dialogue with Indigenous writers and artists John G. Hampton, Peter Morin, Lisa Myers, Archer Pechawis, and cheyanne turions. She will also talk briefly (and bring copies) of her new book project “Other Places: Reflections of Media Arts in Canada.” (PUBLIC Books, 2019).
She writes: “My talk will take up issues re: nation building, redface/blackface/brownface, the 1921 potlatch ban in Alert Bay (and the criminalization of Indigenous people/culture).” She will invite us to “engage more intentionally with Canada’s racist colonial history.”