Coloured Swan 3: Harriet’s reMix
Brussels is a place that welcomes a lot of transients. But it is also a place that has a strong historical tie to the African continent and continues to hold and at times develop those ties whether through diplomatic connections or the artistic. The under belly of these ties can sometimes be unsightly.
For her third Coloured Swan, Moya Michael will uncover varying aspects that have influenced her being. In this Swan, she will explore among other things, issues such as colorism and not being able to move around freely. The content will be guided by these themes and personalized by the individuals that she will work with to embody the swan. Through this Swan, Moya will take a closer look at what is really at the underside of this reality. It is said in the sub-Saharan African lexicon that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Will those giants help carry us into the future? What if we cannot tap into the greatness of our ancestors to bring us safe and sound into the future? In a speech given in the 1980s in front of a group of Black feminists, the poet, writer, and activist, Audrey Lorde reminds us:
“If we restrict ourselves only to the use of those dominant power games which we have been taught to fear…then we risk defining our work simply as shifting our own roles within the same oppressive power relationships, rather than as seeking to alter and redefine the nature of those relationships…it is our visions which sustain us. They point the way toward a future made possible by our belief in them…There is a world in which we all wish to live. That world is not attained lightly… If as Black Feminists, we do not begin talking, thinking, feeling ourselves for its shape, we will condemn ourselves and our children to a repetition of corruption and error.”
This vision that Lorde implores us to start seeking, is the one that Moya is pointing us to with her timely and pertinent Coloured Swan series.
How do we living in Belgium or Europe really start doing the work to create future visions and realities? We are far from that reality. How do we envision and realize an afro-futuristic reality that shifts the paradigms that we have for so long been dominated by? This third Swan will artistically and alluringly try and bring us closer to those visions. While adding the voices and artistry of young Brussels based artist of color from the African diaspora that bring a sense of urgency to the creation. These individuals along with Moya, will question the solo as a form and expand our collective understanding of what it means to dismantle, reconstruct, dismantle again while sharpening new tools that will lead to the formulation of new peripheries and contours.
Influenced by this and the music and “testifying and signifying” of individuals like Mariam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln, Sun Ra, Alice Walker, Moya and her Swan(s) will shed lights on the ways our color defines us, bind us but at the same time can help give us power and can potentially help liberate us. In essence, making strides to taking us all closer to that ‘post-colonial’ reality we all need to realize if we are ever going to be truly free.
Expect another lush tapestry of images, sound, and movement that will be put together by the same artistic team that helped Moya create her first two deeply riveting Swans.
We lay on the ground pressed by the weight of our history wondering why we can’t breathe. ‘The scorn of the earth’ we have been called…So we liberate our minds with Fanon and Wekker. We have always been here and we will not be leaving anytime soon. The melanin that we have denotes the story that we have carved.
By going deep into the caves of their history and realizing that it is their history that props them up… Before colonialism started, they were already living in the future. Riding through desert sands. Trading in gold. Situationists in lush landscapes in valleys that were once barren… Now they live in that future. The future of their future’s future. The future their ancestors couldn’t imagine or the future that some ancestors could? Call them Sangomas, Olodumare, Osun, Healers, Magicians, they saw it all in their brew. This future that their sons, daughters and two spirited children would be living. A future that has been colored by the greediness of capitalism. A future that would see them break physical chains and scrape their ancestors remains from the bottoms of oceans, like the Atlantic, but not forgetting about the Indian going towards Arabic lands. Lost boys and people no longer able to orient themselves because all their metals have been extracted and taken and sold in foreign lands. Call it anamoly. Chains broken, only to have others applied to them, while some are more docile and apply it on themselves. The former through the borders and visas that cannot be attained. The latter, through skin lighteners and make up.
– Moya Michael, Tracey Rose & Tunde Adefioye
- Concept & choreography: Moya Michael
- In collaboration with and performed by Loucka Fiagan, Oscar Cassamajor & Milo Slayers
- Dramaturgical advice: Tunde Adefioye
- Artistic advice: Tracey Rose
- Video & scenography: Oscar Cassamajor, Špela Tušar, Moya Michael
- Costumes & make-up: Povilas Bastys
- Soundscape & music: Zenn Jefferson
- Executive production: Kosmonaut
- Distribution: Cokot / Julie le Gall
- Coproduction: KVS (BE), centre chorégraphique national de Caen en Normandie – dans le cadre de l’Accueil-studio (FR)
- Moya works in collaboration with Kosmonaut
About Moya Michael
Moya Michael is a dancer, performing artist and choreographer born and raised in Johannesburg (SA). Moya currently resides in Brussels (BE) which is her base for creating her own work. She has danced with the likes of Akram Khan, Anne Teresa...