Reona Brass and Bentley Spang: Sharing Secrets in The Colonial Budoir

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Sharing Secrets in The Colonial Boudoir

First Nations performance artists Bently Spang (Northern Cheyenne, Montana, US) and Reona Brass (Cree/Saulteaux, Saskatchewan, CANADA) examine the emasculation of the North American Indian, approaching emergency ritual as a catalyst for healing between native men and women.

"We believe our performance work is a form of ceremony and ritual based upon an ancient native and methodical model of cooperation, sharing, and honoring. Our collaboration therefore is an ancient continuous process. We bring our own contemporary vision and experience as native people to the ritual which becomes a multilayered vision of a living Plains culture that has retained its' philosophical roots. The performance we propose is an elaboration of indigenous thinking, enacting a personal engagement with the body while retracing fundamental elements of indigenous life and strategies for survival. We deliberately risk uprooting our identities as we seek to consciously inhabit and give voice to the conflicted space between our bodies, egos, memories and testimonies of trauma. This piece aspires to a comprehensive exploration of the limits of human will, ego, passion, and surrender in the face of transgression and colonial nation building."


Reona Brass (Saulteaux) was born in 1966 and raised both on and off her reservation in Canada. She was trained at the Ontario College of Art (Toronto, Canada) and the University of Regina (Saskatchewan) from 1985-1992.  A performance installation artist whose work explores the changing modes of indigenous survival, ritual, and politics of identity, Brass has exhibited across Canada and in the US since 1993.  The coordinator of a Native artist-run center in Saskatchewan, Brass has been the recipient of numerous awards from The Canada Council for the Arts and was recently a guest panelist at the first Indian Acts Performance Art Conference in Canada.  She has been invited to exhibit in 2004 with Bently Spang for the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales de La Habana in Havana, Cuba. 

Bently Spang is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who works in video, performance, and installation.  Born into the Northern Cheyenne Nation in 1960, Spang's work focuses on his experience as a contemporary Cheyenne and he tackles the daily issues that he deals with surrounding his identity. His work is in museum and private collections in the US and Europe, and he has exhibited widely in the US, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and South America. Recently he was in three exhibitions of note: Americas Remixed, 2002, Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan, Italy; Signified: Ritual Language in First Nations Performance Art, in collaboration with artist Reona Brasss, Sakewewak Artists Collective, Regina, Saskatechewan; and A Way of Making, in collaboration with artist Rebecca Belmore, hosted by Fado and Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Ontario.


Edited by Victor Bautista