While I manage, research and create, the date of the Sage Paul show nears. What started out last fall as only ideas of migration, time and gathering, has evolved into the collaborative collection Synaptic City, involving jewelry designers, make-up and hair artists, models, dancers, choreographers, photographers, advisors, graphic designers, sew-ers, drafters, interior designers, music guru’s, writers, etc. etc. A talented group of peoples who have all made The Collection come to life – it is very humbling to be a part of something so grand!
Before the Synaptic City Collection goes on sale this fall, its final debut with its wearable-art counterpart will show at the 2012 Planet IndigenUS festival on August 17 at 7PM at the Red Path Stage at Harbourfront Centre (details here). This is seriously a true honour and one I am forever grateful for! My work-family got our Planet IndigenUS catalogues delivered last week and I was shocked to see my name in it! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen my name in a catalogue (that I didn’t produce), and a photo to boot! It all made me pretty giddy, and can’t lie, I may have jumped a little, and perhaps a little dance too. The Collection and the show will be full of life, I can’t wait!
For the wearable art collection, I’ve decided to go back to basics with design while still looking through a high-fashion filter. Working mostly monochromatically I’m intrigued by the use of light and reflection for this component. The idea of using a natural element, like light, that can bring life to all those within it seems to be at the root of The Collection’s purpose – a synapse, a space to bring people/animals/cells together, to gather. Mirrored plexiglass is the feature material of this collection, a material I’ve never used before, but have huge expectations for.
About the Collection Sheer and Dark, skimming with vibrant colour, dancing prints and fluttering light, this collection explores the acknowledgement of tradition, the value of reinterpretation and a curiosity for our shared cultures. Ms. Paul’s desire is to bring these ideals into a modern movement of appreciation and balance. Looking to the construction of traditional Pow Wow regalia and the styling of 1970s glamour, with choreography by Justin Manyfingers and music by Bear Witness, Synaptic City is a fusion of migrating cultures in sync.
About Sage Paul (Design) Sage Paul’s unique perspective for fashion has evolved since starting work in the Toronto Indigenous arts community in 2004, an urban community that is vibrant and outspoken and one that Sage finds incredible inspiration from. Exploring fashion through cultural and traditional lenses–Indigenous and Western–Sage seeks to tell her story and experience as an urban Indigenous woman. Sage was a part of the photographic collective show (Re) Representation at the Art Gallery of Ontario (May 2009) and has worked in wardrobe with filmmakers Danis Goulet (Divided by Zero, 2006), Shane Belcourt (imagineNATIVE Trailer, 2008) and Kent Monkman (Robin’s Hood, 2007). In March 2012, Sage released her Synaptic City Collection and will launch its wearable art counterpart at Planet IndigenUs in August 2012. Sage graduated from George Brown College’s Fashion Design program in 2006, is the Events + Communications Director at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and sits on the Board of Directors for Native Women in the Arts. Sage grew up in Toronto; she is Dene (Patuanak, SK) and a member of the English River First Nation.
About the commissioned jewelry designers Sage Paul commissions accessory and jewelry designers for each annual collection. The Synaptic City Collection included five designers who work with diverse materials: Aimee Rochard, Barb Nahwegahbow, Erin Marie Konsmo, Louise Solomon, and Trip Phoenix. Full biographies for each designer can be found here: Jewelry Designer’s Bio’s
About Justin Many Fingers (Choreography) Justin Many Fingers is a singer, actor and dancer from Lavern Kainai Blackfoot reserve located in southern Alberta. Justin is a graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre Summer training program as well as the three-year acting conservatory. Justin has trained in numerous dance styles with Jock Sotto (American Ballet), Neil Leremia (Black Grace), Santee Smith (Kahawi), as well as Bill Coleman, Penny Couchie, Alejandra Ronceria and Amanda Chaboyer. He has also attended the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residence, Toronto Dance Theatre’s Summer Intensive and Kahawi Dance Theatre’s training program. Selected theatre credits include David (Red Romance, dir. Muriel Miguel), Boyd (Red Moon, dir. Marion de Vries), Coyote (Coyote City dir. Rose Stella) and Andy (Potato Foot, dir. Imelda Villalon). Justin is currently finished his studies at the prestigious Soulpepper Actors Academy
About Bear Witness (Music) Bear Witness is an Ottawa-based media artist who has been producing short experimental videos for over eight years. Bear was awarded the Aboriginal International Residency Exchange in Australia by the Canada Council for the Arts. During his residency at Parramatta Artists Studios he had a solo-exhibition as part of the 2010 Sydney Festival, titled, “The Only Good NDN”. Bear’s video The Story of Apinachie and her Redheaded Wrestler was selected for the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, as part of the Culture Shock program. In 2008 his video “BrokeDickDog” was included in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography exhibition Steeling the Gaze: Portraits of Aboriginal Artists hosted by the National Gallery of Canada. Bear also exhibited two videos as part of Drive By: A Road Trip with Jeff Thomas at The University of Toronto Art Centre. In 2010, Thomas collaborated with the NFB on a video project to remix films from the NFB archive. Bear also produces live audio-visual performances and co-founded A Tribe Called Red, a native DJ collective who produce music internationally known as Pow Wow-step and hosts a monthly event called Electric Pow Wow.
Synaptic City is a crossroads of culture through an existence of tradition, the value of reinterpretation and a curiosity for convening. The desire is to bring these ideals into a 21st century movement of appreciation and balance. Looking to the construction of traditional Pow Wow regalia and the styling of 1970s glamour, Synaptic City is a fusion of moving cultures in sync through fashion and wearable art.