Festival Review: A Glance at the Opening Vernissage for Revolution They Wrote
People Empowered, Highlighting Diversity Through Visual Art
Revolution They Wrote was back at it again this weekend for its fifth edition.
The short-works feminist project was conceived back in 2014 by artistic director Murdoch. Since its first year, Revolution They Wrote has blossomed from its stirrings as a Concordia-run fest to an annual independent, multi-disciplinary, and intersectional performing arts festival.
The festival’s first incarnation was inaugurated with the help of Concordia’s Student Union— based out of our own Concordia University, the festival grew out of a need for more diversity in the feminist and art worlds.
Revolution They Wrote calls local feminist artists together at the MainLine Theatre to explore important themes that are beyond overdue in representation and discussion. Revolution They Wrote opens the floor to often-dismissed narratives of minorities in a safe and supportive space.
Tasteful and resilient in its urgency, the festival creates a much-needed platform for folks from all walks of life to reveal and discuss their stories in the way they see fit.
The festival’s opening vernissage on March 21 showcased the work of four local artists. Though the festival is self-identified as a short-works performance festival, the organizers have, over the past years, opened the floor to different artistic disciplines to sustain the idea of diversity in its programming.
For artist Sarah DeSousa, this year’s Revolution They Wrote marks her first time both attending and contributing to the fest. A 3D animation artist hoping to work in the film industry, DeSousa discussed her illustration piece entitled The Blowjob Series . The series includes illustrations of women giving blowjobs, but without the genitalia.
“It’s focusing on […] the person doing the blowjob, versus the act itself. In sexual imagery there’s a lot of focus on the act, versus [who] is actually doing the act,” said DeSousa. “So I basically just removed that, and focused on the women.”
It was also Sasen Elfrem’s first time at Revolution They Wrote, and her first time exhibiting any of her art. “I like to focus on women in my pieces,” she states, gazing over her four complete pieces with enthusiasm and pride. “Headpieces and headscarves are, I feel, very empowering.”
The portraits in this semi-complete series show women of color donning colorful head scarves and posing solo against a mild background. Her characters command attention, captured in strong poses and soft strokes. Each character holds her space with a seeming determination and elegance.
DeSousa and Elfrem shift our gazes upon the female form in both her active and arranged roles. Encapsulating her raw beauty, both artists are able to convey a strong sense of female empowerment and camaraderie.
Both series helped build a diverse reality at the MainLine Theatre, where women, queer folk, and people from all walks of life can feel secure to explore the varied experience of local intersectional feminism, advocating for the representation of untold narratives.
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