Written In My Blood
A collaborative film by Steven Thomas Davies (Coast Salish, Snuneymuxw and European ancestry) with Jeanette Kotowich (Cree Métis) and Dani Zaviceanu (Romanian Canadian), accompanied by a re-mix by artist, DJ, and sound producer Dean Hunt (Heiltsuk Nation).
Written In My Blood was created with the intention of challenging the patriarchal and colonial narratives that dominate our urban and rural landscapes by making space for and privileging Indigenous female voice and perspective. This project was conceived with and curated by independent curator Toby Lawrence for an outdoor exhibition in two cities on Vancouver Island.
“Returning to an Indigenous knowing body our movement has the ability to transcend & decolonize previous patterning. Written in My Blood expresses longing & belonging through how we relate to the environment around us. At any moment we arrive to where we are with all histories/territories accounted for – and we reference identity from this place. The movement score is derived from deep listening & reverence for land; all of that which sustains us. Influenced by traditional and contemporary dance forms the performance uses breath, impulse & instinct to unravel and honour the moment.” – Jeanette Kotowich
Jeanette Kotowich is a Vancouver-based dance artist and choreographer of Cree Métis and European ancestry. Originally from Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan, Jeanette is passionate about blending contemporary and Indigenous practices. Jeanette is currently choreographing a full-length, solo dance performance called Kisiskâwican. Previous works include: Eloise (2017) presented by Magnetic North, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Native Earth Performing Arts, Raven Spirit Dance, New Dance Horizons, and Bulkley Valley Concert Association. Steppin’ (2015) toured more than 30 stages across Canada, including BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. Jeanette is a co-founder of Métis dance collective Acuhko Simowuk.
She works as a company dancer with Dancers of Damelahamid, Raven Spirit Dance, and V’ni Dansi and creates her own work. Jeanette co-ordinates the annual Coastal Dance Festival, is a member of the Full Circle First Nations Performing Arts Ensemble, and the Indigenous Performing Art Alliance. Jeanette has worked with artists Charles Koroneho, Carlos Rivera, Yvette Nolan, Deanna Peters, Tara Cheyenne-Friedenberg, and Su-Feh Lee. She is a Laureate of the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards.
Steven Thomas Davies is a filmmaker and media artist of Snuneymuxw and European-Canadian descent. He makes films and media art that focus on Indigenous histories and epistemologies to educate himself and others. By referencing Indigenous sovereignty and Indigenous cultural resurgence, his goal is to challenge dominant western perspectives and relationships to land, waters, and place. He feels a huge responsibility to the artists and cultural leaders that have mentored and supported his growth, and the individuals whose voices and actions are shared in his work. Steven was nominated for the Polygon Gallery’s Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize and awarded a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship Master’s Award in 2018, and in 2017 was honoured to receive a BC Achievement award for First Nations Art. Steven is completing an MFA in Visual Arts at UBC Okanagan with a research focus on spiritual, cultural, and political resurgence efforts in the traditional Coast Salish territories of the Snuneymuxw, Lekwungen speaking Peoples (now known as the Esquimalt and Songhees), W̱SÁNEĆ, and Cowichan Tribes.
Dani Zaviceanu is a Romanian Canadian cinematographer and artist. Since 2000, he has received professional credit on over 40 independent films.
Dean Hunt is a Haíɫzaqv Artist focusing on sculpting material, painting surfaces and collaging sound. Been working since 1995. “Walas Aik” (to try your Best).
Toby Katrine Lawrence is a settler-Canadian curator, writer, and researcher based on Vancouver Island. Her work is grounded in collaborative, decolonial, and intersectional feminist methodologies, and her current research is focused on reimagined models of curation that challenge racialized, gendered, economic, and environmental inequalities. Toby has held curatorial and programming positions with the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Nanaimo Art Gallery, and Studio 111, an experimental arts laboratory in Kelowna supported by the UBC Okanagan Creative Studies in partnership with the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. She is an organizer and founder of the Islands Curatorial Collective, an annual gathering and support networks that fosters dialogue amongst creative and curatorial practitioners across the Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands region of British Columbia. She holds an MA in Art History and Theory from the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory at the University of British Columbia and is currently a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
We would also like thank the BC Arts Council, MediaNet, Open Space, and CineVic for their support.