The Living Vault brings together six multi-disciplinary artists from a range of performance-based fields in collaborative pairs to create new works inspired by works from the #AGHCollection. Through the lens of theatre, dance, music, video, story-telling, and poetry, the exhibition serves in part as a metaphor suggesting a fresh strategy to critically and creatively activate the gallery’s collections.
Anna Chatterton is a librettist, playwright and performer based in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a two-time finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. Anna’s plays have been commissioned and produced by The Shaw Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, The Theatre Centre and Theatre Passe Muraille, among others. Anna’s work as a librettist has been produced across Canada and the United States, gaining her a Juno Award nomination. Anna has also been a finalist for the Hamilton Literary Awards in Fiction and has won the Gilded Hammer National Impact Award, a Hamilton Arts Award for Theatre, a Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress, a My Entertainment Award for Best Actress, and was named a top ten Toronto Theatre Artist by NOW Magazine. In June, Anna is performing in Children of Fire, cowritten with activist and artist Shahrzad Arshadi produced by Nightwood Theatre at Prairie Drive Park in Scarborough.
Clairandean Humphrey is a Black Trans Non-Binary Artist, Tarot Reader, Movement Instructor and Videographer based in Hamilton, ON. They have finished GOODBODYFEEL 200hrTT in 2018 and remain an instructor at the studio. They completed their Certificate with New Leaf Foundation, with the Reaching In, Reaching Out program, deepening their education in trauma informed movement practices, gender inclusive language and anti-oppressive frameworks. They are also currently completing Diane Bondy’s 300hrYTT program deepening their education in Decolonized Yoga and Justice Work. Clairandean continues to collaborate with various photographers, film makers, artists and writers around the City of Hamilton. In 2020 they independently released a lo-fi EP entitled Moving In the Dark. This EP features an acoustic guitar and ethereal harmonies that express grief and longing. Their various practices continue to examine and discover the visual/audio language of Queerness, chronic pain, isolation, intimacy, and togetherness.
Chyler Sewell is an Anishinaabe storyteller and published author from Garden River First Nation, currently living in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a community organizer, dedicated to cultivating spaces for urban Indigenous youth to exist freely and with an abundance of joy. As a gifted writer, Chyler’s words dance like flames, extending warmth to the reader and light to guide the way home. Chyler is passionate about creating worlds with her writing where Indigenous youth can find pieces of themselves and connect more deeply to where they come from. In addition to short stories that are steeped in Indigenous knowledges, Chyler is working on a novel that will move alongside Indigenous, Black and racialized young people as they pursue the liberation of their communities. Her dream is to create spaces where youth can creatively reimagine futures together. Chyler’s words are changemakers, gently moving over the landscapes of minds and hearts.
Mykola Paskaruk is a queer Hamiltonian designer and performer. Their artistic background ranges from: movement, to singing, to mask-making, to set design, and to sound design. Having studied devised theatre at McMaster, they have since sought to integrate their different crafts and passions, and are now pursuing their interest in the tactile and the visceral of immersive theatre while honouring their holistic values. They are an ALERT Alumni with the Hamilton Fringe, and have more recently collaborated with artists and community participants in Open Heart Theatre’s Conversations Around the Table – Creative Workshop Series. Other credits include: missed Connections (2020), for Hamilton Fringe’s digital Frost Bites Festival; OMyth (2020), their thesis; Bad Ideas (2019), at the Hamilton Fringe; and Re:mind (2019), McMaster HPS. Keep an eye out for them at Hamilton Fringe’s 2022 summer festival: Storky and Nana Read the Horo-scopes!
Sumona Roy was born in Hamilton and received her initial training in Odissi classical dance under Kalashri Chitralekha Patnaik. She received the Chalmers Performing Arts Grant from the Canadian Arts Council to train under the Late Padmabhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She also received Odissi training under the late Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, Sujata Mohapatra and Alokananda Roy. Sumona recently trained and performed with Tanusree Shankar in Toronto, and also received training in Manipuri and Indian Modern Dance with Kalavati Devi and Sukalyan Bhattacharya. With her interest in Rabindranath Tagore she studied the history and development of dance in Santiniketan from Purnima Ghosh of Kolkata. As a lover of dance she delved into experimenting with various dance forms such as Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Chau, Indian Martial Arts, Ballet and Flamenco. Sumona has studied and collaborated with Jhuma Basak, who was the principal dancer for the Dancers Guild Modern Dance Group in India. Travelling extensively throughout North America, Sumona has performed in many major dance festivals including the Toronto Kala Nidhi Dance Festival on numerous occasions as a dancer and choreographer. Her performances have also encompassed Aga Khan Museum, Ontario Place, the CNE, Hamilton Fringe, and Sumona has had principal roles in Rabindranath Tagore’s classic Dance Dramas “Shyama”, “Mayar Khela” and “Chitrangada”. Sumona has choreographed many dance productions for the Indian community. She has represented Toronto at several North American Bengali Conferences where she presented productions such as “Ananda”. She was Principal Choreographer and Dance Director for the production of “Basante” by Rabindranath Tagore under the Direction of the Late Ashok Das. Sumona directed and choreographed productions for the Royal Ontario Museum South Asian Month celebrations and International Rabindranath Tagore Conference held at the University of Toronto. The lecture and demonstration performance was entitled, “The Diversity of Rabindranath Tagore”. Another dance highlight for Sumona was her lead role in Rabindranath Tagore’s dance drama “Chandalika” in Kolkata, India at the Rabindra Sadan Theatre. This production was under the direction of Mrs. Alokananda Roy and was supported by the Canadian Arts Council. Sumona has taught Indian classical dance and modern dance and has taught at McMaster University Centre for Dance and her own dance studio: Shakti Fine Arts.
The work of Learie McNicolls includes Movement, Spoken Word, Music and Sound Scape design. A Dora award winner for performance and choreography, he is currently writing his autobiography. He has danced with The Ballet Nacional De Cuba -Toronto Dance Theatre and Dancemakers. His work as a Choreographer has been performed Nationally and Internationally. In his own words, he says: “I am not BIPOC. Just me. A global citizen. One love, one race.” Learie is a musician, writer and sound designer who creates highly physical and emotionally demanding work which speaks from the soul. He demands of his artists no less than he demands of himself, perhaps more. And why not? To stretch their psychic muscles. He considers himself a Movement Analyst: where words fail, Movement and Gestures begin. Where dance falters, poetry has full swing. On the aging of the dancer’s body he says: “from infant to ancient.” He currently lives in Hamilton and is still performing.