“PANGEA” Luciole International Theatre Company presents a mixed media performance installation by Melissa Flower, Lisa Villegas, and Rashed Haq
BLUEorange Contemporary Art Gallery September 30-October 15 Tuesdays-Fridays 2:00-8:00 and Saturdays 1:00-9:00
With opening reception September 30 6:00-8:00 pm
Luciole International Theatre continues their inaugural season with passion, risk and awe. Houston has been named one of the most diverse cities in the United States. People come from all over the world to make a new life in our city. Most of the time, immigration is spoken about in economic terms. Women are often the most vulnerable travelers and even as Houston is the most diverse, it is also one of the greatest ports for human trafficking. Theatre artists Melissa Flower and Lisa Villegas join art photographer Rashed Haq to ask questions when it comes to narratives of human economy by collecting the personal stories of women who have traveled to settle in our city. The project is to interview 8 women immigrants in the Houston area. The interviews will be broadcast on a podcast that will lead up to a final installation/performance piece using Rashed’s photographic portraitures of the women, found objects, collected gestures and stories in order to investigate personal narrative, journey, change, loss, globalization, economics, and the real/imagined concepts of the present Pangea.
Melissa Flower has collaborated with many international artists over the past 5 years. She is known as one artist that does not stay still, always traveling, creating and pushing deeper into her own artistic practice. Pangea first came about when she was in New York and saw the work done by Natasha Barhedia (cachorrofuria.tumblr.com) an artist from Mexico who wrestled with her departure from home, and her sense of space/spatiality/spaciousness as a conceptual framework for her art. The idea of Pangea as spatial concept began here.
When Melissa returned to Texas, the discourse around immigration, journey, the “other” was on the forefront of her mind. For Flower, art is the human story and journey is one of the most essential human narratives. She connected with Lisa Villegas and Rashed Haq in order to research immigration through personal stories of women who have come to settle in Houston. “After every interview I am stunned at these women's testimony, says Melissa Flower, I want to tell them thank you. Thank you for coming here. Thank you for making my home better. We are blessed and honored to have you. My hope is that the project we are making expresses this gratitude.” During the exhibition there will also be a movement performance that will continue as long as the exhibition is open. The group will recruit dancers, movers, and performers to move in the space for an hour each so that there is a woman in the space at all times. It will be a durational performance for two weeks. It is an ambitious project, one Luciole International Theatre is diving into as they continue to push boundaries right from the gate in their first season as a company.
Lisa Villegas is also a theatre maker whose own heritage hails from Colombia. She conducts the interviews and uses her skills as a voice artist and audio editor to create the podcast. "Melissa Flower and I have interviewed women from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and countries of origin, whose journeys and choices have led them to Houston. Some are women we know, however minimally, some better than others, most are relative strangers. We witness their spirits, listen to their hearts, asking them 'Why here?'... Why Houston? What did you leave behind? What it did it take for you to get here?' As a person who was not born in this country, questions of cultural identity and nationality fascinate me. Our team is hoping to add to the conversation on immigration in a way that holds people who choose to come to this country as resilient, strong, tenacious, as that is what the interviews so far have revealed. Leaning on the teachings of storytelling, we hope this project helps celebrate our shared humanity.”Rashed Haq is an art photographer originally from Bangladesh. Much of his work is focused on narrative portraiture.
During the interviews, he takes riveting portraits of the women as they tell their stories and records the gestures the women make so that Flower and Villegas can later create a dance from those collected gestures. Rashed contextualizes this project in just how immediate the work is for the world today: “The current migrant crisis is said to be one of the largest since World War 2. Pangea intends to add to the ongoing dialogue by exploring the lives of immigrant women from 4 continents living in Houston - the moving stories of why they came, how they made their way here and how they adapted to their new homeland.”
View Rashed's other work at his website: http://www.rashedhaq.com/Pangea is about the great tradition that reverberates throughout all of human history- the story of journey. Luciole International Theatre is also proud to partner with Tahirih Justice Center, an organization that provides legal and social services to vulnerable women, particularly immigrant women. T