Rite of Return
Single-channel digital video
Audio composition by Mahmood Hussain
Captioning support by Annie Crabtree
Captioning support by Collective Text, Emilia Beatriz, Robert McCourt & Craig McCulloch
Premiered online alongside solo exhibition POUR THE FEAR: Solastalgic Synchronicities at Lunchtime Gallery, Glasgow (Scotland). Screened at CCA Glasgow in the programme Cowlick in a Devil's Peak, Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick, Scotland; Mourning School, Stockholm, Sweden and forthcoming at ACT Arts Centre, Canada.
Rite of Return was observed in rural Saskatchewan (Canada), treaty 4 lands, the territories of the nêhiyawak (Cree), Anihšināpēk (Saulteaux), Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, as well as the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation; the Port of Ness facing the North Sea off the Isle of Harris and Lewis (Scotland); the Glen Etive rewilding project managed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Scottish Woodlands; the Białowieża Forest (Poland), the last primal forest in Europe and my childhood home in Glencairn, Regina.
Special thank-you to Ashley Bedet, Simon Buckley, Fionn Duffy, Lauren Fournier, Aaron Godard, Marcus Jack, Caitlin Merrett King, Olya Kovalenko, Ali Lotz, Owain McGilvary, Christof Nüssli and Hardeep Pandhal
Supported by Creative Scotland, the Shevchenko Foundation, the VACMA Award & the Eaton Fund
Rite of Return
This moving image work simultaneously reflects on Marianne Hirsch’s Rites of Return whilst extending Rite of Spring: a riot-inducing ballet originally performed by Ballet Russes. Appropriated aesthetically and thematically from slavic folklore, the initial narrative circles around a sacrificial virgin dancing herself to death. In this version, the soloist awakens fraught with solastalgia due to ecological decline and lack of community. She remedies this by drawing upon aphorisms and the poetic structures of strakh vylyvaty or pouring forth the fear, a Ukrainian healing technique to remedy anxieties, especially those related to land.