Thursday 25 August 2016

ADF Bounce! festival 2016 - thursday

Bounce! festival 2016 has begun. Four days of arts performance, workshop and exhibition from artists with varied disabilities, local, national and international. The festival is in its sixth year, having weathered cuts to the arts to hold its own within mainstream arts festivals. Check out Marie-Louise Muir on the BBC Radio Ulster The Arts Show as she interviews artists from the festival.

image from ADF Bounce! programme

Bounce! 2016 kicked off to the sounds of drums on the City Hall grounds, the event facilitated by the Community Tribal Drummers. Belfast's Lord Mayor joined in as the launch was covered by the Belfast Telegraph.

image from ADF Bounce! programme

Early evening saw the preview of two exhibitions. 'The Ringing Forest' by Juan Delgado and 'How disability made me an artist' by Shiro Masuyama

Juan's installation at the Belfast Exposed gallery on the upper floor allows the visitor to experience the effects of both tinnitus and the 'Green Noise' of nature. The multi-sensory multi-media piece creates play between the sounds whilst the listener walks within a dimly lit environment containing carefully placed leaves, projection and photographs of the forest. For information about the venue check out Belfast Exposed Gallery

The semi-darkened room felt heavy, the only relief being the bright circle projected on the floor. It reminded me of being a child with my toes at the edge of a puddle, looking far into a different world within. Walking around the room felt slightly oppressive. Even viewing the photographs on the walls denied me clarity as the bulbs above them cast a yellowish light. All the while a sound track played creating confusion about what I was hearing. It's an experiential piece allowing the attendee to feel something of enduring tinnitus which the artist himself has. 

Shiro, the only practising Japanese artist living in Northern Ireland, shares the source of his life as an artist. At the ADF Gallery are presented seven projects Shiro has completed. The artist's mother, Tei Masuyama, was also present at the preview having played a positive part in Shiro's following an artistic path. A book she has written, illustrated with his childhood art journals, is there for visitors to view. A video shows her instructing the artist how to crochet a beanie hat made from his long hair cut short. 

There's a thread of humour that weaves through Shiro's work even though the planning and execution of his projects are thorough. The photographic frieze of his messy room, a broken wineglass having spilt red wine and staining the display board, and the miniature 'zen garden' made from casts of his and his partner's medical sleeping supports. Sitting watching the video of Shiro and Tei working on the beanie I felt emotion shared between parent and child. Turning the pages of Tei's book from back to front I got a sense of how Shiro's childhood drawings evoked his emotions and saw the evolution of his drawing style throughout. For dates and times of the exhibition check out Arts & Disability Forum.

 Preview evening at the ADF Gallery

                                    image from ADF Bounce! programme

In the McGrath Suite at the Lyric two dance videos run at different times over the festival. 

 image from ADF Bounce! programme

The finale to the first day of the festival was 'Blue Chevy - Been There: Doing This'. Check out KIC fb page. Three separate performances took place, each in promenade style allowing the audience to be in the midst of the piece. Linda Fearon's life-story unfolds from her previous performance of the tale. The theatre group follow lighted areas of the stage floor while music plays and words move across screens. 

We learn more of what she's endured as a person with disability in the medical world of 'fixing'. We watch as a previous relationship born out of the 70s bares its dangerous and threatening side. We the audience are there. We feel it all and the feeling of being powerless to intervene is overpowering. 

Copyright © 2016 by Roisin O'Hagan/bloowabbit
All rights reserved. The artworks/illustrations or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the artist except for specific permission granted with a free downloadable.

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