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Stories through art

Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts will be hosting a performance lecture titled ‘Who’s Telling the Stories’ by performance artist from Norway, Ada Einmo Jürgensen on February 28, 11 a.m. along with an Inuit mask dance by actor and dancer, Elisabeth Heilmann Blind from Greenland. NT BUZZ finds out more


Performance artist, Ada Einmo Jürgensen and actor and dancer, Elisabeth Heilmann Blind, two indigenous people from Scandinavia, are currently in Goa to teach how to tell stories.

The duo recently conducted a dance performance titled ‘The Homeless’ at Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts. ‘Homeless’ tells the story of alienation drawn from real-life experiences of women from the Inuit indigenous community in Greenland.

Interestingly although the duo has worked together since the 90s, this project is Jürgensen and Blind’s first collaboration and came about because Blind wanted to tell her story ‘The Homeless’ through an indigenous person. “I contacted Ada because I liked her work. She was a natural choice since she’s an indigenous as well,” says Blind.

Jürgensen adds that it is the same mindset and background which have contributed to making this collaborative project a success. In fact, prior to their performance Jürgensen and Blind do not make any plans, but analyse and discuss the plot with a basic idea about the course of the performance.

“We let things happen in the moment because that’s when the magic happens,” states Blind.

And their performance is an improvisation each time. “It’s like a parcel, we have all the bits but we don’t know what the picture will be like in the end, we paint the base as we go along,” says Jürgensen.

‘The Homeless’ draws its inspiration from Blind’s own life and failures.

“ I showcased the bad side because life is like that for many of us.” says Blind adding that through her art she wants to touch people and create a healing process by inspiring people to not be afraid of failing. “We all fail in life. We have been told that it’s not good to fail but it’s the only way to learn,” she adds.

Jürgensen says that showcasing failure in an artistic way was not a challenge.

“I’ve lived a life and I know there’s nothing like a happy ending, there are always ups and downs in life and happiness is not constant. Also on stage you have to have both, happiness and failure because if you’re constantly happy nothing happens,” she says.

‘The Homeless’ has received a positive feedback across the globe since it began with its performances in 2019. “It was not my intention to do a play for the whole world. It just happened. When you do a true and honest story about your life it often happens that you’re recognised by an international audience,” says Blind.

And now, on February 28 Jürgensen will be conducting a performance lecture titled ‘Who’s Telling the Stories’ which addresses issues of ownership of history, the strategies that artists use to collect research material, and the importance of preserving narratives from the indigenous communities. 

“Being an indigenous myself we are used to be written about. There are books about us, they do research about us. But what is our story? When people tell a story about you they never get it right, they look though their glasses, their context and their ideas and it goes wrong,” says Jürgensen.

During this lecture, Blind will be giving a demonstration performance of a traditional Greenland Inuit Mask Dance which is three to four thousand year old.

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