THE TRANSFORMATIONS PROJECT: ‘Poder Existir’ by Mala Theatre Collective (Liz Der + Sofía Rodríguez)

Sofia shaves her head as an act of liberation. Liz helps her document.

What do we strive do when we acknowledge the land? We believe that we are trying to answer “where do I come from?” and “how did I get here?” and “who made it possible for me to live, love, and create where I am?”

To answer, Liz would like to say, “I am from Tkaronto – the place where the trees stand in the water. I arrived here by the heart of my mother, who herself was born on the unceded territories of the səli̓lwətaɁɬ təməxʷ, Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw, and the šxʷməθkʷəy̓ə maɁɬ təməxʷ. And by the will of my father, who boarded a boat to cross the Pacific at 5 years old, leaving behind his homeland in Hoiping County, Guangdong, China. And I am forever grateful to the Hode- no-sau-nee-ga, the Wendake-Nionwentsïo, the ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. And in that gratitude, I acknowledge the work I must do to decolonize myself and to be accountable for my time on this land.”

Sofia would like to say, “I come from Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. A hot desert city which geography is described as a plain interrupted by hills. This city by the foothill of the Sierra Madre Oriental was inhabited by semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer peoples now known as: Alazapas, Coahuiltecos, Huachichiles, and the Borrados. Although mostly unrecorded, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional caretakers of the land I was born in. As a settler in this land, I’m now grateful for the possibilities the question: ‘Where are you from’ has offered me, for I do not know if I would have learned this if someone hadn’t asked. I am also deeply grateful to live, love and create on this land, traditionally of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Wendat peoples.”

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Language: English with English Subtitles y Subtítulos en Español.

‘Poder Existir’ was commissioned by Nightwood Theatre for the national Transformations project, hosted by the National Arts Centre of Canada. This project features work from some of Canada’s most innovative artists in video, audio and text. It is a response to a provocation by Canadian playwright David Yee, who asked everyone: “What would it take to transform our society for the betterment of all?”

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