Culture | Border-crossing and body-mapping

Atelier Céladon’s Common Aliens illuminates diasporic experiences through art

Common Aliens: Diaspora in Time,  which ended on December 4, was the second edition of a curatorial project presented by Atelier Céladon; it explored experiences of time and temporality in relation to bodies that have historically been rendered unmappable. The project included the contributions of over forty organizers, activists, and artists spanning a four-day series at Studio XX and a DJ night at 820plaza. Collaborators spanning many creative fields in music, performance, and visual art came together to explore differential temporalities and create liberatory sites for racialized communities – both within a local Montreal context and beyond.

As an organization, Atelier Céladon prioritizes support for women and femme artists of colour, recognizing that their labour is often invisibilized and uncompensated in mainstream media production. Placing emphasis on process-based work, Atelier Céladon navigates creative collaboration as a means of social organization and community development. The Daily spoke to Hera Chan, the director of Atelier Céladon, about the organization’s history, current operations, and visions of futurity.

The McGill Daily (MD): What is Atelier Céladon?
Hera Chan (HC): Atelier Céladon is an artist organization that was founded about a year and a half ago in response to the lack of support for Indigenous and artists of colour in Montreal, particularly for young artists without credentials from established art institutions. The group has a core organizing team that works with scores of other artists, educators, curators, and community members in throwing up ad hoc events, as well as an annual series of programming called Common Aliens.

MD: What brings you together?
HC: We are brought together on the premise of bringing together Indigenous and artists of colour to speak with each other, as opposed to white institutions. In mutual support, we try to work through ideas of working together in collaboration, in strengthening our communities and networks, as well as building an infrastructure for Atelier Céladon that can reap the benefits of institutionality without its oppressive qualities.

MD: What’s ahead for you?
HC: It’s hard to speak now to what comes ahead without being abstract, though the method of our organizing can allude to that futurity. This method takes cues from community organizing and activist culture, in dealing with the need for institutional memory of racialized production and work, yet resisting the slowness that the bureaucracy of institutions can engender. We are working toward an institution of Céladon that can continue to support those involved, grow sustainably, and have the flexibility to deal with on-the-ground political realities of racialized people. What is exciting is the reach that Céladon has had throughout the last year and half, and the feedback we have been receiving. Almost all our events are run by and present women of colour, and in that, there is a spiritual feeling and sense of care that goes into each gathering that carries forward. Treating each gathering as a lesson in togetherness, what is exciting that we have been so successful in creating those spaces for people of colour that honour the labour of those people, particularly women.

The Daily reached out to some of the artists who participated in Common Aliens. Here are their bios.

MEET THE CREATORS

CHUKWUBUIKEM NNEBE (AKA: ALOOF HIPSTER)

What I do: DJ/host an electronic music radio show, Aloof Future, and sometimes write.
Favourite event in Montreal: Anything my friends DJ at.
Associated happenings around town: Soon-to-be event series (stay tuned!)
What excites me: Anything that centers on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) self-representation.
What annoys me: When inclusivity is used as a marketing buzzword to target “woke” millennials.
Work found at:aloofhipster.com, facebook.com/aloofhipster, and mixcloud.com/aloofhipster

ITZAYANA GUTIÉRREZ

What I do: I’m doing my PhD in the Art History and Communication Studies Department in McGill with the graduate option in Gender and Women’s Studies at IGSF (Institute of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies). I’m working with comic books and race representations in the Americas.
Favourite event in Montreal: Cabaret Tollé by Studio 303 and Vidéos de femmes dans le parc by GIV.
Associated happenings around town: Besides Atelier Céladon, I’m part of Ethnocultural Art Histories Research Group, based in Concordia and, more recently, the graphic design forces of FemTechNet.
What excites me: Visual and print culture, travel, music, cooking.
What annoys me: The combination of militarization, authoritarian medias and genocide propaganda.
More info at:.atelierceladon.com/itzayana-gutierrez

MUTATAYI FUAMBA (AKA: TSHIZIMBA, CHEESYMAN)

What I do: Beat-make, rap, produce, educate, get munchies.
Favourite party in Montreal: Voyage Funktastique.
Associated happenings around town: Strange Froots.
What excites me: Music, Hunter x Hunter, justice.
What annoys me: Discrimination, Hunter x Hunter’s hiatus, unoriginality.
Work found at: tshizimba.bandcamp.com and soundcloud.com/tshizimba

RAFAELLA ALEGRE (AKA: PITUCA PUTICA)

What I do: Play music at parties.
Favourite event in Montreal: CRZN! Cousins and Moonshine are also parties in which I have had a lot of fun. Céladon’s party was magic, so I hope that’s not the last one!
Associated happenings around town: CRZN is a Latinx-themed party I organize and it has only had a couple of editions, but I want to make a big comeback once it gets warmer again.
What excites me: Besides all the reggaeton songs in existence, fashion is probably one of the things that gets me more excited.I love what’s happening with brands like Y-3 and HBA, and how they re-imagine what certain articles of clothing are supposed to look like. And same with Tomasa del Real’s neoperreo. I’m just beginning to write my own music, so I’m [also] excited to make slutty poetry people can grind to.
What annoys me: What doesn’t?
Work found at:mixcloud.com/pitucaputica/ andsoundcloud.com/pitucaputica/crzn

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

For more information about Atelier Céladon, or to become a community member, visitatelierceladon.com.


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