Life is full of surprises and beautiful stories. During the winter of 2021, artist and illustrator Youloune was exploring our website when she came across the video recordings of the event held by Ondinnok: Constrained Body, Dancing Body, Conversations and performances on Indigenous dance in Quebec today. She immediately wrote to us and shared a link to drawings she was working on.
The idea of making a small book soon sprang to mind. That is how the magnificent web publication Mémoires des corps entravés et des corps dansants came into being—a testament to the souls and bodies of the Indigenous artists who took part in the event. As Catherine Joncas writes, “At Ondinnok, ancestral memories are a sacred territory that we visit with great respect and from where we receive messages that guide our creations and are fundamental to maintaining our identities.” The experimentation with the artists will focus on ties to territory, using a decolonizing approach.
Ancestral memories are part of the very fibre of our being: they are lodged in our bones, brain and organs. They suddenly emerge, surprise us and offer comfort, reminding us of an essential human connection that extends far back in time. During this global crisis, it is more urgent than ever that we pay attention to these memories and share their messages.
Many thanks to the artists who shared their thoughts and experiences; to Ondinnok and Tangente for their generous collaboration; and to Youloune who captured these fleeting moments with such grace and beauty.