Victor Masayesva


The Serious Side of Humour: Use of Clowning and Humour in Traditional Storytelling

April 16, 2019

Thursday, November 15, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Fletcher Challenge Theatre, SFU Vancouver
515 Hastings Street, Vancouver
Admission by donation (suggested donation $5.00)

Join us as Victor Masayesva (Hopi) screens his new version of the
important documentary Ritual Clowns (1988). Through poetic
visualization and lyrical translation of Hopi myths, rituals, and
history, he explores the evolving and enduring role of the clown in
Hopi society. This experimental video is eclectic in its treatment of
the illusory ritual clown figures through a combination of live video,
ancient oral traditions and computer-generated animation.
Maintaining the perspective of the clown as a mirror of human
behaviour, the film explores the acerbic and ritually cleansing roles
of humour, parody, reversals, and prophecy in Southwest Native
American rituals and ceremonies.

Following the 40-minute screening, Victor will discuss the use of
humour in traditional storytelling and how oral traditions influence
his work.

Victor Masayesva is a Hopi experimental filmmaker who lives in his ancestral village, where he has traditional roles and responsibilities. His visually and intellectually complex layering of video and audio effects, still photographs and hand-painting contrast aspects of Native American cultures with the crippling perceptions and influences of white culture. Raised on Hotevilla on Third Mesa in Hopi, Masayesva graduated from Princeton University, majoring in literature and studying photography with Emmet Gowin. He has been
honoured with numerous awards including the University of Arizona Distinguished Alumni Award, the Gold Hugo at Chicago Festival, Two Rivers Visionary Award, Taos Festival's distinguished filmmaker award and the
American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award.

This program is the third in a series entitled Laughing “Irregardless”: Multimedia Aboriginal Humour curated and moderated by Aboriginal filmmaker, Loretta Todd, the programs are part of the SFU Public Square events.

The series complements the exhibition co-curated by Peter Morin and Dr. Martine Reid, Carrying on “Irregardless”: Humour in Contemporary Northwest Coast Art, at the Bill Reid Gallery September 12, 2012 - March 17, 2013.

Presented by the Bill Reid Gallery with support from: Canada Council for the Arts, United States Consulate General Vancouver, Face The World Foundation, SFU Vancouver, and SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples.

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