Artist and ecofeminist prOphecy sun to shine as Shadbolt fellow

January 11, 2021

“Prolific” is one of many adjectives you could use to describe prOphecy sun, an artist, emerging scholar and ecofeminist who is one of four Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellows in the Humanities for 2020-2021. sun’s website is a diverse portfolio packed with short films and performance videos, art installations, articles and book chapters, experimental soundscapes and musical projects.

“I am a very high energy person,” she says. “I have a lot of interests and I don't like to work in just one medium. I don't think I'm very good at anything; I think I'm pretty OK at a lot of things, so I have my hand in multiple cookie jars at the same time.”

Sense of place runs strongly through sun’s art. As a performer she tends to respond to a location and to her emotions in that location. Nostalgic Geography, for example, is a performance piece created in response to her father's passing in which she used video shot with drones and handheld cameras to explore a Kootenay lakeside where her family once lived.

“I went through the landscape and imagined my father walking the same places that I walked,” sun says. “It's a performance but it's been filmed. I'm sharing those captured moments with the audience. It was about loss, but it was also about joy and unsettling perspectives of the landscape from the very colonial perspective of going through a landscape that was obviously at some point also an Indigenous space.”

sun feels a particularly strong affinity for water. It’s a theme she intends to pursue during her Shadbolt fellowship through a series of video vignettes, soundscapes, and interventions recorded in the tidal flats and marshland of the Fraser River.

“Breathing life in and breathing life out, there's a rhythm and emotion that happens with water whether it's still or moving,” she says. “My goal is to just feel the space, feel the landscape, feel my skin, my breath, feel the weather, to respond to what I come across each time I go to the space. I let the land dictate where I should go, to open myself up, to wander through it and see what happens.”

The recordings will serve as the basis for a project titled Compositions for the Fraser Lowlands which may include an album, live performance and immersive exhibition, and publications. sun’s Shadbolt residency, which is hosted by the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, runs until the end of August 2021 and the project’s actual outcome will depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. As an artist and as a mother, sun is realistic but optimistic. The arts, she believes, can help ease our recovery.

“I encourage everybody to keep trying to make things. It just may not be in the way that we expect in the same amount of time, or the type of medium that we're working with. And we need to keep supporting each other because there's a vitality in the arts that you can't get in other ways. We can be nourished by food, we can be nourished by other types of sustenance, but the arts are the things that help us breathe.”

Shadbolt Fellows Events

Join us online at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 to meet the Shadbolt Fellows in a panel discussion moderated by Stephen Collis (Professor, SFU Department of English) and June Scudeler (Assistant Professor, SFU Indigenous Studies). This event is hosted with the support of SFU Public Square. Register on Eventbrite

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