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Ritual Clowns

Victor Masayesva, Jr. | Experimental
Canada| 2013 | 17 min

Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 1:00pm
Victor Masayesva, Jr. Retrospective: Dawson: Making Meaning
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2

Treating the subject of ritual clowns and their contemporary roles in the Pueblo plazas of the Southwest this program explores their ritually cleansing role. An unusual mix of video effects and montage produce a compelling perspective on Hopi clowns and humor.


Hopi visual storyteller/filmmaker Victor Masayesva, Jr. may be the most scrutinized. Indigenous image-maker because he offers his culturally specific visuals in his films and photographs, without explanation and without apology. He has made bold statements about Indigenous aesthetics and accountability that have led Indigenous and non-Indigenous film theorists to many iterations and interpretations of his words. One scholar considers Masayesva, Jr. "one of the most influential Indigenous filmmakers and photographers of his generation (2013)." His words and images have invigorated many discussions of how his approach informs visual/narrative sovereignty and its many nuances.