Victor Masayesva, Jr. Retrospective
Dawsoma: Making Meaning
Curated by Dorothy Christian
Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 1:00pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2
This year’s Artist Spotlight shines on the great Hopi filmmaker and Elder Victor Masayesva, Jr. in partnership with Vtape who produced the publication of Dorothy Christian’s essay on Victor Masayesva’s films. Following the film, there will be an extended Q&A with Dorothy Christian and Victor Masayesva, Jr.
Victor Masayesva, Jr. Retrospective: Dawsoma: Making Meaning
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.
Dawsoma: Making Meaning, is a reflective 88 minute program that screens three of Victor Masayesva, Jr.’s films. His first work, Hopiit (1982), Ritual Clowns (1988 and 2013) and Waaki – Sanctuary (2019), his most recent film; all of which present complex interrelationships between humans, the plants, the food systems, the animals, the birds, the ceremonies and the cycles of the Earth, Sun and Moon within the universe. Victor Masayesva, Jr.’s visual stories have carved a path for generations of Indigenous filmmakers to truly tell their/our stories from a visually sovereign stance. Following the screening the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of one of the most instrumental story keepers/makers in the global Indigenous screen world.
Dorothy Christian, Cucw-la7, PhD is from the Secwepemc and Syilx Nations of the interior of BC. Currently, she is Associate Director, Indigenous Initiatives at Simon
Fraser University. Before graduate studies, Cucw-la7 worked for the national broadcaster Vision TV to bring Indigenous stories from across Turtle Island and Mexico to the Canadian screen culture.
Victor Masayesva Jr. (born 1951) is a Hopi filmmaker, video-artist, and photographer. Born on the Hopi Reservation of Arizona, and growing up in Hotevilla, Masayesva's artistic career reflects his active participation with the Hopi community, his body of work promoting Hopi culture and worldview.
Padget, Martin (2013). “Hopi Film, the Indigenous Aesthetic and Environmental Justice: Victor Masayesva Jr.’s Paatuwaqatsi – Water, Land and Life” in Journal of American Studies (Special Collection: Art Across Frontiers), Vol. 47, Issue 2, pp. 363-384.