Collaborative art project emerges from Mother Tongues Festival

In February 2023, ten artists from various disciplines were chosen to participate in the collaborative workshop “Words Work” with multilingual artist Caroline Bergvall, organized as part of the Mother Tongues Festival. Among them were Cleide Regina, a filmmaker and a visual artist, Leia Mocan, a visual artist who experiments with various mediums, and Subhashini Goda, a dancer, academic and poet. During the course of the workshop, the three of them drawn together by their shared interest in the theme of “gestures”, began to explore the significance of colours in their creative work.

Their project, Blue/ Albastru / Azul / Neelam, was born out of the realization that colours are linked to emotions, regardless of one’s national, ethnic, or racial identity. The colour blue, in particular, caught their attention for its multiple interpretations, ranging from significations of royalty, vastness, and divinity to mundane and dislike. The three artists began to create three separate pieces of poetry in each of their languages (Romanian, Portuguese and Tamizh) that described how they saw their identities as women of different backgrounds, and their art as a space to express this, particularly using certain colours.

Leia first created an elaborate work of art on paper using charcoal and paint made with earth, while Subhashini worked on an interpretative dance piece using the idiom of Bharatanatyam. Cleide shot the videos of them at work and began to put them together by interweaving the spoken poems, the process of the painting, and the dance in itself to create the final video project that described these many transitions.

From blue to rust, their homelands to immigrant lands, infinite to the finite, helplessness to love, and sky to the earth, Blue took on a life of its own. By using gestures, speech and their interpretive mediums, the three artists celebrated the invisibility of the colour blue by substituting it for the colours of the land, lands that they chose their identities from and continue to infuse their identities into.

Blue was a seed planted during a creative collaboration between three artists on a cold February day in 2023. It grew into a project that explores the significance of colours in our lives, our identities, and our creative expressions.

The video work was featured in the exhibition “Under the Sterile” by Leia Mocan, which took place at Gallery X from April 11th to April 15th, 2023.

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