The Courtyard Commission: Dispersion @RunghCulture

Dispersion is a site-specific audio-visual dance performance featuring dancers Sophia Wolfe and Alex Tam, choreographed by Ralph Escamillian, visual projections by Nancy Lee and Laine Butler and musical composition and clarinet performance by Kiran Bhumber.

Curatorial Statement – The Courtyard Commission: Dispersion

dispersion7-800x450The Courtyard Commission emerged from a desire to re-imagine and re-envision the potential of the beautiful courtyard space at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby. What happens when a group of innovative artists are brought into an inspiring space? What will they see, and what will it inspire them to create? How will a courtyard whose design draws from the traditions of Islamic gardens— built initially for an immigrant community developing roots in Canada—speak to others who may not have direct access to the significance the space holds for a particular community?

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Reflections by Kiran Bhumber and Nancy Lee


nancy-lee-bio-imageThe Ismaili Centre’s marble exterior inspired us (Laine Butler & I) to develop visuals to project on to the building using paint. We video recorded the microscopic process of paint marbling on a small canvas using a 90mm marcroscopic lens. Kiran Bhumber composed the music inspired by our visuals. Ralph Escamillan choreographed movement with Sophia Wolfe and Alex Tam inspired by the ritual of garment wearing practices and the space in the courtyard.


kiran-bhumber-bio-imageAs a musician trained in the western–classical tradition, it was truly rewarding to perform for an audience whose rich traditions diverge from the western aesthetic. In the past few years, I have been creating art which intends to (re)connect myself with my cultural heritage. Although I am not Ismaili, the performance afforded me to feel connected to my South Asian/ Punjabi roots. This is probably because of the reaction and feedback that I received from audience members ranging from children to elders. One that has stayed with me was from an elder gentleman who said my clarinet melodies reminded him of a folk song he used to sing when he was younger. I’m grateful that art has the power to illicit the past, remind us of our memories and inscribe new meanings for the future.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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