This event will have live BSL interpretation and live captioning
Performance can be process of shapeshifting, with artists able to reinvent themselves and create new worlds. Into the New 2021 is delighted to welcome renowned performers George Chakravarthi, Le Gateau Chocolat and Jess Thom to an interactive symposium hosted by fashion scholar and performer Sequioa Barnes, exploring how and why artists use personas, alter egos and multiple identities in their work.
This event takes place online on Zoom. We recommend that you download Zoom.
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
George Chakravarthi is a multidisciplinary artist who works with visual and live art performance employing his body and image to explore the politics of identity. Describing his work as a series of self-portraits, he also incorporates religious and spiritual iconography referencing his Hindu and Catholic upbringing. The analysis of identities permeates throughout the works, which deconstruct learned and socially accepted definitions of the gendered body, sexuality and cultural identity; the intense scrutiny of his personal experiences challenging those received wisdoms and limitations. Chakravarthi’s self-portraits often offer intimate access to the psyche through personas and alters, interventions and collaborations, eliciting the viewer’s own revelations and conclusions through live, photographic and video works. Chakravarthi’s works have been presented at Royal Festival Hall and Chelsea Arts Centre, London; Abrons Art Centre, New York; Globe Gallery, Newcastle and The Citadel Arts Centre, St Helens.
Le Gateau Chocolat
Le Gateau Chocolat is a one-man, larger-than-life musical phenomenon, wrapped in dazzling sequinned lycra. The six-and-half foot tall, six-inch heeled, wig-clad wonder swings wildly from one end of the musical spectrum to another, from disco, opera, musicals and pop. Le Gateau Chocolat’s work spans drag, cabaret, opera, musical theatre, children’s theatre and live art. As a technically-gifted and celebrated baritone, Le Gateau Chocolat has been invited to perform at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, Sydney Opera House, and as part of the Olivier- winning La Clique/La Soiree. His recent production ICONS has toured to Sydney Festival, Wales Millennium Centre, Soho Theatre, Underbelly Southbank and more. ICONS has also been presented with accompaniment from the Little Coco Orchestra, a Le Gateau Chocolat initiative to support diverse musicians through the creation of an ensemble formed entirely of women of colour.
Writer, artist and part-time superhero, Jess Thom co-founded Touretteshero in 2010 as a creative response to her experience of living with Tourettes Syndrome. She campaigns for disability rights and social justice and is on a mission to change the world ‘one tic at a time.’ Jess is a regular performer at Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, DaDaFest, Unlimited Festival and Shambala. She made Broadcast from Biscuit Land as part of On Stage: Live from Television Centre for BBC4 in 2015. In 2018 her one-hour film Me, My Mouth and I was broadcast on BBC2 and went on to be screened in the USA, Russia, Chile, Switzerland and Canada. During the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, Jess devised and delivered Digital Heroes of the Imagination with the National Youth Theatre and created a Pandemic Postcard for the Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto.
Sequoia Barnes is a scholar and creative whose work is predominately centered around making processes, rituals, and modes of fashioning. Trained in semiotics, she deploys research through praxis often in her scholarly and artistic explorations of black diasporic symbolisms, storytelling as performance, and positioning the creative process as a performance/ritual. Her scholarly work currently explores the design techniques and aesthetic semiotics of late fashion designer, Patrick Kelly. Her most recent artistic works include her artist responses to Senga Nengudi (Fruitmarket Gallery) and Nick Cave (Tramway) with performative works entitled Sew Me A Quilt. Tell You A Story. (2019) and The Burden I Bear Is Heavy (2019), respectively. She is currently completing a PhD in Design, ‘Patrick Kelly: Fashioning Racial Kitsch, Camp, and the Post-black Ethos’ (working title), at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. She completed her Master of Arts in History of Design and Material Culture at the University of Brighton with the dissertation ‘Dusky Gentlemen of Fashion: Examining the Black Dandy and Mimicry as Redressing the Black Male Identity in 19th Century America’.
Photo Credits (l-r): Jessica Thom by Ro Murphy, Le Gateau Chocolat by Eli Schmidt