La danse des mains


The work La danse des mains is a citizen co-creation project, produced by the artist Tina Marais as part of the program Cultural Bridges from one shore to the other, hosted by the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) and its partners, Culture Montréal, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), the Société de la Place des Arts, the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Arts and Culture Council (CACVS) and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.

“The dance of the hands” is presented here as part of the CACVS touring program. This program allows the resumption of works while diversifying their audience and enriching the cultural life of citizens of different municipalities of the MRC of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

“As an immigrant from South Africa, upon my arrival in Quebec and during my first French course, I felt for the first time in my life what the feeling of being deaf is. Not that I couldn't hear, but I didn't understand anything I heard. It's a very isolating and frightening feeling. I knew that people in my community only spoke French, and out of respect for the country that welcomed me, I did my best to try. What I realized during this period of “linguistic deafness” is the rapidity with which our other senses adapt to observe in more detail the body of the person who is speaking to us, their eyes, their facial expression, the dancing of the hands in the middle of the conversation. I realized that as human beings, we are all so interconnected that if we truly want to communicate and understand each  other, we find a way to make ourselves understood. Since then, I have witnessed so many conversations, which, limited by our linguistic deafness have become real dances of body language”

The sculptural work was created with the participation of students from Collège Gérald-Godin, adult students in francization, special education students from the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board and the public who frequent the Salle Pauline-Julien. Participants created abstract shapes reminiscent of the shape of hands. The shapes were then covered with fine cotton and paper soaked in glue. Once dry, they were used to cover the sculptural form, adding texture and creating movement.

This project is intended to be a metaphor for how our diverse cultural heritage is infinite and how our lives are connected and woven together. This is also a simple example of sharing artistic experiences and using textile art projects in the community to bring people of different backgrounds together; a celebration of diversity. The work will be a eulogy of the dance of the hands which is an integral part of human expression.

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