Partners in Art is proud to support the Koffler Gallery’s project Siren III taking place Sep. 2022. This project features nichola feldman-kiss, as curated by Mona Filip & Pamela Edmonds.
Siren III is a new video and sound installation by Toronto artist nichola feldman-kiss, building upon her series of politically provocative artworks that mine the local context and articulate reflections on worldwide stressors driving global migration, flights from homelands, and oceanic passages. Referencing traumatic histories alongside contemporary conditions of oppression rooted in conquest, border rule, and climate change, the artist’s current explorations remain anchored in autobiography and ancestry.
In the installation, a monumental moving image immerses the viewer into the Atlantic’s unsettling depths, resonant with the present absences of migrant, exiled, and enslaved people transported over centuries of forced displacement. The camera frames a subjective view of the turbulent water, turning each viewer into a lone protagonist lost at sea. Struggle, descent, drifting, and ascension are witnessed by a chorus of ululations enveloping the visitor within a volumetric soundscape. Common to feminine cultures across Africa, the Middle East, India, and their diasporas, ululations accompany ritual events and rites of passage such as births, weddings, and funerals. Whether celebratory or mournful, these vocal improvisations mark existential transitions, welcome arrivals, or perform a send-off into journey. Evoking the mythical sea creatures known to tempt sailors toward rocky shores and certain death with their enchanting song, the powerful chorus suggests an uncanny lure as well as a protective warning, signalling both danger and rescue.
Reflecting on innermost anxieties, inherited traumas, and lived ordeals, feldman-kiss articulates a meditation on the value of human life and an homage to the survival drive. In the face of devastation – a deadly virus, social unrest, economic hardship, war, and ecological collapse – Siren III offers a promise of solace, community, and delivery from troubled waters.