#RVisions “Fight to Remain! Jataka Fables for Community Building and Resilience”

In Divine Company was invited to present art for #RVisions for  Chinatown project (by Chinese Progressive Association and W/Y Gallery) to encourage Chinatown residents to continue resisting aggressive development in the area!

For the commission, we presented a re-interpretation of the Budhhist Jataka Fables, reinterpreted for community buikding and resilience (we are hoping to make it into a mobile traveling puppet show come Spring) – One of fables re-written below

In a week’s time, I painted three large banners to hang at the prominent Unite Here Building in Chinatown. The animal bodies were modeled after my Kalari instructor Pradhuman Nayak (the idea to root into animal instincts to fight mindfully for rights)

We performed stories on allyhood, community responsibility and agency in Chinatown for residents in trilingual (english mandarin cantonese) narration, song and movement

Photo by CPA. Performing the story of the boat and the fish with Chien-Hwe Carol Hong of 1000 Virtues Dance (narrator and director of our performance), Kramer Gibson (music), Iris Cutler (dance) of East Meets West Bookstore, and of course, Loreto holding down logistics.

“By the Light of the Moon”
Themes: Friendship and Allyhood
Puppet: Boar, Fish
Sets: Banyan Tree, Moon, River
Animal Body: Boar and Fish

Summary:
Two longtime friends discover that the truth can free them from the most convoluted argument. At the moment of truth, seeking to believe each other’s perspective without definite proof, helps to save their friendship.

Story:Once upon a time, there were two very good friends who lived together along the river. One was a boar and one was a fish. Every morning the fish would go say hello to the
boar at the water’s edge. They would make nice conversation at every meal. And the fish would follow the boar along the water’s edge when they had time to play and make merry.

However, every full moon they would get into an unfortunate argument over how the moon appeared. And as they had no way of visiting each other’s worlds, it was one of those impossible arguments. The boar would get very irascible and hurtful and the fish would cry.

Again this happens, and we see the two friends fighting with each other so bitterly. This time the argument escalates so much, they even start calling each other names! “Bubble breath!” “Tusk face!” The boar annoyed by the fish’ tears… the fish scared at how terrifying the boar looks.

Fearing for their friendship, the fish asks the boar whether it was at such a point that maybe they never see each other again? Was it so outrageous that though he didn’t know her world that her world might exist?

The boar was stunned by her words and snorted his confusion. His heart
stopped short. As he thought about what it might feel like not to see his lovely fish friend kissing his snout in the morning and jumping out of the water to sparkle in the sun when they promenade, his anger melted away into sadness.

“Would you then believe my world too exists?” he asked her tentatively.

“You aren’t seeing? You are my world,” she replied.

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