Updated: Dec 12, 2020
The year of the global lockdown brought unprecedented learning curves and mind-shifts to many, including artists. Yet the gesture to reach out and create communities of artistry and compassion persisted. 'Nilay' is the result of this continued gesture of solidarity with artists, finding solace and healing through shared spaces of art-making.
Nilay was the result of an ongoing research into the interior life in meditative movement, seeing it as a source of creative expression and exploration. Even through limiting and limited conditions as the pandemic, the interior world continues to be a wellspring of possibilities and hope as we tap into this quiet reservoir.
Gathering other Philippine artists as Solaiman Jamisolamin, a classical guitarist of the UP College of Music to accompany the screendance, and Oyayi sound healer Yeyette San Luis to vocalize poetry as a subtle layering and literary intertext to the work, we worked together to give life to the expressivity and richness of the inner world, as gestures for self-healing and mindful artistry that can cascade meaning back to our larger world.
Jamisolamin used guitar to create tunes reminiscent of Philippine instruments as kudyapi and kulintang, as well as the Japanese koto. San Luis used her voice to end the film with a song, like a comforting mother's lullaby for the world's children.
The videography by Takeshi Kondo of the riverscapes of Melbourne's Yarra River, with shots of a Philippine beach, and clips from my nihonbuyo dance solo in Kyoto's four-centuries-old Oe Noh Theatre, created a layered and highly-textured screendance. Filipina-American dance artist Angela Valdez's skilled editing heightened the lyricism of the work.
The movements I used were inspired by my training in the subtle art of Qigong which is inspired by the poetic movements of nature, together with contemporary explorations of tracing the Philippine baybayin letters with arm and hand gestures.
Subtle and terse like a haiku, yet redolent of the encompassing cosmology of the "bodymindworld unity" proffered by Asian scholars Leledaki and Brown, the work speaks of the inner person working in consonance with the larger universe in a constant conversation of relationality, a porosity of consciousness, conversing with and affecting each other in an intricate, numinous, life-sustaining dance.
Screened at Melbourne Fringe Festival on Nov. 24-29, 4pm Australia/ 1pm Asia. A free event.
Please book through: melbournefringe