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Vancouver artist Ghinwa Yassine asks How Far Can a Marked Body Go?

Ghinwa Yassine by Elke Dick.
Ghinwa Yassine aims to reinsert women's bodies into the narrative of Lebanese history. Photo by Elke Dick.

As nearly everyone knows, a gesture is a nonverbal communication, with the message transmitted through a visible body action. And gestural agency, or agentic gesture, has been the research focus of Vancouver artist Ghinwa Yassine over the past three years.

On Wednesday (April 19), Yassine will shed light on this in How Far Can a Marked Body Go? at VIVO Media Arts Centre. It’s the second and final installment in her series of projects based on a 2019 uprising against the elite in Lebanon. At that time, women took to the streets of Beirut to protest sexual harassment, bullying, and discriminatory citizenship laws.

Yassine, who was born and raised in the Lebanese capital, will tell a story of embodied agency. She plans to do this through an interplay between re-enactment, archival images, and animation.

The artist’s ultimate aim is to reinsert women’s bodies into the narrative of Lebanese history. In addition, she’ll be asking questions around “boundaries, safety, appearance, and disappearance”, according to the VIVO Media Arts Centre.

In an interview with Pancouver last year, Yassine described herself as an “anti-disciplinary artist” because she likes to blur boundaries. Plus, she believes that adhering to specific and rigid disciplines imposes limitations on how people view art. Moreovere, her art confronts patriarchal systems, trying to represent what it means to be a marked body.

KickQueen
In KickQueen, Ghinwa Yassine urges Lebanese women to kick patriarchy in the crotch. Image by Ghinwa Yassine.

Yassine launched series with KickQueen

She created the first installment of her series, KickQueen, to ensure that the role of women’s bodies in the 2019 Beirut uprising was not erased or forgotten.

KickQueen (2020) takes a gesture from the October 2019 protests in Lebanon as its main element,” Yassine states on her website. “The project extracts this kick that a female protestor gave to an armed body-guard in his crotch while extrapolating the limits of its representation as a revolutionary icon and resuscitating it as an embodied possibility for Lebanese women.”

How Far Can a Marked Body Go? is curated by Mandana Mansouri, who describes herself as “a displaced Kurdish artist and writer”. Her biography on the VIVO website states that Mansouri “started forgetting her mother tongue when she went to school in 1988” but now she is remembering.

“As a physical being, she is an uninvited guest on the stolen land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ First Nations,” her biography continues. “In her mind, she is dancing with her people in front of a fire.”

Animation and technical direction was provided by Conor Provenzano and Arman Paxad with technical assistance from Elke Dick
.

VIVO Media Arts Centre (2625 Kaslo Street) presents How Far Can a Marked Body Go? by Ghinwa Yassine at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (April 19). Admission is free and attendees are encouraged to register on the VIVO website. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.