For over a thousand years the Chewa people of Malawi have reaffirmed their collective voice and identity through the masked spirit dances of Gule Wamkulu (The Great Dance). Yet, like the Chewa themselves, the community rituals of the Gule Wamkulu have continually re-adapted to changing forces and events. The most recent of these forces has been the devastating AIDS pandemic and its uncompromising sweep across Africa.
The Village is Tilting: Dancing AIDS in Malawi features a series of masks, photographs, and videos documenting the depth of awareness and cultural response to the AIDS pandemic by rural Malawians. More than a plaintive victim?s cry, The Village is Tilting uses elements of Gule Wamkulu itself ? dance, drama, dialogue, and humour ? to strip away conventional images of AIDS to reveal its inextricable links to an interconnected set of conditions and causes: poverty, gender inequality, and civil injustice.
The exhibition is guest curated and assembled by Vancouver-based photographer Douglas Curran, who has documented the Chewa mask culture for over ten years.
Thanks to exhibition sponsors The Georgia Straight and Deans Knight Capital Management Ltd.