January Visual Artist

Breanna Barrington

About the Artist

Breanna Barrington/Luka is a multimedia artist based in Amiskwaciy-Wâskahikan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta (2018);Through painting, sculpture, and installation I craft visual metaphors which poke at the tension between modern urbanity, and the not-so-distant past; I am particularly interested in that which remains non-soluble in the “homogenized milk product” of Western culture. What traditions prevail, when cut from the umbilicus of one’s home country? Often, I work with found objects, historical archives, and recycled materials as sites of contemplation. One can glean a lot about the future, from looking toward the past.

Artist Statement:

When my Baba and Gido found out what my parents decided to call me, they scrunched their noses and said “what kind of a name is that?? It doesn’t sound very Ukrainian!”. To make up for that misstep, my Mother had me enrolled in Troyanda Ukrainian Dance in Grande Prairie at the age of 5, and I didn’t take a break for the next 17 years. Being a 2nd /3rd generation “Canadian”, I have no doubt that my experiences with storytelling through dance are to blame for the strong connection I feel with the Ukrainian half of my cultural heritage – after all, I rarely feel particularly British, German, or whatever else might be lingering in the genes.

Modern folk choreography often invokes aspects of a culture that in some ways no longer exist, having been muffled by modernity. As a child, I performed semi-pagan abundance rituals under incandescent lighting to ensure the success of crops which existed only within the memories of ancestors long deceased. I frolicked with friends in the “mountains of Transcarpathia”, playing pranks for the attention of the village hunk, little Ivan. Somehow through the movement, I was able to ignore the fact that all of my friends were wearing the same “gypsy-red” lipstick, matching slippers, and nude nylons – I was lost in the imaginary world that could have been my life if history had unfurled a bit differently.

Taking part in dance activity with no doubt had a strong influence on my identity as a “Ukrainian”, that is… until I actually went to Ukraine. As I got older, I began to realize that I was performing an identity that my ascendants left at the door when they were forced to assimilate into Canada. This led me to wonder, how are the universal and hidden languages of dance used as a time machine? And what can be learned about a culture from its traditional dances? Furthermore; How does the ritualized movement of bodies plug our brains into the collective unconscious and allow us to interact with the egregore that is formed through the evolution of Culture.

There are ways of knowing which can only be accessed through experience, but what kind of knowledge can be gleaned from informed pretending?