Deanna Bowen

Deanna Bowen and Russell Bennett, Paul Good/Robert Shelton Character Study, Daily live rehearsal. Approx. 30 minutes, Based on transcript from Good/Shelton interview c. February 1964

Deanna Bowen

In partnership, Gallery 44 and the Images Festival commissioned Toronto based artist Deanna Bowen to develop a project in residence at Gallery 44.

The Paul Good Papers is an interdisciplinary project based on Bowen’s research into the third wave Ku Klux Klan and its connections to Canada. Between April 5 and 21 at Gallery 44, Bowen and actor Russell Bennett will be staging a series of performances to reanimate a revealing audio-recorded interview between veteran broadcast reporter Paul Good and Robert Shelton, the Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America Inc. Bowen and Bennett's daily performances will be photographed, printed, and presented at Gallery 44 over the course of the two-week exhibition and residency. Daily performances begin at 1pm.

The Paul Good Papers also includes the premiere presentation of a 24-minute looping video projection based on Good's recording of school integration attempts in Notasulga, AL in February 1964. The work exposes the Klan's involvement and opposition to Notasulga school integration attempts by highlighting the beating of novice broadcast reporter Vernon Merritt III. A series of related photographs and reproductions provide additional contextual framing about the Notasulga events, whilst simultaneously framing the seemingly isolated American incident within Canadian current events. A performance will take place at Gallery 44 each day at 1PM.

Bowen’s work centres on themes of African American/Canadian memory, trauma and autobiography. Her most recent work consists of ongoing archival research into civil rights history, activism and the migration of African Americans from the southern United States into Canada. Eschewing the familiar photographic and filmed images of the time period, Bowen's new project will create a work that instead relies on audio recordings by journalists in Alabama in the 1960s and live re-enactments to analyze and retell these histories.

DISCUSSION

Deanna Bowen will read from Elizabeth Alexander’s “Can you be BLACK and Look at This?”: Reading the Rodney King Video(s) in a related reading event presented in collaboration with No Reading After the Internet. Co-facilitated by Bowen and Cheyanne Turions, the open format discussion will take place at 204 Spadina Ave on April 3 at 7pm. Bowen will read segments of Alexander's text and pose initial questions aboutthe potential that arises from the re-examination of difficult histories.

Deanna Bowen is a descendant of the Alabama and Kentucky-born Black Prairie pioneers of Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta. She is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited internationally in numerous film festivals and galleries. She has received several grants in support of her artistic practice.