Crow Cianciola
&
Kwabena Chan AnsaPilsquehSis

Kwabena Chan AnsaPilsquehSis: as Human Kite
mixed media photo installation
2009

LINEAGE I

Crow Cianciola is a writer and visual artist living in Oakland, California. Crow is currently a graduate student at California College of Art. His recent projects explore queerness in the US as a history of racialization.

Kwabena Chan AnsaPilsquehSis was born May 14, 1957 and was raised in Old Town, Maine. CHAN toured and performed with Arthur Hall’s African-American Dance Ensemble in Philadelphia, PA, with Lee Nagrin and Sky Fish Ensemble in New York City and Colorworks Multicultural Media. He was a multimedia artist, painter, writer and performance artist.

Most of the archive material I received consisted of VHS and digital video copies of CHAN’s rehearsal tapes over a 15-year period. At different locations CHAN is seen reworking dance ideas alone or with others. From an improvised dance CHAN performed with a Maine storm known as the Nor’easter on the cliffs of Fort Williams, the video was taken in the last several months of his life. This book of video stills freezes the movement of the wind into gestures and form. CHAN performed as an armature or partner for the elements.

My relationship to CHAN began when he was still alive. He bought something from my vegetable stand at the farmers market. I had friends who knew him well. He and I exchanged hellos. And now I am spending a lot of time with his image, his rehearsal tapes and some of his belongings. Now I'm the keeper of his images. These are not my memories of him. This match feels right even while it makes me nervous about my own viewership. Somehow it makes sense. - Crow Cianciola

Unlike most archive matches in Lineage, Chan became a California resident only after he died of AIDS.  Crow traveled across country from Maine with a box containing photographs, videotaped performances and other artifacts to honor Chan’s wish that the evidence of his creative life as dancer/choreographer live on in some way. The work in this exhibition is the start of a series of pieces Crow intends to complete inspired by his friend from Maine. And Chan will live on in memory through these artworks and in the archives of the GLBT Historical Society as a new acquisition. - E.G. Crichton

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