2017/2018 Season Weesageechak

Yvonne Wallace:

Art is active. It moves. And it’s political.

We’re excited to welcome back Yvonne Wallace with The Last Dance which tells a story of a young expecting mother who struggles to not become another statistic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. She must be brave for both herself and her unborn baby.

“It isn’t going away without a fight. We need to make big changes to empower our loved ones.”

Domestic violence is a topic that has been pushed to the sidelines, with vulnerable women and children being forgotten and silenced. “I feel that there is a deep-rooted systemic failure in protecting our women. There is also a connection between domestic violence, victim blaming, isolation, and our missing and murdered woman crisis. Many lives are still afflicted today.”

“I want people to walk away contemplative. Questioning how we can all make a positive change to this ongoing problem of domestic violence. It isn’t going away without a fight. We need to make big changes to empower our loved ones.”

Wallace hopes to raise awareness on the issue, and believes Weesageechak is the perfect place to share this story. “Who better to work through these difficult issues than a collective of compassionate Indigenous artists?”

An excerpt of The Last Dance will showcase on Saturday, November 18th.

More from Yvonne Wallace

Where do you find your inspiration for your creative work?
Listening to live music. Eavesdropping on public transit. Mostly, I draw on my life experience. Identifying as First Nations, Ucwalmicw, and living in contemporary society gives me inspiration.

What is your most memorable performance?
1995 Native Theatre School (CIT) toured to Pine Ridge South Dakota. We performed a collective piece Blood Memory. It was a during a Pow Wow and we had “the show must go on” mentality. Our set was in the middle of a run-down football field with glass and gravel. We finished the show for our half-dozen audience of children and puppies. Even though horses and motorcycles whizzed by, we were invincible.

Who is your Indigenous role model? How do they inspire you?
My Grandmother Lah. She gave me her time, lived modestly, fed many, and loved everyone. She was born in 1905, a residential school survivor, and mother of 10 children. Her security during her lifetime was minimal. When I think about her limitations and all the children she raised by living off the land with hard work and patience, her memory is awe inspiring.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Don’t ever let your chin hit your chest.

Do you have any advice for new Indigenous creators just coming onto the scene?
Keep at it and surround yourself with other like-minded individuals. I know that there are many obstacles, but if you just keep doing the work, the work will find you. I promise. I’ve seen so many of my peers who started out with me do some incredible work.

What are your thoughts on addressing political topics through Indigenous art?
Art is active, it moves, and it’s political. Life was already political before I was born. Salmon numbers were on the decline; My siblings were sent to residential school by the court or my mother would’ve been sent to jail. Most of my community lived in poverty and my non-Indigenous father fell in love with my widowed mother of 6. My whole life has been subjected to limitations, but I’ve never accepted those limitations. In unity, we all need to convey our truth.

What does Indigenous art mean to you?
I’ve been inspired by my peers and the bravery and intellect that they’ve shown in film, music, writing, theatre, visual art, photography, and performance art. Indigenous art has kept me grounded because we’re still here representing our Ancestors.

What is coming up next for you?
I’m working on a one-woman performance, Transformation. It deals with language revitalization. I’ve been working on my own fluency all my life. Capilano University has been supportive in making my dream, a reality.

You can catch Yvonne Wallace’s The Last Dance on
Saturday, November 18th @ 7:30pm