Art Apart: Sêkisiw
About the project
Sêkisiw (Scary Churches) is a monologue, the innocent confession of a young Cree boy named Bobbi, who compares the horrors of residential schools and his understanding of the church to horror movies. Although he never says the words “residential schools” in the monologue, it is his fearful description, detail, and comparison to fictional evils that make the violent essence of these colonial histories so vivid.
In Sêkisiw, Ashleigh Giffen depicts a young Indigenous character who is intrinsically present in his communities' ways of knowing. From vague stories of his Mooshums childhood, to the maternal warnings given by his Kookum, Bobbi grapples with the understanding of what it means to create fictional horror for entertainment, when so many of his people have lived through the realities of their own colonial horror.
This project received financial support from the National Theatre School of Canada via the Art Apart program, an emergency fund for emerging artists who are affected by physical distancing due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
About the artist
Ashleigh Giffen is a 22 year old Oji-Cree/Pueblo/Icelandic artist. She was raised in Squamish territory but now lives in Syilx Territory. She is a multi disciplinary artist exploring dream state, realm travel, and fragmented histories through lenses of critical indigeneity and discouraging genre. Her first play, Kamwatan Nipe (quiet water) held its first reading at the Arts Club theatre company, and she is currently in the process of a full-length commission at the Arts Club writing its duo project. She was the 2nd place winner of the 2019 Canadian Arts and Stories writing contest, as well as the 2019 Writing in the Margins poetry winner in Briarpatch magazine. She also is the 2nd place winner in the 2020 Room magazine poetry contest. Ashleigh writes for Indigenous peoples first, the other world second.