INTERVIEW: Your Story, My Story, Their Story Now | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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London-based performance and visual artist Natasha Davis’ interdisciplinary work focuses on themes of crossing borders, body and memory. Having worked alongside ARC with communities in Stockton since 2017, her new work entitled Your Story, My Story, Their Story Now, seeks to share the hidden stories of moments of laughter, loss, kindness and new beginnings in an online performance film, which debuts via ARC’s website on Thursday 8th April.

Every person has an interesting story to share.” She says, of the inspiration behind her work. “Additionally, the voices of new arrivals, often from areas of various conflicts around the world, in need of international protection, are rarely heard in public directly, and it has always been important to me to include as many different voices as possible in any artistic conversation and exchange.”

Natasha’s previous work with communities in Stockton saw her make participatory-led performance work with local residents, including asylum seekers and refugees. “I contacted a few previous participants and we devised mini creative tasks for each of them for this Spring. They have also been sending me photos, texts and various thoughts, which I am mixing together in a short film and combining with my own thoughts on the past year, on the now and beyond. Occasionally I have filmed a conversation with them via Zoom and I am using short extracts from it for the film.”

the voices of new arrivals, often from areas of various conflicts around the world, are rarely heard in public directly, and it has always been important to me to include as many different voices as possible in any artistic conversation and exchange

YSMSTSN will take the form of a 20-minute film collage which will incorporate these mini contributions. “Together they provide a snapshot of the moment we’re living in now, how we feel about it, what are its joys and pains, provided by a diverse small group of people, some of them recent or less recent arrivals in Stockton.” The film is made up of images, mini performances, text messages, poetic lines, diverse voices, music and transformative moments, and audiences are encouraged to get involved in the conversation during a post-screening Q&A session.

In making the work, Natasha was struck by one overarching narrative: that of support for others. “I found all exchanges with local contributors pretty fascinating, but what most resonated with me, and what without an exception happened in every instance was that – even though the participants in the film have often been and still are in a difficult personal situation due to Covid restrictions or the impact of Covid on their lives – without exception they are all also focusing very much on helping others. Often when I called them we weren’t able to talk immediately because they were just on their way to help someone shopping, or help with translating a document or a letter. I found that very inspiring.”

The physical act of communicating with others and sharing challenges and triumphs has been an aspect of daily life we all sorely miss, and Natasha’s work with marginalised local communities highlights how much we all need that connection. “Staying in touch and continuing creative projects has been important to us all. Even though we can’t meet in person at the moment, it has been important to me to continue collaborating. Exchanging information via pictures, poetic texts, mini films and artistic tasks is a joyous life-affirming process, which continues to bind us through these currently rather complex times.”

Your Story, My Story, Their Story Now is screened via ARC, Stockton on Thursday 8th April, followed by an open conversation after the film

 

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