Future Tongue and New Guard Theater opened Sanctuary June 2, at the Little Tokyo Art Complex in downtown Los Angeles. The exhibition runs through June 11 with evolving highlight performances throughout the week.
“The new exhibit, called Sanctuary, will involve five artists who will take over a space in downtown Los Angeles to investigate the concept of a personal and culture sanctuary in response to the contentious immigration reform debate taking hold right now.” – Future Tongue
This exhibit is so alive, experiencing it with just the explanation provided by Future Tongue, above, might be preferable.
For the freshest experience, click on this link: SANCTUARY, go to the exhibition, then come back to this coverage.
The experience of Sanctuary started as I drove through Little Tokyo, trying to find parking, I took a left, just passed the building, and found myself in a tent city, with just a few people visible. The tents are sanctuary.
As I walked towards the address, there were 3 police cars 50 feet ahead, quietly arresting a small group of people. Providing sanctuary?
Walking into the building, it was dark, and dingy, with a soft light coming out of the first elevator. Straight ahead, through a doorway, an arrow fashioned with blue tape, pointed the way upstairs. The exhibition started there. Two women, one standing, one sitting, were in the elevator, made up like a tiny, messy, dingy dressing room. The theater artists inside gave a feeling of questioning and being unsettled.
Up a few flights of stairs, it’s quiet, another actor, in beige, (they are all mainly clothed in muted beige and browns), walks by me slowly. There is a note strewn on one of the stairs, then you are on the third floor, it still feels dark and dingy, you can hear poetry, music, the hum of people down the hall, there, two actors, downcast, walking slowly along the wall, and the world outside disappears.
The first room is by artist Double Diamond Sun Body. It’s clean and modern, with old fashioned style frames, updated with neon, in the corner, almost like a doorway you know will take you somewhere else. The frames are juxtaposed to the pod like structure; you feel like you should slide into the pod, for a virtual experience, as if you have the choice between going yourself, or going virtually, into Sanctuary. There is also a projection on the wall, with old fashion frames, filled with what looks like clean blue ocean, and a tag line that says “Goodbye, Send me Pictures!*
Beckoned through a white curtain, you can hear poetry, a buzz of sounds, some with a rhythmic beat, coming from a room beyond. There is a wooden fort structure in the middle of the room, with lightly draped fabric, vessels with flowers hanging on the bottom, a small staircase up. There were 5 or so people inside, with a projection onto the ceiling of nature and lights. This room is the creation of Britt Harrison and B. Justine Jaime, with a collaborative mural/instillation on the right wall, of mystical mountains, sky and Harrison’s signature hands. Illuminated in the center, there is light and round objects in Jaime’s style. There are paintings by Harrison and photo collages by Jaime on the walls, where they have rendered visual ideals of Sanctuary.
A poet, Jeremy Radin and a female actor on the floor, have many people watching intently, as he concludes and interacts with the actor, co-creating her awakening, she begins to move through the space, around the fort, in front of the mural, waking, downcast, uncomfortable, around and into the Sanctuary created by Monica Canilao.
Canilao’s Sanctuary is light and golden, sculptural, found element and fabric instillation filling the entire space. There are four elemental tapestries in each corner, “tears” being one of them. A path, starting at the entrance, leads you around in loose curl, through the instillation, to the center where a loosely structured tent, with a small, upside down, bucket size space at the top, separated by fabric from the inside, with a light and other elements, referencing the higher self or penal gland of this Sanctuary. Elements of Swoon’s work can also be found, as she and Canilao collaborate often. Throughout is long golden Mylar fringe, with fans lightly moving the air, fringe and fabric.
Curling yourself back out of Canilao’s instillation, there is an actor in the corner, who wasn’t there when I entered, sitting in a ball, within a golden corner.
In the main room, through Harrison and Jaime’s Sanctuary, you find a dj area just inside the entrance, a bar and seating area on the right wall, a photo booth, ahead.
Immediately to the left are three works by Eric Flores. These works feel like thought process in the artists mind. Thought as Sanctuary.
Continuing to the left, there is a small desk with an old fashion chair, and the poet, Jeremy Radin, is writing something, with urgency, as an hourglass, sees time slipping away. Throughout the night, the ensemble of actors from New Guard Theater, wrote there.
At the left end of the main room, are Frohawk Two Feathers pieces. Two large paintings, speaking to current forms of colonialism, two instillation referencing nature and ancestors, and a series of intricate, mystical, historical journals in the form of works on tile. Frohawk’s pieces speak to colonialism, and the search for Sanctuary with your ancestors.
Kim Kei’s works on paper are on a wall coming directly across from where we entered the main room. Feelings, abstract thoughts and alchemy are experienced here. Referencing Sanctuary as a spontaneous experience.
The story performed by the actors from New Guard Theater; Lindsey Garrett, Tess Hewlett, Alex Metz and Nick Thurston, felt like a deep searching for Sanctuary. A continual “trying to find.”
Shepard Fairey, a Future Tongue friend and artist, was the special guest DJ for the evening. Across from the DJ booth, there is a a fun photo-booth area, if you would like a portrait by Kim Newmoney. There are events happening each night of the exhibition, ending June 11th.
“Sanctuary” by Future Tongue and New Guard Theater
June 2nd – 11th, 2017, with evolving events throughout
Little Tokyo Art Complex
262 South Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, California 90013