For her exhibition at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, internationally renowned, Toronto-based artist Deanna Bowen revisited The God of Gods (1919), a play written and directed by Carroll Aikins (1888-1964), founder of the first national theatre in Canada and artistic director of Hart House Theatre (1927–29).
Aikins’ play, staged at Hart House in 1922, projected the horrors of war into a loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet—using ‘native’ motifs. Deanna Bowen’s film is a conversation in response by Indigenous artists and writers John Hampton, Peter Morin, Lisa Myers, Archer Pechawis, and cheyanne turions. An adaptation of the original set-design, featuring a Canadian landscape, complements the screening.
Deanna Bowen is a descendant of the Alabama and Kentucky born Black Prairie pioneers of Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta.Bowen’s family history has been the central pivot of her autoethnographic interdisciplinary works since the early 1990s. Herbroader artistic/educational practice examines history, historical writing and the ways in which artistic and technological advancements impact individual and collective authorship.