Emilio Portal 

walking on a well-worn path can be done repeatedly but never repeated

Exhibition Text

As a percussionist and electronic sound artist, I am continually refining my sonic methodology in order to more acutely express something very personal: the fact that I am a product of colonization. My heritage and identity is a complicated one. My father was born in Callao, Peru, and my mother was born in Sudbury, Ontario. As a result, I find myself attempting to digest, understand, and heal from the complicated matrices of power that colonialism has unevenly distributed across my matrilineal and patrilineal family lines.

The 88 photographs, and the title of the exhibition, walking on a well-worn path can be done repeatedly but never repeated, both relate to a decolonial methodology in approaching the act of making. It is a fluid process that is based on being present in time and honouring whatever presents itself: be it in terms of materials, light, sound, or other situational acts that inform the photographic register as it relates to my own situatedness. All the photographs in the exhibitions were taken at the Banff Centre during a time of deep contemplation about colonialism’s geopolitical impact both within and without popular music. As some of the photographs are blurry and others are highly detailed, the combined 88 images begin to score the plywood walls of the coop animating palpable feelings of breath and rhythm. 

walking on a well-worn path can be done repeatedly but never repeated is a call to action to question our ways of working as artists, to begin hard conversations about the values and rhythms we hold, and to create space to call into question our interrelatedness in moving towards more equitable, sustained ways of being and knowing. 

Artist bio

Emilio Portal is a mixed trans isciplinary artist, maker, designer, musician, producer & sound engineer who was born in New Westminster, BC. Portal has exhibited throughout Canada, notably at Open Space, Grunt Gallery, la Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, l'écart, DARC, Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, On The Edge, Up Here & Debaser. He has worked with a multitude of artists and curators, namely Rebecca Belmore, Peter Morin, Clayton Windatt, Jessica Karuhanga, Golboo Amani & Elyse Portal. Emilio holds a BFA in fine art from Laurentian university, a bachelor of environmental design studies (architecture) from Dalhousie university, a permaculture design certificate, a natural building passport issued from OUR ecovillage, and a MFA from the University of Victoria. Since 2016, has worked at the McEwen School of Architecture as their Fabrication Lab Technologist.

Between Pheasants Contemporary would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the Ontario Art Council’s support through the Northern Arts Project grant to make this exhibition possible.

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