Theatre of the Brave

2015 / Acting O U T: Performances by James Luna, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Rebecca Belmore, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM

Belmore’s response to the traditional theater space was a remarkable performance entitled the Theatre of the Brave, in which she projected her face, covered in a paper mask of an Indian man in a feathered headdress, onto an enormous screen. Her voice pitched a few octaves lower, she called out to the land and her people: “It belongs to us, and that is our story! I have spoken.” Filling the silent auditorium with her incantation, she frequently interrupted her narrative to shout out “Brother!,” at which point a musician onstage would let forth a mournful melody on his distorted slide guitar. Her quasi-comedic evocation of displacement was beautiful and deeply unsettling.

Lucas Iberico Lozada, North America’s Most Important Indigenous Performance Artists Convene in Santa Fe, Artsy, 2015

Photo credit: Jason S. Ordaz / Institute of American Indian Arts