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Lou Sheppard: A Strong Desire

The Khyber Centre for the Arts
Event organized by The Khyber Centre for the Arts

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Lou Sheppard: A Strong Desire
Choreography with Leelee Eko Toyosi Davis

There is a concept in translation theory called the lacuna. The lacuna is a lexical gap, where a direct equivalent between two languages doesn’t exist, creating a loss of meaning between an original and its translation. The word translate shares an etymological root with the word traitor, suggesting that all translations betray their originals, and that in translation new or other meaning can be found. The lacuna is a place of slippage, a place where the assumptive linear is loosened. Is it possible that the lacuna could be read as a queer space? We find queerness in the liminal, unchartable places in our language and in our identities. We apprehend queerness through resonance, a slippage in meaning that amplifies an otherwise illegible connection. A Strong Desire reflects on these resonant possibilities, suggesting that queerness is apprehended in the places where meaning is not.

Over a monthlong Khyber residency in April 2018, Lou Sheppard will be working on a choreographic translation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria. The DSM text represents a psychiatric diagnosis that allows access to trans health care like hormone therapy and surgery. It also represents the medicalization of Trans identity, acting as a barometer against which Trans experience is judged. Using large printed versions of this text, Lou will translate the negative spaces surrounding the words into labanotation, a standardized dance notation. This notation will then be choreographed, performed and documented with Leelee Eko Toyosi Davis. A Strong Desire will then be presented in an exhibition with publication at the Khyber Centre for the Arts, on view during gallery hours April 28th - May 26th 2018.

See below for full event and exhibition schedule, artist bios and venue access notes.


Studio screenings:
6-8PM Wednesdays, April 4th, 11th and 18th 2018
Throughout their monthlong residency Lou will be hosting weekly open studio events where they will be sharing their research and watching dance films. These are free to attend and popcorn is provided.

Opening reception and performance:
6-9PM Friday, April 27th 2018
Join us for the opening reception of A Strong Desire, which includes a live performance of the dance notation with Lou Sheppard and Leelee Eko Toyosi Davis. This event is free and for all-ages, with refreshments provided and cash bar available to those 19+

Artist talk and publication launch:
6-9PM Monday, May 21st 2018
All are welcome to attend this public artist talk, which will be followed by the launch of A Strong Desire publication.

♥ ♥ A Strong Desire will be on view April 28th - May 26th 2018 ♥ ♥
Gallery Hours:
6-9PM Monday
12-5PM Wednesday-Saturday

Appointments outside of these hours can be scheduled upon request to info@khyber.ca


Lou Sheppard is a Canadian artist working in video, audio and installation practices. Of settler ancestry, Sheppard was raised on unceded Mi'Kmaq territory, and currently lives in K'jiputuk/Halifax. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, their work has been exhibited both in Canada and internationally, and was included in the Antarctic Biennale and the Antarctic Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennial. In 2017 Sheppard was selected for the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award by the Hnatyshyn Foundation to complete a program that composes music based on concentrations of sea ice. Sheppard’s current project at the Khyber, a choreographic translation of the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria, is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Their work has been written about in Canadian Art, Le Monde, and La Vanguardia, and is the subject of an upcoming spotlight video by Canadian Art. In 2018 Sheppard will be a guest artist at the University of Huston, a speaker at the The Antarctic Vision Club at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and will complete a cross Canada speaking tour as part of the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award. They were most recently artist-in-residence at the Cité des Arts in Paris with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and following their Khyber residency and exhibition will be at the Doris McCarthy AIR in Toronto. lousheppard.com

Leelee Eko Toyosi Davis is a Canadian-born, genderqueer, performing artist, program designer, educator, and public speaker. Being of Nigerian/ Trinidadian/ French descent, their ideology reflects this diverse background and roots itself in the power of art to transcend. They have comprehensive experience and education in performance, leadership development, and theatre creation. They have trained extensively in transformational methodologies. Known for their powerful solo work, as well as their collaborations with artists, individuals, and organizations. Davis' professional career spans social justice, grassroots organizing, and theatre making. Their artistic practice blends traditional barriers between performance, life, stage, and experience. As such, Davis brings a unique skill set and viewpoint to the art they make. They are deeply committed to the development of today's young leaders and artists. Their work is where the visceral and ethereal of life get juxtaposed together and rooted in possibility. Building bridges and pathways they reveal the human experience and ask, what does it means to be alive on the planet in 2018? See their performance and choreographic contributions with Lou Sheppard in A Strong Desire. leeleedavis.com


Venue Access Notes:
The Khyber Centre for the Arts - 1880 Hollis St. Halifax, Nova Scotia

The main entrance to the space is up 2-steps from the sidewalk on Hollis St., however the Granville Mall entrance further down the block can be used for ground level wheelchair accessible entry with assistance before 6PM or after 6PM if arrangements are made. There is an all genders wheelchair accessible washroom (1 toilet – down the hall from space and to the right) and gender-neutral washroom stalls (3 toilets 1 urinal – up a set of 10 stairs from space and to the left).

Participating at events in the space is a privilege. Care for yourself and others. The Khyber has anti-violence and pro-survivor policies and in procedure will not tolerate discrimination or violence, which includes but is not limited to: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphophia, queerphobia, ableist comments, sexual harassment and bullying. If at anytime you are made to feel unsafe, please let an employee or volunteer know at an event in-person or through our on-call Khyber staff number (text/call us at 902.817.6620). Any concern brought to our attention will be taken seriously and addressed immediately.

Contact info@khyber.ca to make arrangements regarding venue accessibility or with any inquiry.