Dax Dasilva Discusses Never Apart
What is the Manifesto?
The Manifesto is a text and series of gallery exhibits that speak to the intention behind Never Apart. The central idea is that ending separation in society and on our planet is how we collectively get to the next stage. Separation exists between people, between humans and nature, and between us and our spiritual side. If we can break down these separations, if we can embrace our oneness, we can start something new.
What was the writing process for the Manifesto? What inspired it, and why was it so important to create?
The Manifesto has been through many revisions, with the intention to become more universal over time – something that anybody who wants to see positive change in the world can find value in. It is influenced by mystical Judaism, Buddhism, and indigenous teachings on the environment, and was created to give Never Apart its soul – its deeper intention.
How did you decide that images should match the text, and how did you pick Qarim Brown to produce the images?
The Manifesto has fifteen sections, each a single paragraph long, and so we wanted to capture the essence of each section in an image. Photographer and visual artist Qarim Brown was chosen to do this through a stylistically diverse and evocative collection of photos captured in different settings around Montreal, circa the spring of 2015. He also shot and produced a companion video of choreography featuring contemporary dance performers Marietta Raina and Clara Cloutier.
Which of the images from the series do you feel are the most evocative, and why?
I love the whole series, but Never Apart, a still from Qarim’s video, and The Human Promise, are two of my favorites. Water and Wilderness are also a favorite pair. Though the Manifesto exhibit ended with our 2015 Summer Exhibition, the full collection can be found throughout the Centre as a symbol of our roots.
In the Manifesto text, you speak of wanting to end separation. Why is this so important?
We live in a world being overcome and poisoned by separation. Separation between tribes, races and religions in spiraling cycles of violence. Separation between humanity and nature leading to the exploitation and extinction of other species and the destruction of our environment. Separation between us and our spiritual side. We care too much for the material, and prioritize the individual above all, leaving the soul starved and unsatisfied by today’s superficiality and self-involvement. Never Apart is a simple message, but once we can see the oneness in all things and understand our promise, we can start fresh.
Why should people be more conscious and in touch with their spiritual side?
When you get in touch with your spiritual side, it’s easier to see the connections between all people and all life, because we all come from the same source. It doesn’t matter how you define that oneness, it crosses all boundaries and is a strength we can all draw from. Our world has no shortage of problems, but there’s no shortage of hope when we erase the separations that block the light of an inclusive future.
Why was it important to have the text shared via audio instead of it been written out for the exhibition?
I feel like the Manifesto will be ever-evolving, ever-refining, and ever-simplifying. It seemed best to capture it in recorded audio and video to play in the Manifesto galleries and allow it to narrate and illuminate the art.
You have two voice actors reading the Manifesto for the exhibit. Tell us about that process, and who are the voice actors?
I invited actor and collaborator Mikela Jay, voice of The Corporation and other socially conscious documentaries, to narrate the English version. Stephanie Marois, student and translator, translated and narrated the French. They recorded the sections remotely, and our Music Director, Anthony Galati, mixed the recordings into a gallery soundtrack.
What do you hope people get from the Manifesto?
I’d like people to feel the intention of the Manifesto in the things we do at Never Apart. Without having to know the writings, I’d like them to be able to know the soul of the project through its activities and through the togetherness we are creating through art, music and gatherings. Every culture has a guiding light, and for Never Apart it’s the oneness and the potential within that unity for changing and transforming our future.