Ayibobo™ III: Little Dollhouse on the Prairie is an experimental sound, performance and dance work. Ayibobo™ III: Little Dollhouse on the Prairie combines pop culture with stories and reflections on Voodoo spirituality, imagining and uncovering queer and trans expressions and their intersections.
Artistic director :
Kim N. Sankofa, Rony F. Campbell
MAI - Montréal, arts interculturels
La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines
Photo Jeffrey Torgerson · Stylism Manuela Bartolomeo · Make up Imani Khalifa & Micaela Alleyne · Hair Fallon Renner
Chris M. Barbara, Syana O. Barbara
Set design support:
Danse-Cité & House of Barbara
Conseil des arts du Canada
This work will be the third and most ambitious chapter of the Ayibobo project. The two previous chapters were presented by Montréal’s Lux Magna Festival (2019 and 2020).
Haitian Voodoo spirituality was forged by the descendants of enslaved Africans from a plethora of ethnic origins who were Christianized by colonial force. Focusing on a global message moving towards the decolonization of thought, Ayibobo™ III: Little Dollhouse on the Prairie exposes how sexual and gender diversity were once held a central in ancestral cultures. Ayibobo (a word related to Voodoo spirituality which is similar in usage to the Christian “amen”) presents a group of emerging queer, gay, trans Afro-descendant artists who work in dance, performance, theatre and music.
Each performer selected one of a panoply of spirits from Voodoo culture and created a solo embodying said spirit. Elle Barbara worked with each of the artists, on both an intellectually and structurally level, inviting them to pair their choreography with improvised moments or movements. The performances are interspersed with audio and visual segments: excerpts from popular culture and television that relate to Black and queer intersectionality. These provide a critical context for the artists to react.
Elle Barbara is a Montreal-based avant-garde singer-songwriter, song selector (TS Ellise), pinup, speaker, writer, director, curator, performance artist and intervention worker whose musical output combines elements of soul, psychedelia, jazz, and underground. A lover of the odd, dark, or overlooked elements in pop music, Elle rose from artist-run spaces at the turn of the 2010s and has seen their work soar to enduring acclaim. In recent years, Elle Barbara‘s efforts have been centered around trans and queer community organizing - including contributions in Montreal’s emerging ballroom scene as the Iconic Mother of the Idiosyncratic Meta House of Barbara. The House of Barbara, in addition to throwing balls, is a collective whose transdisciplinary practice encompasses performance, activism and DJing. Elle’s current musical incarnation (Elle Barbara’s Black Space) aims to center intersectional blackness and reject anti-black tropes within the city’s art and music spaces.
Listen to Elle Barbara’s past discography here : https://ellebarbarasblackspace.bandcamp.com/