“It has an incredible history, but why would people want to paint really horrible slogans on it?”
“It” refers to the Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert, a spiritual site for Indigenous nations, and an experience that award-winning Indigenous artist Jani Lauzon is sharing with the community at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre until Mar. 18.
Lauzon, who is of Metis ancestry, has brought her production titled “Prophecy Fog” to Gateway Theatre to share themes of relationships with land, family and sacred spaces while drawing from her experience visiting the Giant Rock.
The Giant Rock was known as a place where people from Indigenous nations in the south would meet, trade, negotiate and perform ceremonies together in the past.
However, it has since been defaced with graffiti and drilled holes by partiers and rock climbers since the late 1970s explained Lauzon.
And like the purpose of the Giant Rock, Lauzon is inviting guests to gather together in a “round seating style” performance.
“I’m hoping that people can become curious and ask questions about what it means to be a human being or a physical form on this earth … and how our earth plays a part in it,” said Lauzon.
She draws on the similarities of graffiti written on a landmark, such as the Giant Rock, to show that people may physically change, but not their “inner spirit.”
“When (people) grow old and are not as physically beautiful, they are still the same spirit on the inside as when they were younger,” explained Lauzon.
Although the Giant Rock became a property of the United States, and “free land” was given to white settlers, she added, it doesn’t change the “energy and important history” of the sacred site on the traditional territory of the Indigenous nations.
“It’s really a story about hope.”
Lauzon is a 10-time Dora nominated actress, director and writer, as well as a three-time Juno-nominated singer and songwriter.
The performance runs until March 18 with tickets that can be purchased here.