The upper left area of this otherwise dark photograph shows a white screen with the shadows of three stick puppets – one female and two male. They are acting out a scene around a chair.

Hank Bull

(b. Calgary 1949)

Kate Craig

(Victoria 1947 – Vancouver 2002)

 

World Shadows (detail)

1981

Performance

© Hank Bull and estate of Kate Craig

Photo: courtesy of Western Front, Vancouver


World Shadows was a performance conceived in 1981 by Hank Bull and Kate Craig from art forms they had discovered during a trip around the world the previous year. Combining traditional artistic expression and technological exploration, World Shadows incorporated elements of Indonesian puppet theatre, Balinese gamelan, electronic music and special stage effects. The title suggests two meanings: on the one hand, the shadow play techniques came from around the world; on the other, they served to create a whole new world. The performance explored the possibilities opened up through cross-cultural communication.


The Calgary-born multidisciplinary artist Hank Bull is based in Vancouver, as was the late video and performance artist Kate Craig, his collaborator and wife. In 1973, Craig co-founded the Vancouver artist-run centre Western Front, which Bull joined that year. They were co-founders of the Canadian Shadow Players, a troupe that performed shadow puppetry from 1976 to 1986. In 1980 and 1981, Bull and Craig travelled around Indonesia, India, Africa and Europe to learn about different forms of theatrical and musical art. Those trips showed them the inequities faced by non-Western artists and led them to initiate international collaborative ventures.

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