IN KEEPING WITH MYSELF
Danièle Dennis is a Toronto-based artist. Her experiences as a Jamaican-Canadian woman have informed her practice and prompted her investigation of racial, cultural and identity issues. Primarily through performance, material exploration and installation, Dennis actively attempts new ways to disrupt and dismantle social norms and constructs, and employs repetition and process-based experimentation. Her work seeks to trigger within the viewer critical thought, self-reflection and dialogue around relevant, but often difficult, subject matters.
Dennis’s two-channel video work je me souviens dives headfirst into ideas of home, community and language. Her self-portrait is not a formal composition of the body. Rather, it reveals the research involved in finding and creating space for the self. Throughout the video, Dennis has questions about Jamaican Patois for her mother and for friends in Jamaican restaurants she visited while on a trip to Philadelphia. Meanwhile, video snippets from Dennis’s upbringing in Quebec, where the French language and Québécois culture dominate, are juxtaposed with the Patois subtitles. The artist’s research in language slowly builds a sense of belonging, which is crucial to instilling a sense of personal identity.