17th March 2015
Photographs Peter Grey
Div Shir evolved out of movement research based on a study of Olmec sculptures of the shaman in transformation pose, part of a larger body of work on animal movement and transformation, and the possibilities of the human body to alter consciousness through this process. The title refers to a statue, commonly known as the Guennol Lioness, in whom the feline and human are fused; just as we find with the Olmec were-jaguars. The Lioness forms flowered during research in the studio and in the field, as my body sought a feminine incarnation of power, parallel to the male Olmec shaman figures. Both relate to the hunt, its terrain the space the dance inscribes and evokes.
The performance is a rite of passage from human to divine animal, a being in which the erotic and sanguinary are compounded and who we encounter on the threshold, outside the conventions of civilised society. '… the symmetrical, bewitching call of the beast who knows no difference between hunting and seduction.' Vernant