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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Empowering artists at Third Space Art Collective

THIRD SPACE ART COLLECTIVE / COURTESY
THIRD SPACE ART COLLECTIVE / COURTESY

Estonia-based performance art group to come to Davis.

On Saturday, Nov. 21 from noon to 4 p.m., Third Space Art Collective will host Non Grata, an Estonian-based performance art group, at their downtown gallery, located on 946 Olive Dr. Non Grata will be hosting a workshop on performance art, which will focus on “creating collective performances and intervening in public spaces”. Additionally, the group will hold workshops on screen printing and experimental woodblock printing. The group will also be having a performance art night at the John Natsoulas Gallery on Nov. 20.

Non Grata started in the 1990s and has toured internationally since 2005. The group’s namesake is inspired by the phrase “persona non grata,” which means “unwelcome person” in Latin. This is a fitting name, given that Non Grata’s experimental art, which ranges from the violent (setting a car on fire) to the bizarre (having a group member eat an entire jar of mayonnaise in one sitting), can often create discomfort and push people out of their comfort zones.

“The main point of the group is ethical — it is the image of primitivism, impersonality and experimental creativity,” the group said in an email statement.

Evan Clayburg, performance artist and a founding member of the Third Space Art Collective, gave some insight into what can be expected from the workshops.

“[The workshop leaders will be] taking people through a performance piece and explaining performance art with a focus on public intervention,” Clayburg said.

Each workshop will focus on helping to better the skills of artists and will teach artists how to reach wider audiences with their work. The workshops will also center on building political and social awareness and will help to empower artists.

Clayburg explained that the screenprinting and woodblock printing workshops are intended to teach artists that art can be accessible and evocative even if you don’t have a lot of resources or funds.

“A big part of their workshops are focused on teaching people how to [screenprint] without using expensive materials,” Clayburg said. “[The screenprinting workshop] shows that anyone can [create prints] with stuff they have lying around their house.”

The group also strives to raise awareness of ethical issues through their art, which can often result in abrasive and shocking performances.

John Natsoulas, proprietor of the John Natsoulas Gallery, can attest to the group’s unpredictable performances.

“You’re not going to get a traditional performance [from Non Grata],” Natsoulas said. “Sometimes it’s shocking. They have a tendency to push hard.”

Having previously hosted the group twice, Natsoulas gave an example of the collective’s experimental creativity, recalling a performance where the group took a stance against animal cruelty.

“To get [the audience] to recognize how [people] are inhumane to animals, they actually physically branded people here,” Natsoulas said. “We’re not talking about something that’s fluff. This is hardcore.”

At the conclusion of the performance art workshop, participants will have an opportunity to participate in a pre-planned performance with Non Grata.
To buy tickets for the workshop, visit http://www.thirdspacedavis.com/nongrata/. For more information on Non Grata, visit http://www.nongrata.ee/.

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