As a visual artist, Danika has been greatly inspired by the musical works in her life. First exploring this connection in Collectìf's Cauchemars, Danika added hand-drawn projections and an original horror narrative to Poulenc's Fiançailles pour rire (check out a preview here). In the summer of 2019, for the Toronto Summer Music Festival, Danika created an original depiction of the Greek legend of Daphne and Apollo that was projection during her own performance of George Crumb's Apparition (check out a preview here).
While finishing #FirstFigSongbook, Danika was an artist-in-residence at The Drake Devonshire. There, inspired by the vibrancy of the space, and Edna St. Vincent's poetic cycle "A Few Figs from Thistles", her artistic inspiration resulted in a series of original, vibrantly colourful figs. Each fig is an homage to the ever-valuable fruits of our labours, the mysteries that we create in what we keep hidden, the explosiveness that comes from opening up and exposing those secrets. Juicy, no? ; )
For my piece in Collectìf's Toronto Summer Music Festival show Beyond Perception, I chose to re-envision the Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo from Daphne’s perspective. The music I chose to pair with this idea was George Crumb’s Apparition and I had the great pleasure of working with Stéphane Mayer on this ambitious piece! Musically, it was completely exhilarating to put together, and I performed most of it as written, but had Jen and Whitney planted in the balconies of Walter Hall as the birds who call out in two of the vocalises through the piece. I was very happy with how the piece elevated the narrative, and decided to add a hand-drawn visual aspect to the performance again. Inspired by the first page of Crumb’s score, I illustrated Daphne’s tragedy in a cyclical format, also a nod to the cyclical nature of abuse and sexism that has been passed down through many myths like this one.
In the piece I directed for Collectìf's Cauchemars, I re-ordered Poulenc/ de Vilmorin’s Fiançailles pour rire (or Betrothal for Laughs) and split the cycle between the three of us. The macabre nightmare I made up goes like this: my character, whose mother has recently passed away, has received a package addressed to her in her mother’s writing. She opens it to find a sketchbook and poetry journal, also penned by her late mother. Through an examination of the books, we discover that this is not just an artistic heirloom, but the confession of a past life: a young marriage and child, total abandonment, and infanticide. The projections I created for this allowed the audience to see inside the sketchbook, and were hand-illustrated. I wanted them to seem a bit elementary to evoke the conflicted innocence of the mother’s character, and used a relatively simple, primary colour palette. I combined the ideas of self-portraiture and variations on a theme in an attempt to show the young mother’s desperate need to uncover and sort out her fragmented sense of self.