Origin of Painting

Origin of Painting


A performance that tells the story of Dibutade, a Greek maiden, who in tracing a shadow created the first painting.

Origin of Painting is a performance that tells the story of Dibutade. In the performance, I trace a shadow, recreating Dibutade’s original tracing. There is a contained fire, but the shadow casting is improved by use of flood lights. A narrative of the story, written by Tammy Bohn, is read. As soon as the narrative is completed and the shadow traced, I turn to make my own shadow and an audience member comes up and traces me and the music starts. As soon as my shadow is traced, another audience member comes up and traces that shadow and so forth. All the shadows are linked together in some way, often by the hands. After each shadow is traced and the determined length of wall is filled, the shadows of any children present are traced between the performance shadows. The audience is then invited to come up and turn the traced shadows into a mural. During this transition, the music changes to a louder and faster tempo and the lights are brought up. Origin of Painting is done in sidewalk chalk so that the mural will gradually disappear over time. For a memorial version of Origin of Painting, a poster board cut­out of the person being honored is traced as the original shadow. The narrative is altered slightly to honor that person. After the performance is over and the mural completed, the poster board cut­out is removed, creating an empty space to symbolize the person's absence.
The materials needed for Origin of Painting are simple: a wall of concrete, stone or brick with a relatively smooth surface; a fire pit; a flood light; and two kinds of sidewalk chalk: a higher saturated one for the traced shadows and one of lower intensity to fill in the mural. Origin of Painting has been performed in all weather, including slight drizzle and in freezing temperatures with snow on the ground, and in all seasons. The narrative has been read in Spanish and English. The musician(s) and narrator that accompany Origin of Painting are drawn from the local community.

Origin of Painting in Columbus

Origin of Painting in Pittsburg

Origin of Painting in Medellin

Origin of Painting in Buga

Origin of Painting in Bogota

Origin of Painting for Travis

Origin of Painting for Jose

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