FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Register for upcoming online performance events with local artist Bessie Wapp held throughout January
Schedule of Events: Residency and Exhibition
Exhibition dates: 14 January – 30 January 2022
Hosted Events: Fridays & Saturdays 5:00 – 6:30 PM PST, Sundays 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST (Zoom)
Artist Talk: 19 January 2021 4:00 – 5:00 PM PST (Zoom). Register to attend via EventBrite.
Oxygen Art Centre’s winter artist in residence, Bessie Wapp invites us to cultivate our curiosity in a revisioning of the ancient Greek Pandora myth. Wapp spent the month of December engaged in studio-based research and creation towards a participatory, theatrical, and especially musical, experience. She is now ready to open the project to the public as a work-in-progress via a series of interactive online zoom events. Equal parts storytelling, song, historical examination, and personal reflection, Pandora’s Jukebox upends the problematic original myth, and seeks to transform our collective burdens into soul medicine: music!
For Wapp, a seasoned and talented musician and performer, the residency afforded time to reflect on her interest in the Pandora myth, and to expand her understanding of its contemporary relevance. The residency offered studio time and space to move freely between keyboards, accordion and vocals through the use of a looper to develop complex musical pieces.
The title of the project, Pandora’s Jukebox, comes from Wapp’s interest in the Greek Myth of Pandora, and its relevance regarding contemporary environmental, social, and economic challenges. By empowering Pandora as a healer Wapp intends to re-imagine and re-write the fate of the heroine. Wapp’s motivation for the project springs from both her personal healing journey with cancer and from her concern for the health of the earth. Utilizing music as the elixir of life, Wapp seeks to conjure remedies of hope for the crises of today’s world.
Wapp’s creative journey into the origin of the Pandora Myth has led her to understand the story as a biased expression that seeks to place blame and to punish the female character for an act of innate curiosity. As the story goes, Pandora’s fateful opening of a gifted box unleashes all the evils of the world. In re-articulating the traditional cultural paradigm, Wapp has ambitiously set out to create a tale of redemption through an interactive musical drama.
During her residency Wapp transformed the gallery space into a theatrical environment. Starting January 14, 2022, Wapp will host a series of online events in this space where she will virtually lead participants into Pandora’s Jukebox. Wapp will lead participants through interactive processes of engagement aimed to elicit and gather raw material in the form of spoken word and poetry from which to build musical compositions.
At each event, Wapp will challenge herself to work intuitively and spontaneously with her audience in the creation of new musical compositions. For Wapp, this project brings a culmination of her experience and skill in improvisation, choir direction, theatrical design, and community engaged art practice.
Hosted events run from January 14th until January 30th, 2022. Space is limited to five (5) participants per event and registration is required. Interested participants can register by visiting Oxygen’s website and EventBrite links. No previous experience in singing or performance is required. Each event will be one and a half hours in duration and requires connection to Zoom. Events will not be recorded.
Bessie Wapp will also offer an artist talk on her residency and scope of the project on Wednesday, January 19th at 4:00 PM PST (Zoom). To attend, register via EventBrite links on Oxygen’s website. The participatory online events will be offered on Friday and Saturday evenings ( with the exception of January 15th) from 5:00 – 6:30 PM, and Sundays from 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST. The public is invited to register online through the Oxygen Art Centre for all events.
Bessie Wapp was born in New York City and raised in the Kootenays. She is a musician, theatre-maker and educator. Wapp’s music practice involves voice, accordion, hand percussion and piano. She has performed in Europe and throughout North America. Touring highlights include Festival D’ete (Montreal), Lincoln Centre (NYC) and Zagreb Dance Week (Croatia). She has studied the arts at Emily Carr College of Art And Design, Vancouver Community College and Selkirk College’s Contemporary Music Program. While living in Vancouver, she worked with innovation and multi-disciplinary theatre groups such as Public Dreams, Electric Company, Radix, Ruby Slippers, Touchstones, Vancouver Moving Centre and Gamelan Madu Sari. In 2006, she relocated to Nelson where she co-founded Twin Fish Theatre. Through this company she began to develop an autobiographical body of work sourcing material and stories from her ancestry and family life. This little Piggie, Hello, I must be going, Loco Phantasmo and Letters from Lithuania are part of this series. She has cultivated music projects including Klezmeridian, Bessie and the Black Eddies and Oxygen Orkestar. Wapp has performed in festivals and theatre productions throughout British Columbia. Her interest in expressive arts programs, arts education and community-engaged projects has brought her in to creative and often collaborative contact with people of all ages. Wapp teaches for the Oxygen Art Centre and heads up the Blue House Choir. In 2015 Wapp was named Nelson’s Cultural Ambassador.
14 January 2022, 5:00 – 6:30 PM PST
16 January 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST
21 January 2022, 5:00 – 6:30 PM PST
22 January 2022, 5:00 – 6:30 PM PST
23 January 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST
28 January 2022, 5:00 – 6:30 PM PST
29 January 2022, 5:00 – 6:30 PM PST
30 January 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST
Image: Image of Pandora by Fredrick Stuart Church