Ximena Garnica & Shige Moriya | LEIMAY

Colombian-born Ximena Garnica and Japan native Shige Moriya are a multidisciplinary duo creating collaborative works ranging from sculptural, video, light and mixed-media installation art, to contemporary performances, publications, and research projects. Since 2001, Garnica and Moriya’s works have been presented at leading arts venues such as BAM, HERE, The Brooklyn Museum, Japan Society, Czech Center New York, The New Museum, The Watermill Center, The Asian Museum of San Francisco, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California Riverside; and in large and small public spaces such as Times Square, NYRP Community Gardens, and NYC streets, among many other spaces in the US and abroad in Japan, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Mexico and Colombia. Ximena and Shige are based in Brooklyn at their live-work space, CAVE. They are the co-founders and artistic directors of LEIMAY and the LEIMAY Ensemble. Their work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Theater Drama Review (TDR), The New Yorker, Art News, and Hyperallergic, among others. Shige has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Rest Artis, and Scope Art New York. Ximena received the Van Lier Fellowship for extraordinary stage directors, and was recently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California Riverside and they have been nominated for the USA Artists Fellowship and the Herb Alpert Award.

Artist Statement for A Meal:

Cultivating a space for self-transcendent interactions within social practices is very important to us, especially at this moment of political tumult and broken self-ethics. For us as Japanese-born and Colombian-born artists, as a working couple, and as domestic partners, sharing a meal together has been vital to our relationship. Many times through a meal we transcend our cultural, religious and political backgrounds, and we find the ambiguity and sense of harmony we often look to expose in our artistic works.

In our work, we consider the body, at times dancer, actor or performer, to be a material entity along with other materials such as light, strings, and objects. We create work to expose the body as a material entity, as a presence full of dualities and ambiguities. A presence that can transcend the self to give us a glimpse into a hidden domain of infinite potential that is ultimately inexpressible. And yet, it is full of force and power. Václav Havel once spoke about self-transcendence as the only path to coexistence in today’s multicultural world. “Transcendence as the only real alternative to extinction;” his words resonate deeply with us. We are interested in what lays beyond our personal self, beyond the individual with a social identity. We often question how a body can exist and connect with its environment when it is stretched out of its social existence. Our work is rooted in questions of being, perception, and relationships, and aims to unveil moments of connection – between bodies, materials, sound, and light – by illuminating the in-between. The Meal hopes to manifest the in-between in the perceiver as an experience of spatial and temporal connections.

People around us increasingly eat alone, no longer adhering to specific times where families or communities would gather together. Recently, the rhythm and communality of sharing meals has been replaced by fast meals. We aim to create an experience that heightens the audience’s perception and nurtures a spirit of communality. The human is the only animal species that surrounds its food with rituals and takes account of hunger among others who are not direct relatives. Eating together around a specific area makes us human. We aim to elevate this sense of humanity in a world with much need for compassion and mindfulness.