Words I Wish I Said Before

Janira Moncayo

Janira Moncayo (she/her) is an Ecuadorian-born emerging artist currently based in Edmonton, Alberta. She combines video, found-footage, installation and performance, with the purpose of deconstructing and re-envisioning mainstream media’s racial stereotypes, and uplift marginalized communities. Her work recognizes and celebrates the complexity and diversity of ethnicity, as a facet each person embodies as their own. For her, art-making is an emotional and spiritual process of interconnection to her heritage, her body and her country. Moncayo has showcased her work at Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Marion Nicoll Gallery, SpanicArts and ATB Art Vault.

  

 

The ongoing movements for racial equality and the lack of concrete plans for systemic change have placed an immense responsibility on activists of color to constantly, urgently and devotedly work towards dismantling racism. The expectation to selflessly fight back for long-term periods of time is emotionally demanding and in some cases, unsustainable.

Words I wish I said before (2021) is a video documentation of an interactive, media installation, where people of color create a utopian and uplifting space for collective care. Through a collection of audio recordings, their voices reassure the listener of their racial identity, hoping to rekindle the relationship to their communities and past generations, as the recordings invite the audience to repeat their words on the set-up microphone. Words I wish I said before manages the contradictions of being grounded to the generational trauma of racism, as the voices in the audio recordings acknowledge the influence of white supremacy. Yet, those realizations do not emphasize our racial trauma, but instead encourage each other to accept it as one dimension of our identities, and reclaim what white standards have portrayed as inferior qualities. The work invites the audience to become conscious of their emotional state and background, recharge energies and return to advocate for social justice.