WEEK 1: Muttererde
Founded by Jess Brough in 2018, Fringe of Colour started as a show database and free ticket facility to address the lack of shows by PoC performers and barriers facing PoC audiences wishing to attend the Fringe. With the COVID pandemic in 2020, it expanded to become an online streaming platform for Black, Asian, Indigenous and Latine creatives. Now in its second year of programming, it offers a refreshing alternative to the white, straight, cis, able-bodied acts that fill the Fringe listings.
Week 1 tackled two themes: Ritual and Flight, with documentary Muttererde kicking off the former.
‘They waited for the day when the unknown thing that was in them would be made known.’ Four femmes from Dominican Republic, Gabon, Argentina and Oakland discuss motherhood through personal histories and unvarnished examination of the racism they and their mothers and grandmothers have faced. From patriarchal expectations of women to submit to husbands, to being announced as a devil at Catholic school mass for being a PoC, solidifying identity becomes a means of dealing with oppression.
One theme that stood out was the conscious decision to reject harmful gender stereotypes, choosing to stop expending emotional labour, fight while preserving one’s strength, and learn the ‘unspoken female energy’ of their ancestors. In the case of Camalo Gaskin, this meant becoming a doula, and in Niv Acosta’s case being emboldened by his grandmother being gay to validate his sexual and gender identity. Likewise, Fannie Sosa’s mother’s Black Panther activism taught her community survival through education and providing free meals to those who needed them. Making art becomes a means of persisting in a world hostile to PoC existence.
In Muttererde Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor has created a rich archive of stories, both impactful and uplifting.