Art Action Earwig is a multidisciplinary performance collective composed of Wryly Andherson and Minah Lee, based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territory. On these stolen lands, an artist losing her ground in the Canadian immigration system and a Canadian artist experiencing financial hardship united to make their creative livelihoods sustainable.
Wryly has been practicing performance art since 2001 and puppetry since 2003, creating Moth Orbit Object Theater in 2011. Minah has been exploring multimedia performance since 2007 and co-founded FurryN@vel Performing Arts Collective in 2013. They collaborated on two new iterations of The Lovers Inside Boa Constrictor – an autobiographical and situational dialogue-performance staged at Vancouver’s 2018 Outsider Arts Festival. This performance was a protest and celebration of love against the systemic violence of economic exploitation, and their wedding ceremony. Their collaborative journey continues under the name Art Action Earwig from 2020.
Bringing individual expertise together as a new performing arts group, they conjured shadows for sister-shows Midnight Mirror (2018) and Mo’s Closet (2019). These theatre performances, part of a Climate Shadow Series, explore urgent matters of climate crisis that are deeply entangled with race, gender, and labor in the globally industrialized world. As part of our Po-tent City project, the series , was presented at the 2020 Heart of the City Festival in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and an adapted version was presented in Seoul 2021.
Home Squat Home, a multimedia installation using shadow puppetry on the surface of a tent, was supported by Vancouver Foundation. The project was further supported by Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, KW Studios, and Vancouver Moving Theatre, to be re-imagined as a mobile app package distributed via QR code/ tent installation and online. The stories bring together personal and collective memories, traumatic observations of capitalist societies’ systemic failures, desires for true care and change manifested by grassroots movements. This piece imagines the tent as shelter and rally spot. The project extended its life when the tent was donated to a tent city. An audio excerpt from Home Squat Home was presented at the 2020 Vines Art Festival. The installation was hosted at Heart of the City Festival 2020 and Oil Tank Culture Tank Seoul, and the Access Gallery. Art Action Earwig returned to Vines in 2021 with an interactive durational outdoor performance piece Give Birth Love Tooth. Community engagement project Shadow Sign for Bedroom Protest was virtually hosted both at the 2021 rEvolver Festival in Vancouver and the Oil Tank Culture Park in Seoul, in conjunction with an interactive website, PotentCity.space.
Earwig’s art practices concern issues beyond national borders, exploring both challenging and inspiring matters of our time that call for actions. We celebrate our personal stories and the conversations that come out of different identities. We mobilize creative access to pressing social and political matters that engender divides in our societies. The potential for change is locked within the issues – racial tensions, economic disparities, and environmental justice. We use our voices to amplify our concerns and unlock social change. To make stories tangible, we create a variety of access points, combining multimedia theatre and social intervention or ceremony. While inviting adults to ponder serious local, national, and global issues through fresh child-like wonder, Earwig has also engaged children through festival workshops, after school classes, and community education programs.