Shani Mootoo

Video maker, Writer, Visual artist
Lives in
Vancouver , BC
British Columbia CA

Video maker, writer, visual artist. Trinidad-bred, Vancouver-based Shani Mootoo is best known as a Booker-nominated novelist (Cereus Blooms at Night, 1998). But she is familiar to queer community festival audiences thanks to a handful of experimental short videotapes which interrogate cultural and gender hybridity, diaspora and Canadian identities and landscapes, both urban and rural. Of these tapes, most produced in Vancouver artist-run spaces and in collaboration with Lorna Boschman, the work most shown is the rollicking Wild Woman in the Woods (1993, 14). Woman is a postcolonial parable set in the snowy woodland mountainsides around Banff: a butch South Asian in bowler hat, played by Mootoo, pursues a flirtatious South Asian forest sprite, decked out in henna, saffron sari, glitzy jewellery, and come-hither choreography. What ensues are a cross-country ski chase, in saris and all, and a bacchanalian dance among nautch girl muses in a clearing high up on the slopes, through which the heroine finds her true femme Indian self.