Jason DaSilva

Personal Background                                                                                                            

I was born in Dayton, Ohio in the late 70’s. That year Dayton was statistically the most average place in America and Jason was the most commonly used boy’s name. Yet, looking behind me, following the string of family history and culture leading up to me, I would say that my entrance into this world was anything but average. My nationality is being a descendant of Goa, a Portuguese colony in India until the mid 1900’s. My grandparents (on both sides) moved to East Africa, where my parents were born. My parents came to America under university scholarships (my dad to the University of Dayton and my mom, New York University), and never returned to East Africa. For my dad, this was because of the political exile of all Indians in Uganda. My mother, as a woman of color, is an alumnus of NYU; She graduated in New York as a Masters in Social Work in 1976. It was in America that my parents met, and settled in Ohio. With my father’s as a teacher, we were moved to a gritty outskirt of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I spent most of my life, amongst primarily Hispanic and Caribbean communities. After ten years, and watching our neighborhood slowly ghettoize, we picked up and relocated to Vancouver,  Canada, where I have lived until New York in 2001.

I am an artist, an activist, and an educator. These three elements, help me forge the path in which I will create and share myself. I will forever create, bringing together the stories and issues I hold close to myself. I have found ways to travel the world, mostly through my art-making career. From Cuba to India, I have had opportunities to collaborate artistically and explore different nations’ relevant social, political, and economic structures. This work has given me ability to carry my artistic profession in responsible ways, which reflect the changing face of today’s global village. As a filmmaker, I use the form to shed light to issues I find myself within, expanding communication on these topics, as they are relevant within history and place. Being a South Asian diasporad, within my work, I have effectively discussed the racially stereotyped Muslim communities living in America after 9/11. I am focusing on the stronghold of popular media substantiating the semiotics and images that continue to feed into the public sphere.

Artistic Goals                                                                                                                            

I will forever create, bringing together the stories and issues I hold close to myself. I have persevered to look through with lens with my own eyes; being critical of media and culture, being a person of color, and activating social change through my work. My goals are to remain an independent artist, but also transmitting my skills and assets to communities that I can speak for with my profession. With my background as a multicultural artist living in North America, I look into places and concerns that are often mistakenly/intentionally swept aside and bring them into the light.

My work consistently reworks models of identity, cultural hybridity, social orientation, private vs. public space, and multifaceted existence. Implementing dominant narrative storytelling forms, I nurture these long-established structures into dynamic ways that create alternative and refreshing methods of storytelling. However, I am interested in reviving forms lost with cultural extinctions and the industrialization of the story as a popular culture commodity. As Vietnamese artist/academic Trinh T. Minh-Ha explains in ‘Woman, Native, Other”, a minority/woman artist is consistently reminded of the thematics of his or her work, because the access to such materials and technology is a privilege by means as it does not hold part in the socio-economic structures set for them. Like this, within work, I remain conscious of my placement in society, working with personally relevant themes, and creating narrative structures both within and alternative to popular methodologies.

            My drive for making art will always remain; I am constantly seeking out progressive inspiration and collaboration. It is by surrounding myself, engaging, and collaborating with other filmmakers, artists, activists, and educators that I find my work shines out best. During my time at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, my extensive self-discipline along with strong instruction allowed me to research unique methods of filmmaking; so much so, that I was called back as a visiting artist to teach these skills to the art students in the following years. I will never cease to learn; there is never a time of day where my quench for knowledge and experience ceases.

 

Writer/Director/Producer/Web-Developer- Jason DaSilva’s

first film was “Cuba Dreams”. Shot in Havana in 1999 and premiered at the Latin America Film Festival. His next film, “Olivia's Puzzle”, after screening at more than 30 festivals including Sundance, received an Oscar qualification in 2003 and was then broadcasted on CBC, HBO and PBS. His third film, “Lest We Forget”, was released in 2004, fusing interactive web and social-issue film. His next film “A Song for Daniel” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005 and was on CBC and PBS.  He has received several awards including The Jerome Foundation Media Fund, The Peace and Racial Justice Fund, The Paul Robeson Fund, a Canada Council for the Arts grant, an NFB grant, and a fellowship award from IFP/New York. DaSilva’s latest short “Twins of Mankala” was shown on PBS/POV. Jason created “National Insecurities”, an installation exhibited at the Whitney Biennial 2006.

More info: www.infacefilms.com