Wangol – Ashley Zver-Volel

MARCH 7, 2016

Ashley Zver-Volel, an undergraduate student based in Montreal and studying urban planning at Concordia University, presents, within her collage, “Wangol” a Haitian folk song that greatly inspired and influenced her.

Ashley Zver-Volel, une étudiante au premier cycle universitaire, basée à Montréal et qui étudie l’aménagement urbain à l’Université de Concordia, nous présente, à travers un collage, “Wangol” une chanson folk Haïtienne qui l’a grandement influencée et inspirée.

Can you describe Wangol?

Wangol, a Haitian folk song, can be interpreted as a tale of departure and of change. It is deeply rooted in the history of Haiti and, for most, acts as a reminder of the latter. Here, it is embodied through the woman with Haitian imagery (or what I’ve gathered of it) that is reflective of cultural, political, spiritual and social change that continue to mold ‘her’. Wangol is, in extension, a story of what I may or may not have come to know through oral history and song about a world I was not born into – yet, its lyrics familiarize it. Anecdotally, it was a childhood lullaby, announcing slumber and voicing dreams for my sisters and me. It continues to inspire beyond my girlhood.

What significance does this project have to you?

I visited Haiti for the first time this year – an experience that finally added a new sense of belonging with myself. This project, although initially a response to my partner’s affinity for digital collage, allowed me to finally engage conceptually with an alternative sense of my femininity, if let’s say, I had lived life in Haiti for most of my life. The tangibility of this project acts a sort of historical fiction that lends itself to my narrative now that I’ve projected it beyond my passing thoughts.

Who or what influences you?

As far as my influences go, the range is diverse and long! From Anselm Kiefer, Albertus Seba to Anna Atkins, I am also often impressed by the day-to-day aesthetics of print, Instagram (it’s my guilty pleasure) and Solange Knowles. She’s great. Really.

What’s the best part about being a woman* artist in 2016?

The most difficult, yet the most liberating part of being a young woman in 2016 can be summed up in the seemingly endless types of femininity that exist. Being creative is, in the same sense, infinite given the possibility of what ‘art’ can be now. The combination of both womanhood and art is, however, emancipating. Although I am studying outside of the art realm, through some curating experience I’ve had the opportunity to understand the ‘world’ of some emerging artists – it’s definitely an interesting place…

An undergraduate
feminist art & art history