Some people exude an energy that is hard to describe, but is just straight palpable. Marcelle is one of them.
Marcelle Partouche Gutierrez is a queer woman of colour, community worker and engaged artist trying to bridge gaps linked to accessibility, and voice unheard stories of courage and resilience. Based in Montreal with roots in North-Africa and Mexico, she is the proud daughter of brave migrants. She completed a degree at McGill in Anthropology and Education and is further pursuing academia with the intention to increase the well-being of marginalized communities, restore a sense of respect to healing populations– especially foster youth.
Brené Brown Said : “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” I think artistic expression in its turn is the birthplace of vulnerability, and that is where the power of music, art, communities vibrating in sympathetic frequencies lies.
We met up with Marcelle at Jeunesse 2000 (J2K) in NDG, a non-judgmental and welcoming drop-in centre that caters to Montréal youth between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, where she works.
(Photography by Thomas Bock – Thomas Bock Creative)
Check out Head & Hands:
Would you like to introduce yourself?
My Name is actually Messaouda, but the translated version I go by here is Marcelle. The title of artist is the one I am the most comfortable with. I am also a community organizer in NDG; a youth worker with Head and Hands/J2K, and a researcher.
What do you want people to know about you in 2017?
I want people to know that this year has been a year of organization, preparation: I have been showing up for the community in as many different instances as possible to promote interconnection and structure of our worlds. NDG/CDN and Montreal is filled with talent and meaningful work, I think it’s time the quality of our scene becomes more visible and recognized. It has also been a revealing year for me as, I know more than ever what role I want to hold in our sphere: community work fuels and gives so much meaning to my art. I know holding many hats can be confusing for some, or hard to accept…but we are layered multi-dimensional beings. I could not live a life detached from concrete realities and issues, I genuinely feel like we can all contribute and alleviate each other’s pain, progress and transform by addressing hard truths: but that would not be sane or possible for me if expression and the catharsis of art was not an integral part of my life. To be an artist, to express some of our deepest vulnerabilities is a conscious response to the numbing anesthetic realities we can experience in this world.
Upcoming/ongoing projects you have at the moment:
My most recent project is a collaborative effort put forth with women and femmes Artists, Educators, and Musicians. Lotus is an expanding collective of female and femmes: we mutually support each other by organizing and sharing workshops, gigs and jams, and we help develop each other’s crafts through mentorship and collaborations.I am also starting a participatory action research in the context of my graduate studies in the Department of Integrated Studies of Education, integrating the science of cognition to underscore the transformative cohesive force of music on our culture, mind and brains. I’m engaging various actors from the music and performing art scene, the youth community sector and the welfare system; focusing first on Head and Hands within our J2K music production oriented youth drop in center.
The strategy is to them expand into our many community partners in NDG/CDN, and eventually move towards bridging gaps with the strong diasporic communities present in Montreal to promote a participation with the international music scene. Basically, I’m working on making sustainable communities more musical, and bringing more cohesive community based approaches to the music scene, so we can inform each other, be more cohesive, and reach intentional impact.
I am organizing, with many other incredible engaged artists, the Rap Battles for Social Justice. We collaborate with festivals, community organizations, and many different groups to voice social issues through educative writing workshops and performances. We mobilize seasoned and upcoming artists by putting communities in conversation and providing platforms to voice important issues such as police brutality, apartheid, migrant rights, refuge crisis, and the overall representation of marginalized voices.
Creative routines or rituals do you have?
I have a couple of creative rituals, I meditate. I giggle. I dance like no one is watching. I smoke a little weed to really ground myself in my body, and I focus on what I feel the most deeply and try to pour it out onto a song, a canvas, a dance…on my life really. But visualisation is a big part of my creative ritual!
My favourite word right now is ineffable: it’s an adjective that describes the feeling of something being too great to be expressed in words.
Least Favorite Word
My least favourite word would be: insecurities.
What are you into as far as music and musical influences?
I’ve been listening to a lot to some rhythms from Congo and Mali. Sidiki Diabaté is one of my favourites right now. Also 2pac, Erykah Badu, Oum Khalthoom, and some Gnawa music have been on repeat.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
My idea of earthly happiness is to be surrounded with people I love so you can cuddle attack them at will, have music blasting like we’re at a 90’s block party, and being on that uninhibited tipsy cloud with an abundance of food and booze on the table, and taking the time to appreciate what I have, and share it with a smile profusely.
What quality do you admire in people?
The quality I admire the most is authentic, genuine kindness. I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage to consciously, patiently and repeatedly choose to be kind. To me it’s a form of intelligence and sensitivity I’ve seen in children and hope to see cultivated in my friends and myself.
I really like Earth Brown with Gold lately. I’m not sure if that’s a colour, but it combines super well with a Royal Blue, Purple and Green.
What are your favourite names?
Erzuli, Aisha, H’Nina, Adazee, Mazal, Destiny, Baruk, Ode, Serenity.
When you think of NDG, what comes to mind?
When I think of NDG, I think of a village where many tribes can come together and find the community they need.
(click on images to enlarge)
Marcelle Partouche Gutierrez is a queer woman of colour, community worker and engaged artist trying to bridge gaps linked to accessibility, and voice unheard stories of courage and resilience. Based in Montreal with roots in North-Africa and Mexico, she is the proud daughter of brave migrants. She completed a degree at McGill in Anthropology and Education, and is further pursuing academia with the intention to increase the well-being of marginalized communities, restore a sense of respect to healing populations– especially foster youth. All through knowledge, healing spaces, love, music, dignity and humanity.