Ty Defoe’s poetic words and calming voice immediately create a sense of calm as he takes listeners on a beautifully articulated journey with the sacred hoop in his latest work, CIRCLE. CIRCLE is a tribute to the journey of learning balance with the sacred hoop, always striving towards peace for all living things. The teaching of the great hoop of life is passed down from generation to generation, and he now shares it as his offering to the world—one of 100 offerings in a larger campaign about peace.

This new powerful work of art speaks to Defoe’s Ojibwe and Oneida ancestry and the teaching he received when he was given the sacred hoop dance.

“It [the teaching] was that we are all connected in this great circle of life. The symbol of the hoop is important because it unifies all living things. In a circle, there are no corners in which to hide, and in this circle unifying all living things, we must stand next to and across from each other as equals. Healing, celebrating, telling together, though our stories differ. A new nation of theatre.” – Ty Defoe (howlround.com. A Red Face in the Crowd. 25 February 2015)

CIRCLE is a part of the 100 Offerings of Peace campaign, which brings together both known and emerging creatives to generate new works about what peace means to them during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impassioned protests for racial justice. The compilation of innovative and diverse videos highlights why peace matters and encourages viewers to take meaningful action towards peaceful efforts.

Defoe (Giizhig) is a Grammy award-winning performance artist who identifies as Two- Spirit. As a writer and interdisciplinary artist, he aspires to bring an interweaving approach to artistic projects with social impact, indigeneity, indiqueering and climate justice. Defoe won a Grammy for Best Native American Music Album for his collaboration on Come to Me Great Mystery: Native American Healing Songs, which features the work of several Native American musicians, and in 2017, he was a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award.

Defoe is a member of All My Relations Collective and currently lives and works in New York City, USA. He has earned various degrees from the California Institute of the Arts, Goddard College and New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Through his artistry, writing and storytelling, he continues to advocate for the voices that are not often heard and honours the Elders of the Anishinabe and Six Nations by continuing to educate and preserve Native American traditions.

There is such a need for positive stories about the people who are trying to uplift communities and create peace during this unrest, and using arts as a tool to do so proves incredibly powerful. SAY is pleased to support and share this incredible work of offerings.

For inspiration, you can view Ty Defoe’s full offering at thepeacestudio.org/day-9.