Conceived and curated by
Jess Dobkin and Shannon Cochrane
Jess Dobkin



Conceived and curated Jess Dobkin and Shannon Cochrane

MONOMYTHS invites a diverse collection of artists, scholars, and activists to revise Joseph Campbell’s conception of the hero’s journey through performance art, lectures, workshops, and other offerings. This new assemblage of non-linear un-narratives proposes a cultural, political and social feminist re-visioning of the world. The MONOMYTHS perception of the universal journey dispels the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his demons–both inner and outer–in consideration of community, collectivity, and collaboration.  

Joseph Campbell’s influential book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) prescribes a common pattern to all of the world’s mythic narratives. According to this fundamental structure, the archetypal hero is challenged to embark on a monumental quest. Over the course of the hero’s journey, trials and obstacles must be overcome until a victory is won and the hero returns home with new knowledge about himself and the world. Campbell’s concept of the monomyth (‘one myth’) is a recognizable motif in both ancient mythology and contemporary culture, including film, music, literature, sports, and advertising. A current trend in popular visual culture replaces the male character with a female one, in spite of the fact that our heroine–from the get-go–would make different choices if the conditions, and conditioning, allowed. 

The year-long MONOMYTHS project is presented in three sections starting in February 2016 and concluding in February 2017.

While each MONOMYTHS stage stands alone, the work of each presenting artist is interdependent and connected. These independent visions, when stitched together through the audience’s collective presence, form an exquisite corpse of a larger experimental narrative. 

February 3–7, 2016

Stage 1: The Ordinary World
Maria Hupfield (Anishinaabe/Canada/USA)
Ursula Johnson (Mi'kmaw) and Cheryl L'Hirondelle (Cree/Métis/German)

Stage 2: Refusal of the Call
Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan (Canada)

Stage 3: Meeting of the Mentor
Feminist Art Gallery (Canada)
Tamyka Bullen (Canada)
Eliza Chandler (Canada)
Johnson Ngo (Canada)
Ariel Smith (Canada)
Dainty Smith (Canada)
Zanette Singh (Canada)

Stage 4: Crossing The Threshold
Armando Minjarez (Mexico/USA)

Stage 5: Belly of the Whale
Jefferson Pinder (USA)
Jasmyn Fyffe (Canada)
Danièle Dennis (Canada)
Chy Ryan Spain (Canada)
Ravyn/Jelani Ade-Lam Wngz (Canada)

May 2016–January 2017

Stage 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies
Michelle M. Wright (USA)

Stage 7: Ordeals
Mary Coble (USA/Sweden)

Stage 8: Atonement with the Father/State
Syrus Marcus Ware (Canada)

Stage 9: Apotheosis/Journey to the Inmost Cave
Marilyn Arem (USA)


February 15–19, 2017

Stage 10: The Road Back
Serena Lee (Canada)

Stage 11: Refusal of the Return
Claude Wittmann (Canada)

Stage 12: Mistress of Two Worlds
Nao Bustamante (USA)

Stage 13: Freedom to Live
Staceyann Chin (USA)

Stage 14: The Return Home
Tanya Mars (Canada)

MONOMYTHS logo and font treatment by Lisa Kiss Design. Photos by Henry Chan.


+ Notes on Myth-Making by Alison Cooley and Daniella E. Sanader (C Magazine)
+ MONOMYTHS Limited Edition Perpetual Calendar