The Return of DefSup’s Derelicte
By Amy Sellors
March 11, 2023 marks the return of one of Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s most exciting events. Derelicte: A Fashion Odyssey is an ever-evolving showcase of performance-based wearable art. Now in its 13th season (with a two-year break for COVID), Derelicte 13 promises to engage and inspire those who attend the event at Black Pirates Pub.
In this exhibition, “the art isn’t on the walls, it’s walking around the room,” says David Karasiewicz, DefSup’s executive/artistic director. “It takes artists to a new level.” Wearable art changes both the artist and the audience, suggesting a freedom to think and behave differently. We all wear clothes, so we all have the ability to see ourselves in the pieces created. Many artists who participate in Derelicte found their inspiration as an audience member in previous years. Derelicte embodies evolution because “many of the artists have risen up through the ranks.”
With each iteration, Derelicte develops and unfolds into something new. This may never be more evident than after COVID restrictions. The pandemic hurt performative art, and some artists no longer create. But it also gave new artists time to grow and find their stride. Derelicte is a curated show, and DefSup invites professional artists whose work has been shown, even if their work is currently not wearable, including both past contributors and emerging artists. The brief is: proven artists employing new ideas, new mediums, and new thought processes.
“Over the years there have been over 150 different artists involved,” says Karasiewicz. “It really provides the artist an opportunity to do something entirely different. Some have the mindset to do so very easily. Some do better in three dimensional forms than two dimensional, but they didn’t know that prior. Some artists can’t grasp how to make it work. The minds of artists are all so different.”
“Most of the art is performative. It’s not just ‘oh, look at me!’ There’s a meaning to each of the pieces,” he adds. “An artist’s statement is presented. It becomes many levels of genres of art.”
While wearable art is the medium of Derelicte, DefSup curates so much more than just a fashion show. This year’s event features 32 acts as wearable art, fashion, dance, music, drag, and performance co-mingle with runway models and contemporary design elements to deliver an evening that is unlike anything audiences may have seen before on a catwalk. The evening features four live bands and DJs, seven local fashion houses, 12 wearable art pieces, and nine performance acts, along with 100 artists/models and spectacular video mapping projections.
Derelicte stemmed from the Divas Cabaret events and other organized themed house parties presented by DefSup back in the 90s. “It’s definitely an event that originated out of something that needed something else,” Karasiewicz says. Curated and organized by Karasiewicz and Renee Terpstra, the gallery’s development administrator, it later involved Lora Northway, DefSup’s community and new generation outreach administrator. Logistically, this collaborative event requires a team of creators to flourish.
“Derelicte is a must as it promotes Thunder Bay as an extraordinary and uniquely creative place, and showcases our creativity to everyone,” Karasiewicz says.
Derelicte 13: A Fashion Odyssey is also a fundraiser for the DefSup and for LU Radio. In addition to the scheduled performances, the evening involves audience participation with a massive raffle and prizes for the best D.I.Y fashion pieces. Audiences can dress up in their best future glam finery, participate in “walk off” challenges and paparazzi moments, and end the night with the fashionista DJ dance party on the catwalk. The event starts at 8 pm and tickets are $20 at the door.
For more information about Def Sup and Derelicte 13, visit definitelysuperior.com and follow them on Facebook.