The Eye Cover
Last year I adopted a new stage presence and name from “The Bushman NT” to “NÀHGĄ” which included a beaded eye-cover, designed by Northern artist Gerri Sharpe. I have been asked many questions about it, and am currently getting a new one made (which will be revealed at BreakOut West 2018), so I thought I would explain why I wear it, and talk about its design and construction. This is the first eye-cover made by Gerri last year; it has travelled with me almost everywhere and has been worn at every performance since then.
The eye-cover is worn in order to honour, respect, and pay tribute to our Northern artists, craft-makers, and traditional knowledge keepers from past and present. The techniques for beadwork and making clothing from the land are passed down from generation to generation; it’s a process of watching, learning from mistakes, and development of one’s own style throughout years of practice and dedication.
The eye-cover is an attempt to remove any sort of materialism from my act; I do dress formally, but it should not matter what I look like or what possessions I have. I am not something that is to be purchased and treated accordingly, and my music and visuals should be payed attention to in order to properly understand my aesthetic as an artist and musician. This point is heavily inspired by rap artist MF Doom and why he chooses to wear the mask.
The eye-cover is worn to communicate what “NÀHGĄ” represents, as people in the NWT have many different ideas or stories as to what it is; referring to it as a variation of “Bigfoot” or “Windigo”. I like to think of it instead as a “spirit of the woods”, which is a reminder to respect the land, the water, and all of its inhabitants, including ourselves. In a time where the world is becoming very vindictive and cruel based on greed, materialism and reputation, it is a push for people to treat each other with kindness, compassion, and mutual respect.
The eye-cover’s design is inspired mainly by sci-fi with influences from similar indigenous designs; It is constructed with hanging beads and a single red “scan-line” stretching horizontally which is a referral to villains or robots in films. It is a reminder to never underestimate what people are capable of. Musk Ox leather and beadwork are combined with time and care by Gerri in order to create this piece of clothing, and it has been such an honour to collaborate with this amazing artist.
Thank You / Mahsi Cho,
Casey Koyczan a.k.a. NÀHGĄ