The 2019 ITI Conference logo is a reinterpretation of Vancouver TheatreSports’ (VTS) iconic masks logo (representing theatre and sports) by Renae Tate, a young (grade 11) indigenous artist from the remote Ditidaht First Nation community on BC’s Vancouver Island. VTS chose to work with Renae in honour of our long-standing relationship with Ditidaht Community School and the important role indigenous culture plays in our province. Ms. Tate designed the logo in consultation with community elders (Mike Thompson, Dorothy Shepherd, Fran Tate, Wayne Tate, Pat Patterson, Christine Edgar, Bobby Durocher).
The design features the masks of Raven and Mink: both tricksters in Ditidaht tradition. Raven’s mask is decorated with sunbursts in reference to a story in which he stole the sun and released it into the world. Mink’s mask is decorated with water motifs to represent a story in which he stole a river – complete with salmon – and moved it away from the village in which he was being teased and bullied. Renae chose tricksters for VTS since the nature of improv is to play, to create mayhem, and to think on your feet. These tricksters are masters of getting what they need to make their stories.
The crossed paddles above the masks harken back to the times when travel by water was the chief means of trade and visiting between communities. The paddle is therefore a symbol of welcome to travellers and a paddle dance is often used by the Ditidaht to welcome visitors to the community. As VTS welcomes visitors from all over the world, paddles invite them on their travels.
The open hands below the two masks are also a symbol of hospitality; they show that there is no harm to be feared in welcome. Open hands are used to both give and receive gifts in Ditidaht tradition; they symbolize both hospitality and a request for help. Just as performers in improv must support and rely on one another, so too Ditidaht people recognize the connection between giving and receiving what is needed. All these elements represent Ditidaht and the spirit of improv.