From dance to films with Enya Belak Gupta

Who are you and what is it that you do?
I’m Enya. I like the colours pink and green. I’m known for different things in different circles. Some people know me as a director and creative, others as a choreographer and dancer while for some I’m a graphic designer and a photographer.

S P A C E between / exhibition at Media Nox Gallery (Photo: Aadhar Gupta)

Your website states that you work in Film/Dance/Design/Dots. You do many things – what is it that you love doing the most?
It’s ironic because I hate labels yet I am still given them! Currently, my focus lies in film direction which gives me freedom and enables me to intertwine different genres, themes and ways of creating. What I love the most is accepting new and compelling challenges.

You’re London-based, it’s where you got your MA in film direction. How come you decided to study abroad and later work there as well?
Some things are simply written in the stars. Before I left for London I spent a lot of my time dancing and choreographing. At the same time, I had a big desire to create films. London was a breaking point for me. It was where I could focus on film and film direction. With hard work and a pinch of luck, I got a spot at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I later finished my Master’s degree.

Now I’m between London and Slovenia, but projects sometimes take me elsewhere. I also work with the European platform for contemporary dance Aerowaves (a hub for dance discovery in Europe) where I create different video content. In the past year I’ve worked with Slovenian as well as foreign musicians. I’ve created music videos for Siddharta, Same Babe, BUH, and recently, a music videos for Voice of Aiko ‘PRESCRIPTION DREAM’ & ‘W.A.D.E.’. ‘PRESCRIPTION DREAM’ draws attention to the dangers behind prescription drugs, and ‘W.A.D.E.’ speaks about 2000 refugee children who got lost in Calais Jungle after it was burnt down in October 2016. The music video weaves footage from Sue Clayton’s original documentary film ‘Calais Children: A Case to Answer’.


Pleši, pleši dekle / Same babe

You deal a lot with the body and its movement in space. Are you more conscious of that because you yourself are a dancer?
I’ve always believed in action rather than words as words can sometimes hide what we really think. The body and its reactions are concrete, more sincere and that’s exactly why it’s the means of expression that is closest to me. I think that we come across choreography in each format we encounter. Even when we, for example, sync up the movement of the camera and the performers for a certain situation or a scene.

Do you create and direct choreographies even for the dance performances in which you’re one of the performers?
I do. I’ve rarely stepped on the stage or gone in front of the cameras in these past few years. I just immensely enjoy exploring motion and the body, even in collaboration with other dancers and actors. I’ve been involved with studies of the body for a certain character or acting part a lot.
My latest choreography work – a dance performance called Blue Ink produced by Flota, premiered in September 2018 at Dance Theater Ljubljana. In collaboration with Jerca Rožnik Novak and Gábor Ivanov we posed questions of boundaries and focused on bureaucratic complications that tailor a person’s nowness.

Modro črnilo – Blue Ink / Jerca Rožnik Novak and Gábor Ivanov (Photo: Aadhar Gupta)

You also had your very own photography art show with video works and a performance called med P R O S T O R (space B E T W E E N). What kind of a show was this and what did you wish to evoke in the audience?
I began developing the project med P R O S T O R / space B E T W E E N during my Master’s studies. The idea is very simple: how and in what way do two strangers meet wordlessly and with closed eyes. I was interested in the energy that’s being created between two people, the boundaries we create and erase in our intimate space. What I’ve observed with different experiments is truly inspiring. At first, I only planned the series of photographs which I later upgraded and displayed at my first solo art show in London. After that, when I was invited to the PERFORMA&PLATFORMA festival, I added some video works and the performance element to the series of photographs, making it possible for every visitor of the show to join the experience. space B E T W E E N is a project that I wish to explore further which is why I look for participants who are interested in exploring the unknown.

S P A C E between / exhibition at Leman Locke London (Photo: Sunčan Stone)

Throughout your career you’ve been in front of the camera a lot – are you behind it more these days? What do these two perspectives look like through your eyes?
Very similar and yet completely different from one another! In each role, be it in front of or behind the camera, you carry a huge responsibility for the work and the message as a creator. Both perspectives come with their own charm and when you believe in what you’re doing you forget that you live in the real world – you just go with the moment of fiction that you’re creating.

You’ve recently been a part of a big project, creating music videos for Siddharta. How did this collaboration come to be and what was it like to work with one of Slovenia’s biggest bands? Where did you get the idea for the videos and how did you make it come to life?
My first time working with Siddharta was over ten years ago when I performed in their music video for their song Male roke. Years later I met Tomaž (keyboards) in Ljubljana one evening. We exchanged details and three years after that I got an email, followed by a meeting, the green light and two music videos. It was spontaneous, these guys are really great. I could go on and on about the ideas and their realisations but to sum it up some things you just feel in your gut and you follow them. It’s an open space where dreams are allowed to live, nothing is right or wrong, and then with the support of an incredible crew these dreams, memories and ideas actually come to life. Both music videos, Medrevesa and A.M.L.P., were created in collaboration with my film and real family – and that’s something I’m really proud of. I’m happy that we’re able to share the same passion for film and art, not just the ‘everyday’ family stuff.

BTS MEDREVESA / Enya & Siddharta (Photo: Gašper Pintarič)

BTS MEDREVESA / Sarah Beck Mather & Jack Roth (Photo: Ana Ferreira De Lima)

BTS MEDREVESA (Photo: Ana Ferreira De Lima)

BTS MEDREVESA / Enya Belak Gupta (Photo: Gašper Pintarič)

How do you manage all your work (dance, film,…) – they seem quite connected and yet each of them demands a lot of work?
Even though all art forms are intertwined with one another in different ways I sometimes feel like each of them reigns in its own circle of people with its own rules and codes. It’s as if every single art form lives in its own bubble. And I’ve always loved playing with bubbles and merging them! Every project is a new chapter though and I devote all of my attention to each one. I think it’s important that we discover new horizons, meet new people, learn, make mistakes, accept new challenges and make changes, even if in the present moment they seem small and unimportant.

What are your plans for the future? What direction do you wish to take?
Sometimes things seem so self-evident and logical. I’m just happy that I have everything and more than I could ever wish for. But I’m also well aware of the fact that this world isn’t nearly as just and colourful for all of us. Through my work I wish to speak in the name of those that are vulnerable and might not have a voice themselves, either because they’re not allowed to or cannot. For the animals, for the planet, for the people that are ‘different’.

Do you have a motto?
My grandmother always told me “slow and steady wins the race”.

Answers: Enya Belak Gupta


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