Coronavirus (COVID-19) recent updates

A message from the Queer Arts Festival and SUM gallery regarding COVID-19:

Queer Arts Festival is Going Remote:

Update — May 14th 2020:

Art keeps us connected during the age of social distancing. Queer Arts Festival is steadfast in our commitment to artists amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with staff hard at work (from home) to maintain the integrity of our programming.  We’ve reimagined the festival to make sure you get your Queer Art Fix from the safety of your own home.

All Queer Arts Festival events this year will be accessible online at our virtual stage by donation. RSVP now to events on eventbrite to receive a link for entry in coming weeks.

SUM gallery:

SUM Gallery has been closed to public access due to the Sun Wah Centre closure since Monday, March 23rd. We will announce when the gallery reopens to the public.

OUR STAFF AND OFFICE:

Staff will be working remotely during regular hours and can be contacted at info@queerartsfestival.com or you can leave us a voicemail at 604-200-6661.

COVID-19 INFO AND PROTECTION:

Please check CRA government website for more information here.

Yellow Peril; The Celestial Elements

Curated by Love Intersections
| Feb 1 – Apr 18, 2020 | Opening Reception: Feb 1, 4-6 pm

Yellow Peril; The Celestial Elements is a visual art exhibit inspired by the Chinese Five Elemental forces, seized by the urgent tensions between Queer Chinese diasporic identities. A collection of multichannel installations, visual and sculptural activations provoke a cosmic encounter of our living past and present as we ‘race’ towards a healing future. These elemental activations attempt to collapse the linear temporality to dislodge an emotional, spiritual, cosmological, and metaphysical enunciation of our Queer ‘Chineseness’. Rather than focus on the trauma that queer people of colour face, this project is fundamentally an invitation to an exuberant celebration of queerness that is unabashedly Chinese. We invite you to celebrate with us. Featuring artists Jen Sungshine, Kendell Yan, Kai Cheng Thom, Jay Cabalu, and David Ng.

DATES:
  • Sat, Feb 1, 4-6pm | Opening
  • Sun, Feb 2, 1:30-4:30pm | Workshop w/ Kai Cheng Thom
  • Sun, Feb 2, 5pm | Curator Tour
  • Sat, Feb 15, 3-5pm | Yellow Peril Film Screening + Artist Talk
  • Sat, Mar 7, 3-5pm | Community Food Sharing + Live Dumpling Making Activation

COMING EVENTS:

  • Sat, Apr 4, 3-5pm | Ching Ming Festival 清明節 [LIVE Stream] with Maiden China

ARTWORK DESCRIPTIONS:

Channeling the Elements; an encounter of time/space

This installation employs the metaphor of the Chinese Five Elements to explore the discursive formation of queer Chinese diasporic identity. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Five Elemental forces have many different applications to understanding life, identity, relationships, and both physical, mental, and emotional health. The elements also have numerous approaches to understanding ways of “being”; they also have principles of metaphysics, and temporalities.  We invoke these five elements through our artistic practices, as a conduit to understanding queer East Asian cultural formations, as not an intellectual delineation, but a way to investigate the embodiment of queer Chinese, diasporic identity. 

For example, we performed an ancestral veneration ceremony at Larwill Park in Vancouver, which was the gathering site of the anti-Oriental riots of 1907 as a way to mark an image of the temporal relationship that the project Yellow Peril: Queer Destiny has amongst a history of anti-Asian racism in Canada.  Giving offerings to our ancestors, making reference to the history of racism we are connected to in this space; and recognizing the implications that these histories have on our own identities today, as racialized, queer subjects.

The Wall of Healing; a ‘Race’ Towards a Cosmic Future

In Chinese cosmology, the world emerges from yin/yang, activated by the primordial powers found in Five Elements: Wood > Fire > Earth > Metal > Water. From the micro to macro, intimate to distant, land to table, we cycle through the synergistic and generative processes of these elemental forces: Wood feeds Fire, Fire creates Earth, Earth bears Metal, Metal collects Water, Water nourishes Wood, and so begins/ends/regenerates a beginning to an end. This ‘Wall of Healing’ employs these relational approaches of the elements to understand Queer Chinese diasporic expressions of race and gender; in an attempt to dislodge our mortal timestamp from Western linearity, and reimagine our living past/present as we “race” towards a cosmic future.

CELESTIAL FIGURATIONS

The modern slang for “queer” in Chinese is “酷兒 (kù-ér)” – which is a direct phonetic adaptation of the English word. While there is a large and diverse vocabulary for LGBT genders and identities such as “同志 (tongzhi)” meaning gay comradery; “同性戀 (tongxin lian)” meaning same-sex love; “拉拉 (lala)” or “拉子 (lazi)” for lesbian, and “跨性 (kuaxing)” for transgender, there is currently no queer-equivalent word in Chinese that encapsulates the historical and emoti  onal journey embedded in the identification of “queer”.

Inspired by the pictograph roots of the Chinese language as well as our own diasporic enmeshment as queers-of-colour, we designed this new Chinese character with the metaphysical and emotive properties of “queer” that are important to us, in an attempt at materializing our Queer diasporic ‘Chineseness’ through a made-up character that isn’t a Western derivative. The “emerging” character on the ground is our personified imagination of what this character might look like. Who are they? What are they? When are they? Where are they? Why are they? Queerness to us necessitates temporal transformation – it’s daring, it’s verbal, it’s spiritual, it’s elemental, it’s revolutionizing. This character is an intervention on the tension between “nation” and diaspora – a reclamation of our who, what, when, where, why in our self-determination.

ARTIST BIOS:

Jen Sungshine speaks for a living, but lives for breathing art into spaces, places, cases. She is a queer Taiwanese interdisciplinary artist/activist, facilitator, and community mentor based in Vancouver, BC, and the Co-Creative Director and founder of Love Intersections, a media arts collective dedicated to collaborative filmmaking and relational storytelling. Jen’s artistic practice is informed by an ethic of tenderness; instead of calling you out, she wants to call you in, to make (he)artful social change with her. In the audience, she looks for weirdos, queerdos and anti-heroes. In private, she looks after more than 70 houseplants and prefers talking to plants than to people.  www.jensungshine.com

David Ng (Co-Creative Director) is a queer, feminist, media artist, and co-founder of Love Intersections.  His current artistic practices grapple with queer, racialized, and diasporic identity, and how intersectional identities can be expressed through media arts.  His interests include imagining new possibilities of how queer racialized artists can use their practice to transform communities. His work has also recently included collaborations with Primary Colours / Couleurs primaires, which is a national initiative to put Indigenous arts practices at the centre of the Canadian art system through the leadership of Indigenous artists, supported by artists of colour.

Kendell Yan/Maiden China is an intersectional feminist drag performer who disrupts identity expectations and liberates audiences by inducing vulnerability. Maiden China’s drag explores the concept of the “hyphen”, liminal states of embodied being, and incorporates elements of classical Chinese opera, queer theory, resistance politics, and intimate contact performance art. They are the winner of the Mx Cobalt All Star competition, and Vancouver’s Entertainer of the year 2018. They are a member of the upper house of the Dogwood Monarchist Society’s 48th reign as Imperial Crown Princet, and they perform regularly as a member of the House of Rice, an all Asian drag family in Vancouver, BC. as well as one of the Darlings, a non-binary drag collective.(Kendell on Facebook)

Jay Cabalu  is a Filipino-Canadian pop artist based in Vancouver, BC. With a speciality in 100% hand-cut collage, his work is a pop-surrealist expression of his world view. He has a BFA from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and has shown in numerous spaces in Vancouver. In 2015, his niche style of art prompted his casting on season one of CBC’s reality-competition series Crash Gallery and he returned as a guest commentator the following year. The last two years of his practice have been dedicated to identity and self-portraiture, which has caught the attention of exhibitions in Chicago and London UK for its contribution to conversations about Asian and queer representation. In 2019, Jay was invited to give his first artist talk at the British Museum with Queer Asia. His art belongs to private collections in Vancouver, Ottawa, Seattle and California. (http://jaycabalu.com/)

Storytelling & Poetry Writing Workshop with jaye simpson

Starting Jan 30th at Mt Pleasant Community Centre

Presented by Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Queer Arts Festival TGD2S Inclusion Committee

Hone your poetry, prose and essay skills with workshops facilitated by jaye simpson. These workshops strive to engage in the power of developing one’s voice and narrative while rejecting the assigned script we are given in society. While focusing on tone, rhythm and pace, jaye hopes to guide writers with prompts, editing exercises and practice readings. This series asks you to investigate the stories that inspire you and the people behind them while also asking what.

Jan 30th Week One: Introductions // Editing Tips, Tricks & Hacks // Poetry Prompt

Feb 13th Week Two: Poetry Prompt Feedback // Spoken Word & Voice // Spoken Word Prompt

Feb 27 Week Three: Practice Reading/Spoken Word Feedback // Prose & Personal Narrative, Prose Prompt


Daxgyet Hanak – Strong Woman

Community show with SWUAV
December 7-21 at SUM Gallery, #425-268 Keefer St. 
Opening reception Dec 7, 2 -4pm

Presented by We Have A Voice: Indigenous Women Who Do Sex Work Speak Out, a project of Sex Workers United Against Violence, the Daxgyet Hanak art show displays pieces by indigenous women who do sex work using culture and creativity to speak to their experiences. Embedded in each piece is a recommendation for positive futurisms for indigenous women doing sex work, including wishes for their future and ways their lives can be made safer. 
This two-year project by SWUAV has been providing healing opportunities for women in the community to speak about their experiences in a destigmatized and safe environment, use art to express themselves, connect with cultural and spiritual teachings and support, and make recommendations to law and policymakers for improving their lives. They have represented our community at BC Parliamentary Sub-Committee Hearings on Human Trafficking, the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, marches and rallies. They have provided art-based cultural learning activities at women’s drop-in spaces. They have employed decolonized harm reduction teachings and provided medicine support at funerals and community events. Come support the project’s culmination in a final art show hosted at QAF’s SUM Gallery.

Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV) is a small grassroots, peer-led non-profit working on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people to improve the lives and safety of people who do sex work on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and across Canada through harm reduction activities and advocacy. We Have a Voice: Indigenous Women Who Do Sex Work Speak Out is a SWUAV project funded through Status of Women Canada that provides indigenous women who do sex work an opportunity to speak to their experiences through art and culturally-based activities in a safe, destigmatized space. Recommendations provided by the women on how to make their lives better and safer through the course of these activities will be circulated to policy and lawmakers to instigate change.

Glitter Technics Presentation

December 4th — Doors at 6:30 pm @ Sum Gallery

Glitter Technics is a sparkling night showcasing the work of emerging multidisciplinary LGBTQ2SI+ artists from a 13-week experiential creative empowerment workshop led by Mutya Macatumpag at the Pride in Arts Society’s SUM Gallery. Mediums that glitter at our December 4th gallery show include visual art, installation, movement performance, music, poetry, light/shadow art, video , silkscreen prints, and a zine. It’s going to be a magical potion of glittering identities. Who are you? Thank you. 

Featuring participation from Zainab Alwarid, Red Fawkes, Jackson Tse, Laura Fukumoto, Emily Tsang, Shahdi, Hampton G, Thuja Quickstad, Sasha Cerino, and Mutya Macatumpag.

Volunteer

SUM Gallery is Calling all Volunteers!

Volunteering can be an exciting, fun, educational experience. You are what makes this festival happen.This year’s festival will be different. It will be held online. 

Festival attendees will be able to enjoy all the events and performances from their own homes. Do we still need volunteers? Sure we do! This new festival format presents new challenges and we are counting on you to help.

We may need very few volunteers to help with the staging of some performances, but mostly we are looking for online volunteers. We want this to be the best attended festival ever and we need you to spread the word. Are you on social media? Facebook or Instagram or Twitter – even TikToK? We need volunteers to like and share and comment on the QAF social media posts. It will be simple and take less than 5 mins a day in the weeks before and during the festival. Full instructions will be given.

Need another reason to volunteer? All volunteers will receive an all-access virtual pass to link to all QAF online events and performances! In addition, we promise to invite you to our closing party NEXT year so we get to say thank you in person.

GENERAL FESTIVAL POSITIONS

Virtual Volunteer – Social Media

Do you have a few minutes each day to amplify our social media reach?

Are you active on social media? Do you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr or even Tik-Tok accounts?

We need volunteers to like and follow our social media channels and to like, share and comment on our social media posts.

(FB: /qafvancouver  | Twitter: @QAFVancouver | Instagram: @QueerArts)

Liking is great. Liking and sharing is better. Liking, commenting and sharing is the best, as is retweeting with your own positive comments.

If you are particularly interested in an event, how about asking your social media friends to join you? Information about QAF 2020 program of events is on our website at www.queerartsfestival.com

From now until the end of QAF 2020 we will be posting on multiple channels about the festival, events, performers and participants.

We may have to post important updates about tickets or the venue or platform for individual events. Your efforts could help greatly.

Questions?

More Virtual Volunteer positions to be announced soon!, for more information email us at: volunteer@queerartsfestival.com

Karin Lee: QueerSUM 心

May 12 – August 18, 2018 I Opening May 12, 2018 2 – 4pm I

Curated by Paul Wong and SD Holman
Presentation Partner: On Main Gallery

Karin Lee: QueerSUM 心

Queer-sum a “Chinglish” translation and play on the words Queer Love, alludes to queer attraction that people experience, even though they believe themselves to be straight identified – or queer-sum (sum=heart=love).

QueerSUM心 presents three of Karin Lee’s media works: a 2-channel remix of her classic 16mm film My Sweet Peony Remix, a fantastical drama shot in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens; Portrait of a Girl, a documentary shot in Beijing; and Small Pleasures, a period drama set in Barkerville BC.

The works not only investigate sentiments of being “Queer-sum,” but pay tribute to Vancouver’s Chinatown—where Lee spent her childhood—and examine the underlying racism which contributed to the very creation of “Chinatowns” amidst the colonization of Indigenous peoples.

My Sweet Peony Remix, shot in 16mm film in 1994, is a short fantastical drama that spins a tale of sexuality, gender and desire featuring Zamma – a Chinese Canadian garden guide (played by Sook-Yin Lee) who is stalked by a white feminist outreach worker and a Caucasian Maoist student, but is awakened by her attraction to an Asian-Canadian dyke, all the while perplexed by an other-world cross-dressing Taoist monk. My Sweet Peony Remix plays with the notion of cultural identity (or identity politics of the 90s) and race: then and now—what remains the same and what has changed in the 25 years since the film was made.

Portrait of a Girl is a peek into the life of Han Dong Qing, a cage dancer who works in the Beijing club scene. She speaks about her life, her story of adoption and her sexuality. Candid and defiant, she is always searching for love, acceptance and family.

Small Pleasures tells the story of three women from very different worlds trying to convey complex ideas about feminist resistance to each other through a common language: Chinook Jargon—an intercultural trade language used throughout the Pacific Coast until the early 1900s. Set in the late 1800s in Barkerville, this film explores how marginalized women in late nineteenth century rural Canada create individual identities in a world prescribed to fit the needs of men.

About the artist:

Karin Lee, photo: Chick Rice

“Karin Lee is a Canadian Screen Award-winning, trailblazing filmmaker who has focused on telling stories about women and Chinese-Canadians for more than three decades.” Sabrina Furminger / Westender June 7, 2017

Born and raised in Vancouver, Karin is a unique storyteller whose critical voice and perspective touches on the past and the present, both local and international. An artist who constantly traverses new territory, Lee challenges film and media forms and addresses new audiences.

Themes of trans-Pacific migration, gender, identity and intercultural contact surface in her documentaries such as Made in China, which portrayed Chinese adoptees in Canada searching for their identity; Cedar and Bamboo, which highlighted intermarriage between Chinese immigrants and First Nations people; and Canadian Steel, Chinese Grit, which depicted the outcome of migration for the Chinese who came to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Her early influences and links to China grew from her exposure to the ideology and the political movement of Chinese socialism in Canada through Lee’s father, who ran a fledgling communist bookstore in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in the 1960s – the 2005 film Comrade Dad.

Lee’s art has been heavily influenced by her own family history. For example, her great-grandmother Tsang Ho Shee, who herself had bound feet when she arrived in Barkerville in 1901, is the inspiration for Small Pleasures. Now, three generations after Tsang Ho Shee arrived in Canada, Lee’s realization that she benefited from her great-grandmother’s acts of feminist resistance, has driven her to expand representations of the history of marginalized women in the Chinese diaspora and, most importantly, to contribute to the minimal coverage of women’s stories in the arts and Canadian media.

In 2001, Karin received a Gemini: The Canada Award for her groundbreaking documentary Made in China, about Chinese children adopted in Canada. In 2005 she received a BC Leo Diversity in Cultures Award and 2015 –diversity award from Women in Film for Cedar and Bamboo.

She has just completed the TV pilot for Plan B, a black comedic drama series set in a women’s sexual health clinic. She is currently in pre-production on Girl with Big Feet (Ts’ekoo Cha Ke), a period drama and Incorrigible – a feature documentary about women who were incarcerated in Ontario for being morally “incorrigible”.

She was a Sessional Instructor at SFU’s Asia-Canada program and Adjunct Professor at UBC’s Film Production program. Karin was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for Film and New Media Artist in 2014 and was nominated for the 2017 YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training and Development and received the Spotlight Award from Vancouver Women in Film and Video Society in 2017.

The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday 12-6pm, closed on Sundays and Mondays, and statutory holidays.