Odera Igbokwe: New Yams Festival

Thu Jun 22 – Fri Jul 28

Exhibition is open Tue-Sat, 12 to 6pm
Opening reception: Jun 22, 7pm

SUM gallery presents a solo exhibition by Odera Igbokwe, an illustrator and painter who celebrates the magic of the African Diaspora and QTBIPOC. New Yams Festival is a direct reflection, response, and Queer reclamation of the New Yam Festival of the Igbo people. Traditionally, it is a celebration of abundance, ancestral veneration, and protection. In referencing The New Yam Festival, Odera seeks to create a visual lineage between Queer Afrofuturism and ancestral rituals.

About Odera Igbokwe

Odera Igbokwe (they/them & he/him) is an illustrator and painter located on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Odera loves to explore storytelling through Afro-diasporic mythologies, Black resilience and magical girl transformation sequences. Their work explores the magic of the Black imagination, and responds to the fractures that occur via diaspora and displacement. Ultimately their paintings celebrate joy, mundanity, and fantasy coexisting alongside pain and healing. As a freelance illustrator, Odera works with clients and galleries to create work that is deeply personal, soulful and intersectional.

SD Holman steps through grief in SUM Gallery photo-based exhibition Pas-à-pas; not intent on arriving

Imagery captures impressions from the cross-country journey the Vancouver artist undertook after spouse Catherine White Holman’s tragic floatplane death


Pas-à-pas; not intent on arriving is at the SUM Gallery until June 2,, 12 to 6 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays

A PINK SILK flower sits on wet asphalt, pressed against the rough, black surface.

Titled Day 16, the image was taken as Vancouver artist SD Holman was just over two weeks into a cross-country walk, focused on putting one foot in front of the other, overcome with grief. The pilgrimage followed the 2010 death of their spouse, pioneering social worker and Three Bridges Clinic founder Catherine White-Holman, in a floatplane crash off Saturna Island.

Armed only with a small Canon G11, Holman documented that journey not with pictures of epic Canadian landscapes, but instead with the kind of imagery you see when you put your head down and go: ragged grass, cracked pavement, dead birds, discarded pop cans, flattened bottle caps, and empty masses of gravelly road. 

Over three months and 2,700 kilometres, SD Holman took 8,000 images—and now, for the first time, almost 13 years later, they are on exhibitin Pas-à-pas; not intent on arriving at the SUM Gallery.  

“My wife died,” the founding artistic director emeritus of the Queer Arts Festival and its SUM Gallery tells Stir over the phone. “It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but I feel like I’ve been living a half life. And you know, I’ve learned to build a garden around that black hole. But that black hole is always there. ‘Crazy with grief’ is not a metaphor. It is the actual, literal truth. Who would walk across Canada starting April 1? 

“All of my friends and family just really didn’t want me to go,” they continue. “I don’t know whether I was going to die; I didn’t care. I was going to find, you know, life out there. I just needed to walk out my door and keep walking. And I do hate walking. I like walking better now, surprisingly, but I really wrecked my knees doing this. I just wanted to walk, so my state of mind was not good. It was yeah, it was really jumbled. I just needed to take a little walk. And I think it was also that I needed to get away.”

Friends helped Holman bring the work to exhibition—including artist Paul Wong, who encouraged Holman to create the exhibit; SUM gallery curator Mark Takeshi McGregor; writer Persimmon Blackbridge, who has worked with words from Holman’s travel journal; and pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, who brought Bach’s Goldberg Variations to Holman—its looping structures now echoing through the space and acting as an organizing principle for Pas-a-pas.

Walking through the installation-exhibit is a meditative experience. Fittingly, the photographs, each titled after a numbered day during the trip, sit low to the ground. They’re arranged along a curtained pathway, like a kind of contemplative labyrinth. Elsewhere, a grand piano sits empty, and slightly obscured, behind gauzy curtains—suggesting an aching absence, as the Goldberg Variations plays through speakers.

“I really wanted to make it a journey that people could take on their own,” Holman stresses, “because we will all grieve, right? And it’s such a universal thing, but we do it alone. And we don’t like to talk about it…..People ask me, ‘Well, what is that?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, what do you think? What do you see?’”

The entry and exit of the pathway consist of diaphanous white curtains, printed with words from Holman’s travel diary—many of them blacked out—and the unmistakable image of floatplane wreckage, the only direct allusion to the tragedy in the show.

SD Holman’s Day 16 Walking.

The photographic images themselves juxtapose beauty and harshness; in one, a perfectly preserved dead mouse sits amid roadside rubble; another finds a beautiful speckled bird wing on the pavement. Holman mixes up the printing, with some in colour and some fully desaturated; they call the black-and-white shots the “minor variations”, referring back to Bach’s piece. Though the photos here are impressionistic and sometimes abstracted, Holman is actually best known as a portrait artist, whose photographic series “BUTCH: Not like the other girls” captured the diversity of “female masculinity”. Starting as a transit-shelter public-art project in 2013, it went on to tour North America and became a book.

“I don’t really believe in, like, this perfect moment, but in the many imperfections that make up our messy lives and our messy selves,” reflects the artist. The Emily Carr University of Art and Design grad connects the dots across their photographic practice: “We’re not one thing; there is this dissonance. I think, in everyone, there’s a lot of grey….There’s a terrible beauty in that walk, and taking those pictures and making art out of it.”

SD Holman’s Day 4 Self Portrait.

One of the most poignant aspects of Pas-à-pas is that it offers little arc or resolution; as the show’s subtitle suggests, it’s “not intent on arriving”. In fact, Holman’s process with the work from their cross-country journey is unfinished as well. They are gathering pieces for future iterations, including one that will draw from Holman’s extensive videos taken during the cross-country pilgrimage. (Called Walk for Love, it raised money for the Catherine White-Holman Memorial Legacy Fund to help LGBTQ2SIA+ people living in poverty, as well as queer women in art .)

“People really want you to move on,” Holman reflects. “And I think that comes from a loving place; people want you to be okay. And there’s a lot of pressure about that. But I think that leaves people feeling really lonely and isolated and you don’t move on. Again, you find you can eventually build a garden around that. But it’s always there.

“We don’t get healed—you just get better at dealing with it,” they add. “And, you know, you realize there’s other great people in the world and other things to do, but it’s always there. And that’s an honouring: grief is love. Right? It is the relationship that you have with that person. That grief is love. So letting go of that, I think, lets go of that love. That love is always there.” 

asian heritage month at morrow

ahmm (asian heritage month at morrow)
May 6 – 29, 2023 at Morrow, 910 Richards St, Vancouver

SUM gallery is proud to co-produce ahmm events Volume Vulva Verve and Bowl of Jasmine in partnership with Dumb Instrument Dance.

Volume Vulva Verve (May 10-14) features two vibrant solo works by accomplished creators/performers: Taiko artist Kage and dance artist Ziyian Kwan. Through sound composition, live vocals and movement, Kage’s Itadakimasu explores how food intersects with ancestral teachings and community, and how this is being threatened by colonial and capitalist forces. Ziyian’s The Odd Volume similarly emerges in resistance to forces that assimilate, displace, and racialize, articulating through movement and storytelling, her immigrant experience as a first generation Chinese-Filipina. Volume Vulva Verve powerfully voices the importance of preserving cultural knowledge and inspiring healing within ourselves and our communities.

Bowl of Jasmine (May 26-28) is a program of 2 works choreographed by Juolin Lee and Sujit Vaidya. The artists come from distinctly different backgrounds, yet they are unified by a mutual fascination with exploring the tension between imagination and reality. This program inquires into the physicality of their fantasy worlds, exploring how cultural influences in the form of scent and taste permeate through their moving bodies.

Artistic Statement, Ziyian Kwan: ahmm was born of my desire to connect with kith and kin – at Dumb Instrument Dance’s cultural space Morrow, during Asian Heritage Month. My hope is that this first iteration of a festival, which came about as an impromptu incentive, will develop and evolve into future adventures. But in the here and now, it’s so exciting to dream something into being with an extraordinary group of artists and partners. Expect intimate sharings of poetry, movement, music, film, visual art and interactive offerings of rest and nourishment, made real by co-operative imagining and camaradarie. Through events that are at once resistance and celebration, ahmm is the embrace of Asian Canadian artists who from a space of community, sing their work to shore.

Folklore, Feminism, and Sea-Maidens: A Mythic Evening with Nalo Hopkinson in Conversation w/ Valérie d. Walker

On Thursday, May 25 at 6:30pm, join Massy Arts Society, SUM gallery, SFU Library, SFU Public Square & Massy Books at The Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre for a special evening with one of the world’s preeminent writers of science fiction and fantasy:

Folklore, Feminism, and Sea-Maidens: A Mythic Evening with Nalo Hopkinson in Conversation w/ Valérie d. Walker

We welcome you to enjoy this wide-ranging conversation between Nalo Hopkinson & Valérie d. Walker, as these two multidimensional artists discuss the realms of myth, story, wonder, beauty and rigour that inspire their creativity across genres, forms and worlds.

Registration is free/by donation, open to all and required for entrance.

Several Nalo Hopkinson titles will be on sale during the event.

Venue & Accessibility

The event will be hosted at The Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, on the Vancouver campus of Simon Fraser University— 149 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4.

Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.

SFU COVID-19 protocols in place: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you please stay home.

About The Author

Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born author living in Canada. Her novels and short fiction have received the World Fantasy Award, the Sturgeon Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian literature of the fantastic, and the Nebula Award, among others. In 2021, Science Fiction Writers of America gave her the Damon Knight Memorial “Grand Master’ Award for her contributions to the genre and the community. She is the first woman of African descent and the youngest person to date to receive this award. Hopkinson is currently a professor in the School of Creative Writing of the University of British Columbia.

In Conversation with SUM gallery board member:

Valérie d. Walker is a Renaissance Artist, alchemyst, transmedia maker, educator, curator, Indigo Griot, Radio-Wave creatrix & BIPOC Femme Afro-Futuristic transmitter. She holds 5th level Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) & Chado (tea-ceremony) degrees with Urasenke-Kyoto & lifetimes of Indigo knowledge, she landed on Gaia in Honolulu & has traveled the planet in space and time. Valérie holds a degree in EECS from UC-Berkeley and her MFA from NSCAD University.

Valérie’s artwork explores enviro-positive natural dyeing & printing, fibre-based responsive installations, tactile virtual spaces, solar-powered circuits, story-telling, epigenetic memories, environmentally healing studio processes, craft-based techniques, digitalia & imagining, programming, sensoriality, and Afro-Futurism.

sticky extensions: Romi Kim in Collaboration with Queer Based Media

sticky extensions: Romi Kim in collaboration with Queer Based Media

Exhibition runs Oct 13 to Dec 8
Gallery hours: Tue–Sat, 12 to 6pm
Opening reception & performance: Oct 13, 6pm | SOLD OUT
Rhythms dance workshop: Oct 6, 6pm | SOLD OUT
Home meal feast workshops: Oct 26 & Nov 9, 6pm | SOLD OUT
Re: check in performance from SKIM & Bongganisa: Nov 24, 6pm | SOLD OUT

Romi Kim’s SUM gallery exhibition debut explores relationships through transformations of drag and play within created spaces. sticky extensions hosts collaborations with fellow artists Romeo Villanueva III, and Queer Based Media – Chris Reed and Kendell Yan – through performance, video and installations. Through video they explore the legacy and precarious existence of Warehouse, a DIY event space that has transformed endlessly for the Eastside queer racialized and trans communities. The exhibition opening night holds a meditative performance of care with drag artists SKIM, Maiden China and Continental Breakfast.

Throughout the course of the show, Romi and Romeo will be inviting participants to attend workshops exploring the communing experience of eating together and moving with one another. sticky extensions will evolve throughout its exhibition run, marked by performances from drag artists Bongganisa, SKIM, Maiden China and Continental Breakfast in the gallery. The artists will explore their relationship with one another in various ways throughout the exhibition. sticky extensions navigates Romi Kim’s extensions through spaces such as Warehouse, their relationships and their own body extending through materials. It will be a sticky experience.

Stickiness is tacky. It attaches one’s body or object to another body or object, sensation and feeling. It can create emotions of annoyance, disgust and fascination. sticky extensions explores the burden of 情 정: an untranslatable word that expresses attachment, feelings of connection and warmness that provoke social reciprocity. 情 encourages being present in your actions in order to create understanding. It grows over time. Kim’s exhibition is centred in thinking through relationality and thinking about their body made up with connections around them. As the exhibit continues, the space transforms over time through acts of performance, world building and homemaking. 

sticky extensions is made possible by the generous the support of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Cultural Project Grants program and The Hamber Foundation.

Exhibition Workshops & Events:

Artists Romi Kim & Romeo Villanueva III hosts an intimate dance and movement workshop in advance of their sticky extensions exhibition opening.

This 2-hour dance workshop brings participants along a movement journey following a “wave” of rhythms. The 5Rhythms* are called flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness. This workshop will create a safe space for people of all dance experience and encourage dancers to ground themselves in their body and share a space of togetherness.

*5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. It draws from indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt therapy, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology. Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms.

In this intimate, 4-person workshop, guests will be invited into the space and be provided with a meal made by artists Romi Kim and Romeo Villanueva III. Attendees are asked to bring their own small, sharable food item to the meal. For second-generation Asians, food is often a strong connection to culture and a form of showing love. This first of two home feast meals focuses on the Korean jal meokgetseumnida. Romi and Romeo wish to share this communal experience with workshop participants. Please note that the meal provided will likely include meat, fish or seafood.

  • Kain Tayo (Filipino food workshop experience 2) – Nov 9, 6pm

In this intimate, 4-person workshop, guests will be invited into the space and be provided with a meal made by artists Romi Kim and Romeo Villanueva III. Attendees are asked to bring their own small, sharable food item to the meal. For second-generation Asians, food is often a strong connection to culture and a form of showing love. This second of two home feast meal workshops focuses on the Filipino Kain Tayo. Romi and Romeo wish to share this communal experience with workshop participants. Please note that the meal provided will likely include either meat, fish or seafood.

Re: check in by Bongganisa and SKIM explores through drag, materiality and performance what it means to maintain a relationship. The two artists started their friendship in 2011 after meeting each other at a weeklong summer camp. Bongganisa lived in Maple Ridge at the time and SKIM in Armstrong. They emailed each other everyday for an entire year. Their journey’s have since brought them to live and work with one another in the same place. 

SKIM defines drag as a performance of gender, explored through fantasy and play. Bongganisa sees drag as creative radical expression through queerness and transformation. Both believe drag is political and important in thinking through possibilities of how a person resides in everyday life.   

Re: check in is an intimate inquiry into the politics of being in drag and focuses on the importance of Bongganisa and SKIM’s relationship in order to offer various ways of understanding one’s being, knowing and doing.

This event is ASL-interpreted.


김새로미, Romi Kim or SKIM in drag, is a queer, genderfluid, second-generation Korean. They identify themselves in recognizing these words as verbs rather than nouns or adjectives—constantly in action, and in flux. They are an uninvited settler living and working on the unceded xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel íl ̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Kim explores personal histories, vulnerability, and intimacy within colonial spaces within their work. They are interested in transforming the power of a story and privileges within language. Kim has a collaborative artistic practice as part of the House of Rice, an all-Asian drag house in Vancouver and a solo one. Kim has shown works in South Korea, in the United Kingdom, and across Canada. They have performed in South Korea, Vietnam, online internationally, and in Vancouver. Kim received a BFA in Visual Arts and Gender Studies at the University of Victoria in 2017 and they are currently studying at the University of British Columbia as an MFA candidate.


Queer Based Media is a QTPOC multimedia production company that provides videography, photography, projection installation, and design work for queer creators on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl  ̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations (so-called Vancouver, BC). Queer Based Media has produced award winning work for non-binary drag collective, The Darlings; The Transform Cabaret Festival, Indigiqueer filmmaker Rylan Friday, and Lantern Films. In addition to producing content, Queer Based Media provides a digital venue on their website for mutual aid and social equity fundraisers, such as Rainbow Refugee, and Visible. Queer Based Media is Vee Pho, Chris Reed, and Kendell Yan. https://www.queerbasedmedia.com/


Romeo Villanueva III (he/him) is a visual artist and drag performer working on the traditional territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver). His work explores identity and expression by reflecting on past experiences and reimagining those experiences through illustration, costume, or performance. He has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts from the University of Victoria, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of British Columbia. Throughout Vancouver, Villanueva can be seen performing as his drag persona Bong Ganisa (gah-NEE-sah) in shows such as Commercial Drag and Ricecake, and was named Commercial Drag All Star 2020. Dong’s work has also been seen online in events such as QMUNITY’s Virtual 16th IDAHOT Breakfast, New West Pride, and the Vines Art Festival.

Read the press release for sticky extensions.

Queering the Air with Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa

QUEERing the air with rachel kiyo iwaasa
Sept 23, 7:30pm
An evening of music by Queer and Trans composers, performed by pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa
SUM Gallery

Featuring three exclusive world premieres, by composers Cris Derksen, Annette Brosin and Rodney Sharman!

+ works written for Rachel Iwaasa, by Leslie Uyeda, Mary Jane Coomber and Russell Wallace.

Co-presented by Canadian Music Centre BC and Queer Arts Festival + SUM gallery.
Tickets: $25 regular admission, $15 concession, free for students and First Nations patrons. All tickets proceeds will go towards Out in Schools.

Cris Derksen’s commission the bells was funded by the Canadian League of Composers as an initiative of the Canadian Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). 

Russell Wallace’s piece, A Clean Start, was named after Rachel (which means Innocent, like a lamb) and Kiyo (Pure, like clear running water). The name speaks to hope. Hope for a life washed clean of intergenerational trauma. Hope for a post-pandemic restart that has learned its lessons (that Black Lives Matter, that we are interconnected, that what happens to the most vulnerable affects everyone). Hope that as the number of unmarked graves exposed at former Residential Schools continues to rise, Canadians will learn to reconcile the difference between what we were taught and the history we can no longer deny. Hope for a way forward in shared respect, reciprocity, and responsibility.


Hailed in the press as a “keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse” (Georgia Straight) with the “emotional intensity” to take a piece “from notes on a page to a stunning work of art” (Victoria Times Colonist), Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa is recognized among Canada’s foremost contemporary music pianists.  Selected to close the ISCM World New Music Days 2017 in Vancouver, Rachel has performed in the Netherlands, Germany, US and across Canada, with engagements including Muziekweek Gaudeamus, Music TORONTO, Music on Main, Vancouver New Music, Redshift, Western Front, Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony, the Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), CONTACT contemporary music (Toronto), New Works Calgary, Groundswell New Music (Winnipeg), and Vancouver Pro Musica.

Rachel has commissioned or premiered works by many of Canada’s most eminent composers, such as Hildegard Westerkamp, Rodney Sharman, Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizée, Jordan Nobles, Jeffrey Ryan, Farshid Samandari, Marci Rabe, and Emily Doolittle. One half of the acclaimed contemporary flute/piano duo Tiresias with Mark Takeshi McGregor, Rachel has also collaborated with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Judith Forst, Heather Pawsey, the Bozzini Quartet, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. Her interdisciplinary adventures have led to work with photo-based artist SD Holman, playwright/director David Bloom, choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, and multi-media provocateur Paul Wong.


Juno-nominated Cris Derksen is an internationally respected Indigenous Cellist and Composer. In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta, she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Derksen braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music.

As composer ,Derksen has a foot in many worlds. 2020 compositions include: Napi and the Rocks – A symphonic story commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; Same Wave – an 8-part choral piece, commissioned by Camerata Nova Choir; The Triumph of the Euro-Christ, an 8-part choral piece commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario. 2019 compositions include: Maada’ookii Songlines – a mass choral piece for 250 singers, commissioned by Luminato Festival; Rebellion – a short symphonic piece commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra; Iron Peggy – a theatre piece commissioned by the Vancouver Children’s Festival; and a new performance art piece commissioned by the National Art Gallery of Canada, Ikumagiialit.

Derksen performs nationally and internationally, solo and with some of Canada’s Finest, including; Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, Naomi Klein, and Leanne Simpson, to name a few. Recent performance destinations include Hong Kong, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, and a whole lot of Canada; the place Derksen refers to as home.


SUM gallery
co-presented in partnership with Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Opening reception: Sat, Aug 13, 7 to 10pm
Installation runs Aug 16 to 20, 12 to 6pm. Daily drop-in zine workshops from 3 to 6pm.

MOTORBIKE/SUPERDYKE is a collaborative multimedia installation by Cheryl Hamilton and lisa g, based on lisa g’s diaries about coming out and sorting through queer stereotypes circa 2000. Illustrations, art prints, an animated film and a zine echo a time and place and reflect upon personal identity politics.

MOTORBIKE/SUPERDYKE animated film trailer

Cheryl Hamilton is a conceptual artist with a penchant for visual ingenuity. She imbues her artwork with a kineticism inspired by her education as an animator at Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute. She enjoys the process of collaboration and experimentation and tries to remain flexible in approaching mediums preferring the concept to dictate the ingredients. Although Cheryl has been working as a large-scale sculptor (blown glass, stainless steel, cast bronze) she has continually returned to the medium of drawing and painting as it serves as the backbone of her art practice.

lisa g is an artist/filmmaker living on the unceded and stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. They are interested in work that has historical reference, social relevance & where possible, humour. They work independently, with other artists and within communities. lisa g is a founding member of Vancouver’s Iris Film Collective, which promotes the creation and sharing of analog film and they are the producer/mentor of Our World  which supports the creation of Indigenous self directed short films. lisa g’s work screens internationally and has won awards.

Don Kwan: Beyond Exclusion

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall St., Vancouver

Beyond Exclusion is Don Kwan’s first solo exhibition in Vancouver. Based in Ottawa, Kwan is a queer third-generation Chinese Canadian artist whose work is influenced by his upbringing in a family-owned restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown. He uses mixed media, found objects, and sourced personal text and photographs to explore questions of identity, belonging, and place, reflecting on his family history while weaving intriguing stories about the Chinese Canadian diaspora.

Beyond Exclusion brings together Kwan’s diverse body of work along with new site-specific installations. 

Don Kwan: Beyond Exclusion is presented by SUM gallery in collaboration with On Main Gallery and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The exhibition is curated by Debbie Cheung, Mark Takeshi McGregor, and Paul Wong. Don Kwan: Beyond Exclusion is generously funded by the BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, and Deux Mille Foundation. 


What can belonging look like? A third-generation Chinese Canadian, Don Kwan turns to his own experiences and challenges of being a gay, East Asian artist as a way to ground in broader conversations about identity, representations, and intergenerational memory-making in the diaspora. 

关日安是一位第三代华裔加拿大同性恋画家。他的作品探索历史长河中的家庭记忆、象征、身份 及地点.

Pride in Chinatown

July 24-30, 2022

Founded by On Main’s Artist Director, Paul Wong and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Pride in Chinatown is the first public celebration of queer pan-Asian Canadian art in Vancouver’s Chinatown. What began as a small, one-day event in 2018, has grown tremendously over the years. For the first time in 2022, On Main is expanding Pride in Chinatown into a multi-day festival, presented in partnership with the Queer Arts Festival + SUM gallery! To find out more about Pride in Chinatown, visit www.prideinchinatown.com.

Pride in Chinatown events:

Jul 24, 12 to 3pm: Dim Sum Brunch
Floata Seafood Restaurant, 180 Keefer St., Vancouver
Regular admission tickets: $55 + tax and fees

Celebrate Pride with an all-age friendly arts and culinary event in Chinatown!

Hosted by the legendary China Doll, the Pride in Chinatown Dim Sum Brunch is a unique cultural experience that celebrates LGBTQ+ families and legacy businesses in Chinatown. A curated selection of piping-hot dim sum will be served alongside a lineup of delightful performances:

  • Immerse yourself in China Doll’s queer diasporic humor! A beloved Ottawa icon, China Doll is famous for hosting drag karaoke and bingo in flamboyant costumes and over-the-top wigs at her family’s Shanghai Restaurant.
  • Learn about the culture of dim sum from William Liu, owner of the family-run Kam Wai Dim Sum in Vancouver’s Chinatown. He will walk you through the art of enjoying “morsels of the heart” and perform Chinese and English opera.
  • Sample Pu-erh prepared by tea master Olivia Cheung from the Treasure Green Tea Company in Vancouver’s Chinatown. She will take you on a journey to Yunnan, China, where the best Pu-erh is produced.
  • Stand in solidarity with the Asian LGBTQ+ community through spoken-word artist Lyle Chan’s heartfelt poetry readings.
  • PLUS 50/50 draw!

Each ticket includes tea, two dim sum dishes, entertainment, and gratuity. Tables are available for groups of six and eight, with a limited number of tables available for groups of four. A party of fewer than four people will be seated at a larger table with other small groups.

Additional food and alcoholic beverages can be purchased from the restaurant. Doors will open at 12pm, and food will be served from 12:30–1:00pm.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall St., Vancouver
Free opening reception Tickets: July 28, 5:00–8:00pm

Beyond Exclusion is Don Kwan’s first solo exhibition in Vancouver. Based in Ottawa, Kwan is a queer third-generation Chinese Canadian artist whose work is influenced by his upbringing in a family-owned restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown. He uses mixed media, found objects, and sourced personal text and photographs to explore questions of identity, belonging, and place, reflecting on his family history while weaving intriguing stories about the Chinese Canadian diaspora.

Beyond Exclusion brings together Kwan’s diverse body of work along with new site-specific installations. In the exhibition opening on July 28, Kwan will perform Altering the Flow of Exclusion to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his grandfather’s arrival in Canada from China through the port of Vancouver to Ottawa. Kwan’s brother, Edward, will host the opening as Ottawa’s legendary drag queen China Doll.

Don Kwan: Beyond Exclusion is presented by the Pride in Art Society (SUM Gallery) in collaboration with On Main Gallery and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden as part of the Pride in Chinatown festival. The exhibition is curated by Debbie Cheung, Mark Takeshi McGregor, and Paul Wong. Don Kwan: Beyond Exclusion is generously funded by the BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, and Deux Mille Foundation. 

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall St., Vancouver
Regular admission TICKETS: $42 + tax and fees
At door (limited quantity): $48 + tax and fees

Pride in Chinatown’s signature garden party returns with a splash of neon, featuring some of the best pan-Asian LGBTQ+ artists and their allies.

Enjoy a magical evening with a wide range of performances, art installations, and immersive experiences in the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, park, and courtyard. Harkening back to when Chinatown was aglow with neon signs, you’re invited to interpret the theme “Neon Night” through your personal style and artistic expression.

Featured artists and activities:
• Land acknowledgment by Quanah Style
• Karaoke Lounge hosted by Ottawa icon China Doll
• Music by DJs Normie Corp and Nancy Lee, a.k.a Which Nancy
• Drag performances by Kara Juku, Maiden China, and Jolene Sloan
• The Zen Den body art by Romeo Reyes
• Poetry reading and installation by Lyle Chan
• Be Like Sound installation by Paul Wong
• Exhibition tours of Don Kwan: Beyond Exclusion
• Site decor by Link Leisure and David Robinson
• Food market featuring Boba Run, DD Mau, and Dicky’s Dump
• PIC Popup store featuring products made by local Asian LGBTQ+ artists and allies

Neon Night Garden Party takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. It is produced and presented by On Main Gallery in partnership with Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and Pride in Art Society (Queer Arts Festival/SUM Gallery).