Opening May 14, 2019 – 6pm

MAY 14 – AUG 17 | with VIVO Media Arts

The west coast stop of Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project’s touring exhibition series, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Omnibus bill.

A naughty, nuanced and nerdy retrospective of queer lives circa 1969 and the partial ‘decrim’ of sodomy. As the powers-that-be celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Bill C-150, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, ‘69 positions is here to set the record queer.


Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (ALOT) presents They are a Lesbian

with Jane Byers and Cicely-Belle Blain

March 15, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Jane Byers

Nelson, B.C. poet, Jane Byers, “came out” with her 2nd poetry collection, Acquired Community, in October 2016 (Caitlin Press-Dagger Editions). It is a 2017 Golden Crown Literary Society Award Winner for Poetry and is featured on All Lit Up’s Top Ten Social Justice publications in Canada. Her debut poetry collection, Steeling Effects is published by Caitlin Press (March, 2014). Jane has recently published a chapbook, It Hurt That’s All I know (NIB Press, 2017). Jane has had poems and essays published in various literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and England, including Best Canadian Poetry 2014. She is delighted to have her poem, Nothing To Forgive, currently on Poetry in Transit. She is the 2017-18 Writer-In-Residence for the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony at Simon Fraser University.

Connection to ALOT: “After an initial meeting with Elise in Nelson, where she was undertaking some research, I again met Elise in Vancouver at a reading/launch of Acquired Community, which is a collection of lesbian and gay history poems. Dr. Elise Chenier asked me if I would be interested in becoming ALOT’s first writer in residence. I was honoured to accept this opportunity. I am in the midst of reviewing oral testimonies and writing poems in response. These are the poems I will be reading from as well as some relevant poems from Acquired Community. I am also interviewing Daphne Marlatt for ALOT, after having spent a week with her papers in Special Collections.”

Cicely-Belle Blain

Cicely Blain is a writer, facilitator and activist originally from London, UK, now living on coast Salish lands. They run a consulting agency and are a founder of Black Lives Matter, Vancouver as well as a columnist for several publications including Daily Xtra and the Body is Not an Apology. They are also a sub-editor at Beyond the Binary, UK-based magazine for trans and non-binary people. Cicely is the 2017 winner of the Canadian Power of Youth Leadership Awards in Social Movement Building for their contributions to LGBTQ rights and the Black liberation movement. They love instagram, red wine, dinosaurs and painting.

This event is free and open to the public. 

The address is 268 Keefer St., between Main St. and Gore Ave. The SUM gallery is located on the 4th floor, suite 425.

An evening of film, poetry, and conversation

Join us at SUM gallery for a two-part gathering, sharing art and conversation on the topic of displacement.

Through these gatherings we invite the public and artists to come together to explore: What can it look like to challenge displacement thought art? What kind of creation is possible in relationship to displacement? How do the lived realities of displacement/location fuel or inhibit organizing and creating? Where can the queer body and the displaced body intersect? what can happen at that intersection?

Thursday July 19th, 2018, at 7pm 
Explore these questions with filmmaker Karin Lee, text-based artist Anahita Jamali Rad, and writers Chelene Knight and Zoe Mix, in partnership with The Capilano Review.

Thursday July 26th, 2018 at 7pm 
Engage with community organizers and artists Cicely Blain, Mark McGregor, Shane Sable, and Yulanda Lui.

The gallery opens at 12pm, so come early to see Karin Lee’s QueerSum 心 exhibition.

Please let us know if you have any requests or need more information events@queerartsfestival.com


Anahita Jamali Rad is currently based in Tio’tia:ke on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka. Her work is primarily textual and explores materiality, history, affect, ideology, violence, class, collectivity, desire, place, and displacement. She has published a few chapbooks and one full-length collection entitled _for love and autonomy_ (Talonbooks, 2016). She is currently working on an apparel-based poetics project called Fear of Intimacy.

Cicely-Belle Blain is a Black/mixed queer writer, activist, consultant and artist originally from London, living on Coast Salish territories. They are a founder and organizer of Canada’s second Black Lives Matter chapter and the CEO of their diversity and inclusion consultancy, Cicely Blain Consulting. They are a runner up of the 2014 YWCA Young Women of Distinction Award and the winner of the CCPA 2017 Youth Leadership Award in Social Movement Building for their work in Black liberation, intersectional feminist community building and LGBTQ advocacy. Cicely-Belle is also a columnist for Daily Xtra, the Body is Not An Apology and Beyond the Binary publications.

Chelene Knight is a Vancouver born-and-raised graduate of the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. In addition to being a workshop facilitator for teens, she is also a literary event organizer, host, and seasoned panelist. She has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines, and her work is widely anthologized. Chelene is currently the managing editor at _Room_ magazine, and the 2018 Programming Director for the Growing Room Festival. _Braided Skin_, her first book (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2015), has given birth to numerous writing projects including her second book, the memoir _Dear Current Occupant_ (Book*hug, 2018).

Karin Lee’s films examine gender, race, culture, and identity in Canada and Asia. _Made in China_, about adoption and identity, received a Gemini in 2001. She received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Film and New Media in 2014, and the Spotlight Award from Vancouver Women in Film in 2017. She taught film and history at the University of British Columbia, and humanities in Simon Fraser University’s Asia-Canada Program. She was born and raised in Vancouver, BC.

When Mark McGregor was a 10-year old gay boy he desperately wanted to play the saxophone because he thought it would make him more butch. His father quickly foiled these plans by bringing home a flute — and, in one fell swoop, both his career and sexuality were sealed. As a soloist, chamber musician, and as flutist of Victoria’s Aventa Ensemble, Mark has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Israel, and Australasia, including appearances at Festival Montréal-Nouvelles Musique, Vancouver New Music Festival, Modulus Festival (Vancouver), New Works Calgary, Athelas New Music Festival (Copenhagen), Internationale A-DEvantgarde-Festival (Munich), the Melos-Ethos International Festival of Contemporary Music (Bratislava), Casalmaggiore International Music Festival (Italy), and Núcleo Música Nova’s International Symposium of New Music in Curitiba, Brazil. Mark has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works for flute, including concerti, flute ensemble, and duos for flute and piano with his partner-in-crime, Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa. Upcoming projects include the premiere of a new concerto by Farshid Samandari in Taipei, Taiwan; Lutalica, his recording project that explores contemporary music culture along the Pacific Rim; and North American tours with the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and Sound of Dragon Ensemble. His discography includes solo and chamber recordings for Redshift Records and Centrediscs, three of which were nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards. Mark teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music, where he maintains studio of inquisitive, inspiring, and occasionally hilarious individuals of all ages. He is a dreadful saxophone player.

Shane Sable is a 2spirit Gitxsan artist and activist of mixed heritage. She is the convening member of Turtle Island’s first all-indigenous burlesque collective, Virago Nation. As the Famously Flirtatious Force of Nature, Shane has worked with the other members of Virago Nation to rematriate indigenous sexuality from the toxic impacts of colonization.
She also works in the DTES as an arts-based facilitator and coordinator of “We Have a Voice; Indigenous Women Who Do Sex Work Speak Out” for Sex Workers United Against Violence. The peer led project gives indigenous women with experience doing sex work an opportunity to share their stories in a nonjudgemental environment through cultural and arts based activities with the ultimate goal of a report and art show that can be used to amplify the voices of these women and influence the minds of politicians and policy makers at a national level.
Both projects tackle issues of indigenous body sovereignty through a people-first, community-driven lens.

Yulanda Lui is a queer Chinese settler born on Anishinaabe territory, currently living on unceded Coast Salish Territories. They have a Bachelor of Arts from UBC with a major in Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice and a minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration studies. Yulanda is an organizer in Chinatown with Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice, working directly with youth and Chinese seniors impacted by the gentrification of Chinatown. She is a fierce believer in collectivity and possibility, and can be found learning and playing in spaces of creation, community, and utopia.

Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice, formerly Youth for Chinese Seniors, have been serving low-income immigrant seniors in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside since 2015. With two part-time staff and the support of over forty volunteers, Yarrow provide outreach to isolated seniors, interpretation and translation services, advocacy, and diverse programming that builds bridges between generations. Yarrow combines service provision and grassroots organizing, with a core belief that service work is political and that as a community, we have the tools we need to take care of one another. Yarrow empower seniors and youth to work together to improve their communities and tackle the difficult problems of oppression and violence. Yarrow’s vision is of a Chinatown that is intergenerational and thriving, with accessible and culturally relevant services and an environment that cherishes our seniors and youth.

Zoe Mix is a young Métis writer from the Seattle area. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia where she earned a BFA in Creative Writing, along with a Bachelor of Voice Performance. She enjoys writing poetry and drawing comics.

This event is made possible with funding from Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage Canada, City of Vancouver Cultural Services, and the Quebec Writers’ Federation.

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.

Chocolate or Chicken Bones?

Exhibition: January 8 – February 7, 20119
Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6pm
Opening reception: January 8, 6-8pm.

SWAN Vancouver presents, in partnership with SUM Gallery – Queer Arts Festival, Chocolate and Chicken Bones, a photovoice exhibition.

“People think that we are like chocolate. That we are sweet and you can just swallow us and consume us. We are not chocolate. You can’t just swallow us and forget about us. We are like chicken bones. We will stick in your throat.” – Participant

Assumptions and stereotypes construct sex workers as snapshots: without a voice, without dimension, and without control of the perspective.

This exhibition uses photovoice methodology to address misinformation and stigma about im/migrant women who work in massage shops and apartments. This project, provides im/migrant sex workers an opportunity to self-represent their lived experiences and bring forth a dimension, reality and perspective which policy makers and law enforcement have neglected and dismissed.
By using photovoice, migrant sex workers take control of the snapshots that tell stories about their lives. They control the camera and the perspective. They control what comes into the shot and what gets left out. They tell the stories.

This project was funded through a generous grant from the Charity Pot Program through LUSH Cosmetics.

Poly Queer Love Ballad

March 5 – 9 8 pm 
March 9 & 10 
2 pm

Co-produced by Queer Arts Festival 
Presented with the Frank TheatreandZee Zee Theatre

A New Slam Poetry Musical By Anais Westand Sara Vickruck 
Directed by Julie McIsaac 

After playing sold-out shows at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and winning multiple awards, Poly Queer Love Ballad returns to Vancouver.

Poly Queer Love Ballad is an intimate, edgy new musical, merging slam poetry with catchy pop-folk tunes. Nina, a polyamorous bisexual poet, meets Gabbie, a monogamous lesbian songwriter at Cafe Deux Soleil. With two microphones, a loop pedal and array of instruments, they struggle to reconcile their fierce mutual attraction with their opposing perspectives on love.

Adrian Stimson: Naked Napi

SUM Gallery, Canada’s only queer multidisciplinary gallery, is honored to host Adrian Stimson’s debut of their most recent work for the gallery’s second exhibition of the year, Naked Napi.

“For the Blackfoot, a lot of our stories have sexual content, sex and sexuality was often interwoven within the language…yet the damage has been done and in our time, it is our right and duty to reclaim our sexual histories, i hope through this series of paintings to trigger people, to help them understand and accept our ways of life. To be Napi and create stories for our time and two spirit being.”
— Adrian Stimson, Artist of Naked Napi

Adrian Stimson: Naked Napi
Exhibition Dates: Sept 8, 2018 to Dec 8, 2018 – Tuesday to Saturday, 12 to 6pm – by donation
Exhibition Opening: Sept 8, 2018 – 2 to 4pm, in SUM gallery, suite #425
Artist Talk: Sept 6, 2018 – 7pm to 9pm, in Full Circle studio, suite #416

Curated by SD Holman

Presentation partner: Full Circle – First Nations Performances

About the Exhibition

Napi is a character from traditional stories of the Siksika (Blackfoot) nation. Often referred to as the “Old Man” who came from the sun, Napi alongside the “Old Woman” are known as quasi-creators in these stories.

Naked Napi presents Adrian Stimson’s new site specific Installation.

Through this collection, Naked Napi reimagines the traditional tales of Napi in the present. Where the intersections of indigeneity, sexuality and Two-Spirit identities are drawn to the forefront in this retelling. It is a display of reclamation that challenges the colonial erasure of Indigenous bodies, power and sexual histories.

About the Artist

A member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation, Adrian Stimson is a Two-Spirit interdisciplinary artist who has exhibited works both nationally and internationally. Having attended three residential schools in their life, Stimson draws upon their lived experiences to investigate themes of cultural fragility, sexuality, genocide and resilience. Stimson achieves this radical examination of intersecting themes through avenues of performance art, painting and installation work. Stimson was awarded the Governor General’s award in Visual Arts in 2018, the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005, and the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award –Hnatyshyn Foundation in 2017.