A Queer Black Art Share
Sat Feb 26, 3 – 6pm
Throughout the month of February, we’ve been showcasing Queer Black Art and Artists on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds — all co-curated by Valérie d. Walker and April Sumter-Freitag. Join them via Zoom on Sat, Feb 26 for Futurosity in the Midst of History, an online Art Share with special guests Christopher Hunte (aka Symone Says), Lili Robinson, and Addena Sumter-Freitag. The panel will share their collectively diverse body of work — from fibre art, to playwriting, to drag—and discuss the joys and challenges of their craft. This event concludes with a specially curated online music set with the one and only DJ O Show!
Pop Up Exhibition | Apr 7 – 9 | Open Hours 12 – 6 pm
Closing Reception | Sat Apr 9 | 3 – 5 pm | ASL
Located on the Lower Ground Floor of Sun Wah Centre, 060-268 Keefer St. Please note that unlike many of our events, this exhibition does not take place in our SUM gallery space on the fourth floor of the Sun Wah Centre.
SUM gallery and the Flavourcel Animation Collective invite you crawl down into the dark depths of the basement for Centipede—a pop-up exhibition of macabre experimental animation on the Lower Ground Level of the Sun Wah Centre. Challenging conventional notions of the medium, Centipede queers the drawn moving image through multi-media installation, 3D projection, and sound experimentation into a haunted cavalcade of ghouls, guts, creepies, and crawlies. Curated by Queer Arts Festival’s Assistant Curator Benjamin Siegl.
Flavourcel is an animation collective of 10 artists based in the Unceded Coast Salish territories. They work collaboratively to make short-form experimental animations that entertain the contemporary narrative of what animation is, and can be. This includes GIFs, music videos, installations, print media, and more. They are heavily settled in collective decision-making structures and aim to keep the collaborative spirit at the core of what they do. In other words; democratizing resources and prioritizing voices that are not so often heard.
“Many of us are institutionally-trained animators, however we felt that the path often laid out for many emerging animators exists in the following binary: to be an independent auteur making animations alone in your basement or to join the animation industry. Both of these routes were limiting in their own ways. We feel that it is important to re-introduce play into animation; the act of making doesn’t have to be so serious or so solitary, it’s always better when you bring your friends along!“
Curator Benjamin Siegl is a multidisciplinary artist and curator, having experience in textiles, graphic design, public murals, animation, painting, illustration, education and arts administration. Recent endeavours include research in the field of queer experimental animation and a strong focus on advocacy for the LGBTQ2S+ artistic community through work with the Pride in Art Society.
Feb 17 – May 14, 2022
This exhibition is open to view during our regular gallery hours: Tue-Sat, 12 to 6pm
Sovereignty is Mi’gmaq photographer and mask-maker Duane Isaac’s first solo exhibition in Vancouver. The mixed-media photographic installation explores an Indigenous body in nature outfitted with a fantastical mask—one side overgrown with fledgling greenery while the other half conjures a ghost of the human face beneath. The figure is overtaken by flames, mask first. Motivated by the health and survival of Indigenous bodies and Indigenous Lands, Isaac casts his model as a vessel of sovereignty under threat; “Sovereignty explores the questions of autonomy and health of both body and Land. The health of the Land will reflect the health of the body and the health of the body will reflect the health of the Land. One cannot survive without the other.” The figure’s mask embodies this nonduality, representing Indigenous identity as equal to and inseparable from the Land. In this installation, four masks gaze out from the centre of the gallery, standing sentinel to the four directions.
Isaac’s artistic practice traces the ephemeral, hand-crafting surreal and otherworldly masks solely for his portraiture, then heightening their narrative presence through lighting and digital manipulation. Ranging from darkly demure to expressively gaudy, his masks are opulent, clever, twisted, unsettling, sexy, and unquestionably queer. His lens seeks a balanced relationship between body and mind, where masks externalize a rich internal world populated by grotesque and seductive creatures, guided by Indigenous ways of knowing, the queer gaze, environmental angst, and an apocalyptic perspective on the past and future.
Balance is less easily found in Sovereignty—the final tableau, a portrait of absence where the figure’s red garment lies amongst the undergrowth, poses many-layered questions. Has the garment been shed by the Body, or donned by the Land? Where does the one end and the other begin? Sovereignty is so hot! Are we witness to immolation or ignition?
This exhibition is part of the 2022 Capture Photography Festival Selected Exhibition Program.
Duane Isaac is a First Nation Mi’gmaq from Listuguj, QC. He is a contemporary artist who uses the photography medium in combination with his mask making. His work has been featured in multiple online publications, most recently Canadian Art Magazine. He currently resides in Listuguj, QC.
Jan 4 – Jan 31
SUM gallery activates the New Year with a new artist residency program featuring Vancouver-based West Moberly First Nations artist Dion Smith-Dokkie. Throughout the month of January, Dion will create new multimedia work and engage the community through free, artist-led drawing workshops and an open house. In groups of five, workshop participants will create collaborative charcoal drawings, with a focus on intuitive mark-making and an experimental approach to space and form. Register here to attend a workshop. Space is limited and proof of vaccination is required.
Dion Smith-Dokkie (he, they) is a painter and visual artist currently living in Vancouver on the unceded ancestral homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ. He is a recent graduate of the UBC MFA in Visual Arts program. Dion also holds degrees from the University of Victoria and Concordia University. His practice hones in on colour and light, skin, screens, clouds and skies, and interfaces of all sorts through the lens of painting, drawing, and video. He grew up in the Peace River region of British Columbia and Alberta and is a member of West Moberly First Nations.
Open house: Feb 3 & 4, 12 to 7pm
Over the course of January, artist-in-residence Smith-Dokkie created a series of pastel drawings. The works in this series, will soften these away – will these soften away represent a burgeoning inquiry into texture, touch, drawing, light and colour. Softness, delicateness, sensitivity were key processual principles. View these fabulous works and meet the artist behind the work by dropping in to our open houses Feb 3 & 4 from 12 to 7pm.
This series of drawings took on a very different shape to the one I envisioned when I proposed this residency. Instead of an intermedia dialogue between drawing and video, the drawings asked that I come close, that I breathe in the pigments so that something could also blossom in me. I thought about Masao Okabe’s irradiated trees and Simon Hantaï’s étoilements: I folded, crushed, and creased the paper to introduce a topographical sense, bas and haut relief and to stimulate frottage, planar out-foldings—this allowed me to randomize, to miniaturize the pointillist open brushstroke and pixel. The drawings are studies in chromatic filaments, garden sites, woven colours, textures that morph.
Please note that vaccine passports and masks will be required to enter the gallery. If you plan on visiting the gallery after 6pm on open house dates, please contact the gallery at 604-200-6661 to gain access to the Sun Wah Centre.
The pop up exhibition running, running, trees go by… shows at SUM Gallery from August 20-25 during the 2019 Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Curated by Festival Programmer Justin Ducharme, it features new and retrospective works by Zachery Longboy.
Longboy is from Churchill, Manitoba and is of Sayisi Dene lineage. The collection continues the artists’ exploration within a fractured cultural experience through deeply felt layered videos, paintings and archival film.
Justin Ducharme (JD) and Zachery Longboy (ZL) talk to SUM Gallery about the exhibition:
Justin, what draws you to Zachery Longboy as an artist and made you want to exhibit his work?
JD: I first saw water into fire, a film by Zachery a few years ago when I was about 20 years old and I was instantly drawn to the performance aspect of the piece. The work was self reflective on his identity has an indigenous man living with HIV and there was this unfiltered approach to his making that I was instantly drawn to. I discovered Zachery around the same time I became familiar with Thirza Cuthand’s work and I admire the way they both approached filmmaking from both a performance and technical angle. I knew I was going to be making work myself as an artist that is self reflective of my intersecting identities so finding folks who were doing that in ways that felt completely new to me meant a lot. Most of my film work is narrative based but I’ve drawn heavily from people like Zachery and Thirza who have made performative documentary work. Kinship and community is a huge part of why I am where I am as a creator and human being. I can say 100% with my gut that I would not be the artist or person I am without my kin or artists like Zachery.
Zachery, what made you trust Justin and embark on this collaboration? Were you actively pursuing exhibition opportunities or was there a particular calling that brought you to SUM?
ZL: There was no reason not to trust Justin, I had been thinking about pursuing an exhibition; however, never got beyond the thinking. I have always enjoyed collaboration and this has been the perfect opportunity to work with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, SUM Gallery and Justin. He had a clear vision of how he saw my work presented and what it meant to him. I drew these works over the last 2 years and there is a movement that flows through all: community, difference, search for belonging and acceptance. I began animating the drawings and posting them on Instagram. That’s where Justin saw the work.
How did you select the works? All of the pieces are new except for the stone show although it too has been reimagined. What is the artistic statement behind these new pieces? What do you hope people take away from the show?
JD: We selected the works over the course of one afternoon back in July. It was pretty chill how it all came about. We started by talking about healing actually, cuz I was going through some shit and we mutually bonded over our sad boi identities. I thought about colour palette first because Zachery has such an expansive collection of drawings and paintings. We both connected to the greyscale black and white works and knew we wanted to keep the majority of pieces in the exhibit that tone.
ZL: We decided early on that the work had to stand for itself, circumventing the traditional title and explanations cards. Let the viewer enjoy and experience the work without the clutter of explanation.
JD: We talked a lot about trusting our audience. It was kind of fitting that the theme of VQFF this year is See for Yourself because that is exactly what we are asking people to do. Something Zachery and I both love is showing someone something and then allowing them to discuss what it means to them or how it makes them feel. We didn’t want to spoon feed a narrative to anyone. Come and be immerrsed in the work and draw from it what you will. We both connect to the peices in there for different reasons and that’s the beauty of it I think.
There are no title cards for the pieces – is there a story behind why that is? Does this create a barrier between the viewer and the art or does it allow for a more personal relationship to the pieces?
JD: I personally don’t think it creates a barrier for people to connect to the pieces. Something I have been struggling with lately is this whole idea of having to name something when it’s finished. We have titles and terms for so many different things in the english language and it’s just not like that in most indigenous languages or others for that matter. Sometimes there are no words for things, and that is okay.
The stone show has been revisited – cut from an hour of original footage down to a fifteen minute video. What motivated this? Has the piece become something different through its reconstruction?
JD: Mainly obsession. I desperately wanted to include an archival piece in the exhibit and we talked for a bit about what that would look like. I had seen the orignal hour long show via footage from grunt gallery and was so connected to the visuals and spoken word aspect of the piece. Being a filmmaker myself I was up for the challenge of giving it a recut and suggested it to Zachery after grunt let me know they had the VHS footage available. For me it now feels like a cinematic love letter to knowing but not knowing who you are and where you come from. The spoken word aspect, the physicality of the piece, everything was so incredibly emotion inducing.
Justin, you work as a festival programmer for Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Is there a particular film at this year’s festival that you can recommend which speaks to this exhibition?
JD: Yes I can think of one in particular that I’d like to shout out. Wildfire by Bretten Hannam is a short film that is screening on Friday, Aug 24th at The York Theatre in a shorts program I curated titled all our relations: explorations on indigiqueer kinship. The film follows two Mi’kmaw teens on the run from one of their abusive stepfathers and lets the viewer see how their kinship grows through this experience. When I think of running running trees go by… I think about the journey Zachery and I took together, I think about movement, about community, about pain and longing, about kinship. I think Wildfire discusses these themes in a way that is so singular to Brettens filmmaking, so while I don’t think the comparison necessarily slaps you across the face right away I think that if you dig deep you might find something you didn’t see before.
Curated by Justin Ducharme in collaboration with the Artist… this year’s Festival offers a pop-up exhibit featuring new and retrospective works from artist Zachery Longboy.
Longboy is from Churchill, Manitoba and is of Sayisi Dene lineage. This new and retrospective collection continues the artists’ exploration within a fractured cultural experience through deeply felt layered videos, paintings and archival film.
This exhibit has been held over until September 14.
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.Continue reading “69 POSITIONS: THE QUEER CANADIAN AND QUÉBEC ARCHIVE IN FILM AND BEYOND”
Exhibition: January 8 – February 7, 20119
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.
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.