Guest Curator: Andy Warner
Artists: Delzius, Ivy Hazard, Jasper Berehulke, Lara Therrien Boulos, Maureen Long, Nico McGiffin, Shay Gavina
North Van Arts presents Queer Bash, an exhibition of 2SLGBTQ+ community members works’ exploring the juxtapositions of violence and visibility, prejudice in pride festivals, and the word bash: defined as both a celebration and a condemnation depending on its use. The goal of this show is to exhibit unique, dynamic work that brings to the light the resiliency of a community.
Curatorial Statement by Andy Warner:
Queer-bashing (also referred to as gay-bashing, homophobia, transphobia, femmephobia, transmisogyny, and more) is the act of vicious and unprovoked verbal and/or physical assaults upon queer and trans people or supposed queer and trans people.
The word queer is originally a pejorative slur, but as language evolves, it has been reclaimed by many in the community, and in particular younger generations who use it as a celebration. I describe my sexuality and my gender identity as queer because they both differ from the “Nuclear Family” norm.
The theme of Queer Bash is inspired by North Vancouver’s own history in the debate of free speech vs hate speech. I grew up in North Vancouver, and while it’s encouraging to see more celebrations of queer and trans people here today, there are still residents who continue to hate us.
With greater representation of queer, and especially trans, people in media, there is an increase of violence against trans people, an unintended consequence. More visibility for trans people doesn’t necessarily mean that we are safer. Since trans actress and activist Laverne Cox’s 2014 TIME Magazine cover, there has been an increase in representation of trans people; however, there has also been an increase in the number of trans people who have been murdered, as well as anti-trans bills being legislated. 2021 was the deadliest year on record for violence against trans people. I’ve often wondered: how do we move through this duality of violence and visibility in communities like North Vancouver?
This show features eight 2SLGBTQ+ artists whose works explore the binary of joy amidst tragedy, critique public vs private support, and blur masculinity with femininity. Queer Bash may be best represented by exhibiting artist Lara Therrien Boulos’ description of her work: “a riot of colour, texture, ungraspable shapes, interpretations, and joy; a manifestation of our community’s kaleidoscopic, vivid, and varied expressions; an incarnation of the expansiveness of gender and all its possibilities.”
About Andy Warner:
Andy Warner is a genderqueer writer, performer, and stand-up poet who loves to let you know how weird you really are. Andy grew up as a settler on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. They identify as trans and non-binary, using she/her/hers and they/them/their pronouns. Andy’s experience in the poetry slam community spans eight+ years and includes a provincial title as individual champion at Hullabaloo (2014), a national team win at YouthCanSlam (2014), and a national team silver at Voices of Today (2017). She then began touring with a performance collective called the Tiny Tricycle Poets, made up of three best friends who first met at festivals like Hullabaloo. Together they travelled across what is colonially known as North America, performing in pride events and cultural spaces for years. Andy received the 2018 Emerging Artist Award from the Fund for the Arts on the North Shore, opened for Shane Koyczan at the Vogue Theatre in 2019, and virtually hosted BC Culture Days’ 2020 Opening Celebration. These days Andy is still writing poetry, starting amateur drag, and making trouble.
DELZIUS is a queer & immigrant status-quo disturber. Formally trained in animation, their expression is multi-disciplinary, ranging from experimental animation, traditional painting, and printmaking, to latex fashion, digital collage, and rug making. Their work often explores the mundane, with an intention to bring magic and meaning to everyday experiences. Undoubtedly queer in their life and experience, most artworks have a hard time being defined into one medium as their queerness permeates out of a single discipline. Previously focused on the human experience, especially its misery, DELZIUS is now opening-up more space for joy and making art for the sake of pleasure.
Delzius – Artist Statement:
Their recent fetish series is a perfect parallel to the current rise of queer hatred and gay bashing. Although completely safe for work, the audience will imbue the artworks with their own understanding of fetishism and BDSM. Much alike, strangers have been corrupting what it means to be LGBTQ2S with their ideologies of us being “groomers” or that our love isn’t valid. The audience’s experience of the artwork, and how controversial it might seem, is directly related to the understanding of themselves and the “other”. We are not trying to seduce anyone to follow our reality, we are just trying to survive day to day, and find joy in a world that so often demonizes us.
About Ivy Hazard:
Ivy Hazard is a fashion force of nature. Living & breathing on unceded coast salish territory, they work to create art thoughtfully with others around them. Ivy is queer, trans & disabled, and so is their work. Most of their looks are handmade monsters for the ‘Bizarre’ category in Ivy’s Ballroom community. Balls are a type of queer culture party with competitive categories, and walking Bizarre means you are pushing fashion beyond its practical limits into the fantastical. Ivy veers towards the playfully ominous with their looks and explore questions of gender, humanity & identity. The found Ballroom family they are surrounded by has given them the support they’ve needed to find this very strange niche in the art world.
Part of what makes Ivy’s effects stand out from the crowd is the unconventional materials they choose to use. Bike tires, chandelier pieces & defaced barbie dolls are some of the many textures that crawl over Ivy on the runway. As they do the work to collect these materials and create never before seen looks, Ivy is becoming more interested in how recycled art can be a tool for exploring the environmental crisis we find ourselves surrounded by. Ivy is quite early in this journey–and they are starting to see the ways they will have to overcome several big questions the further they unfold things–but they truly believe that making something wholly
unprecedented from the things others have thrown away is the path towards a better world. Part of this is incorporating rest & digestion to respect the limits that their body has, and to encourage the same in others.
Ivy Hazard – Artist Statement:
“A clown & an acrobat walk into a bar: the crowd goes wild! These two friends are here to take up space in their own freaky fresh ways. Unashamedly colorful and loud, they skitter in between clubs late into the night, together as a found family.
The sultry stunts of Möbius Stripper cannot be denied. Often found hugging trees and taking names, these legs (Arms? Heads?) are not just made for walking. One of these days, you may see what they can do, if you can find the end of their rainbow. It’s giving New Way with an extra floral twist.
Miss Funny Business! Group organizer, intentional class clown, unintentional hero. Many say that the work she does goes unnoticed, but her true friends find ways to celebrate her every day. The force of a good laugh can subvert power structures & change the dimensions of a room.”
Will you join them on their night out?”
About Jasper Berehulke:
Jasper Berehulke is an indigiqueer transgender artist from the Syilx Nation Okanagan. Currently, he is finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts at the University of British Columbia with a minor in Japanese Language and Culture. He also works at the Museum of Vancouver as the Indigenous Coordinator of Programs where he works with local indigenous artists and knowledge keepers. He often uses his artworks to show the intricacies of his culture, identity, and representation.
Jasper Berehulke – Artist Statement:
My artistic process for this self-portrait involved a meticulous exploration of my body and its intricate elements. I fearlessly portrayed the nuanced details, including my top surgery scars, variations in pigmentation on my limbs, and the folds of fat that shape my thighs when seated. These physical features serve as powerful symbols, representing not only my personal journey of self-acceptance but also embracing my queerness, transgender identity, racial heritage, and the profound love I have developed for my own body. To capture the essence of this self-portrait, I created a deliberate and intimate setting in my room. By strategically arranging two lights and a white sheet as the backdrop, I sought to evoke a sense of vulnerability and sensuality reminiscent of sharing intimate images with a partner. Utilising the camera on my phone, I took numerous photographs, each serving as a reference for the subsequent painting. Moving into the next phase, I delved into the realm of digital manipulation, harnessing the capabilities of software like Photoshop. Through skilful adjustments in size, saturation, and lighting, I transformed the original photographs, aligning them with my artistic vision. These altered reference images became the foundation upon which I embarked on the painting process.
About Lara Therrien Boulos:
Lara Therrien Boulos is a queer artist, witch, community planner, facilitator, and mouthy agitator of Egyptian and French-Canadian ancestry. She is inspired by nature and its cycles, nonlinearity, plants, moments of synchronicity and serendipity, and everyday encounters.
Lara’s lifelong creative practice centres on textile work, particularly knitting, sewing, weaving, and more recently, natural dyeing. She also dabbles in watercolour painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, weaving with plant materials, and poetry. Working across so many media brings Lara joy and allows her to draw connections between different art processes and materials, which ultimately influences all her work. She gravitates toward fine detail, patchwork, and piecework, believing that each stitch and repeated gesture creates rhythm that imbues the final piece with depth and life.
Lara also uses her creative practice as a doorway to explore her cultural ancestries and diasporic identity and is currently researching ancient and contemporary Egyptian craft.
This is Lara’s first art show.
Lara Therrien Boulos – Artist Statement:
I began this work over a decade ago, when I first took the leap away from pattern-based knitting into freeform work. I knitted and crocheted bits and pieces using whatever yarn I had; I discovered the freedom of creating without a set vision or intention in mind. A cross-country move shoved the work to the back of my mind and the bottom of my closet. In spring of 2020 during the pandemic lockdown, I retrieved the patches, sewed them together, and mounted them on driftwood I had gathered along the coast of BC.
Quilts, patchwork, and tapestries evoke many things for me: the painstaking labour and intention that it takes to make, then line up each piece to create a balanced and unified whole; the AIDS memorial quilts created to honour the queer and trans elders I will never know; the experience that many queer people share, of piecing ourselves together over and over in different permutations of self. In a way, the process of creating and finalizing Riotous mirrors my own journey of identity development and uncovering my queerness – bit by bit over time, and then coalescing all at once.
Riotous is a celebration of queerness in all its forms, and a reclamation of a word that has been used against our communities to mark us as “unruly,” “uncontrolled,” and “disorderly.” It is a tribute to the first pride, which was a riot led by trans women of colour Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who are far too often erased from our collective queer consciousness. It is a rebellion against the second wave TERF-y white feminist culture that produced pussyhats. It is a rebuke of mainstream corporatized celebrations of pride that make no space for introverted, quiet queers. It is a riot of colour, texture, ungraspable shapes, interpretations, and joy; a manifestation of our community’s kaleidoscopic, vivid, and varied expressions; an incarnation of the expansiveness of gender and all its possibilities.
About Maureen Long:
Maureen Long is a queer white settler on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations in East Vancouver. She grew up on the unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan people in Vernon. Her imagination extends beyond the creative problem solving of her engineering career and into the boundless possibilities of the materials and subject matter that the universe has to offer. Her works typically feature bold and surreal colours and flowing lines, and most often depict people and/or places that she loves. For Maureen, art is a way of revisiting landscapes, sharing her perspective, and telling stories. The stories she tells in art are inherently shaped by her identity and experiences. Her Vancouver queer community shapes a large and vibrant aspect of who she is. As she furthers her creative practice, she is interested in themes of queerness, bodies, identity, taking up space, and reflections on land and maps. She looks forward to the stories yet to be told through her art. Maureen is currently studying community planning, hoping to apply colour, creativity and joy to help communities change for the better.
Maureen Long – Artist Statement:
Maureen created this work, Butts, as part of a 5-drawing series titled Mapping Community. The series is as an exploration and celebration of queer bodies and relationships. The works were inspired by discussions about community that centered both positive themes of connectedness, acceptance, and radical love, and the more challenging topics of societal pressures, assumptions, misconceptions, and hate. Taking up space in such a society, mapping queerness on a heteronormative backdrop, requires a deep reliance on each other. These discussions ultimately led to these images representing community as body-maps, inspired by the work of Simon Evans. The images were drawn on coloured paper with black ink, pencil crayon, conte, marker, graphite, charcoal, and China marker. Maureen approached this art through the lens of her ongoing education in community planning, a field that she believes should be collaborative and where projects should be co-created. For this art project, she asked the same questions of four people, including herself and the work was then shaped by the responses. The body-map was labelled according to the person’s own thoughts and reflections through this process. This is the first of Maureen’s co-created, participatory art. She hopes there will be more in the future.
About Nico McGiffin:
Based in “Vancouver” BC on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, Nico McGiffin is a faggot, transsexual butch and interdisciplinary artist researching the ways in which found and fabricated objects work to bridge the gap between butch-queer identities and highly macho cis-masculinity.
Nico McGiffin – Artist Statement:
I am a transsexual butch and interdisciplinary artist investigating the not-so-overt homosocial relationship that exists between x-rated queer transsexuality and ultra-masculine blue-collar identities. Drawing from archival research, I allow my material to speak and exist with carefully informed alteration, often paying homage to the resourceful and hand-made aesthetics of historical queer kink objects. Instead of erasing the pre-existing connotations naturally carried by the readymade objects I collect, I integrate the information they hold into a higher form, splicing socially separate material into detailed, sexually ambiguous sculptures that I like to define as somewhat of a hate-fuck. Combining synthetic materials like latex and silicone with second-hand athletic gear, man-cave collectibles, and construction tools, I conduct a conversation between disparate cultures, casting a lustful haze over the so-called lines that separate hyper-masculinity and hyper-queerness. Bridging the gap between explicitly queer identities and stereotypical cis-masculinity, I create hot and heavy avenues from which my sculptures enter a strangely romantic dichotomy between the macho and intimately obscene.
About Shay Gavina:
Shay Gavina is an interdisciplinary artist frequently working in sculptural and installation works in the realm of fiber, flexible materials, and textile practices. She is drawn to these materials and ways of making for their associations to the body, comfort, home, and care. Using the bodily associations to textiles and textile practices, Shay plays with the dichotomy of presence and absence. In addition, she is invested in the disruption of the art vs craft hierarchy. Employing these methods of making to queer and investigate, she often works with unconventional material choices in order to initiate dialog about both the subject matter of the work as well as about “craft”. Shay currently lives and works in the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations (so called “Vancouver”) where she received her BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University.
Shay Gavina – Artist Statement:
In the current zeitgeist more and more large companies like Home Depot jump to virtue signal through rainbow washing come Pride. Their efforts are to promote an image of inclusivity and support of LGBTQIAS+ rights. Meanwhile, out of the public eye Home Depot has donated close to two million in just one year to politicians who are against queer rights; politicians who voted against the Equity Act in the US which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. As we are seeing a rise in homophobic and transphobic legislation being passed and violence being committed, I am thinking about this juxtaposition of visibility vs violence. The queer community has increasingly been publicly “supported” and given representation by companies and corporations, while privately some of these companies give continued support to those working to rob queer people of their rights. The performative support strips any illusional feeling of comfort and leaves one with unease. Interested in bringing attention to this disparity, I use the queering of hardware store materials through craft and textile practices. At first glance this quilt may look as if it might provide comfort and warmth, though on closer inspection it is an empty promise.
Looking for more 2SLGBTQ+ resources! We created A RESOURCE page to support future learning beyond Queer Bash