Setting the Table Wrap Up and # 3 Road Art Columns (Up Until February 2020 at Aberdeen Station)

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When I arrived as the Branscombe House Artist-in-Residence many people told me about the Anti-SOGI protests that happened here in 2018. So, in conversation with Katie Varney (Community Cultural Development Manager) and Shaun Dacey (Director of the Richmond Art Gallery) the idea for Setting The Table was born, to create a project that makes space for LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit/Indigiqueer artists to talk about their life and work and have a communal creative activity afterword for the audience to gather around. I like the meditative quality of labor intensive practices and connecting people through the common language of making, so weaving of course appealed to me, though I had never done it before.

I learned to weave in January at The Cultural Centre with the patient guidance of Linda Montague and helpful directions of Connie Robson, Dee Silva, Agnes Mertin and advocacy of Leslie Green and Anke Hanemaayer who arranged for a loom to be donated to the project on behalf of Richmond Weavers and Spinners Guild. 

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I wove this runner on a Woolhouse 4 shaft table loom choosing a pattern from Marguerite Porter Davison’s Handweaver’s Pattern Book. I wanted to include the Scandinavian pattern of Goose Eye to reference the location of Branscombe House on the migration path of the lesser snow geese, and chose this design as the centre section would allow for a spectrum of colors that would also be used in the community made place settings.

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Here is the runner just off the loom, it is 18 inches wide and 12 feet long.

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The place settings were made collaboratively by over 200 participants over 14 sessions at Thompson and City Centre Community Centres, The Cultural Centre, The Richmond Art Gallery, Arts Festivals, Highschool GSA meetings and the Branscombe House.

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At each session a participant would chose a color and then chose a board to weave their color adding to where the last person left off. This method of working with color blocks references how the first Pride Flag was made collectively by Gilbert Baker and 30 members in a community centre in San Francisco, CA in 1978.

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The handmade tools used by participants were made with the help of Sam McWilliams and the wood burned inscriptions that appear on the flat shuttles were contributed by each speakers as a way to set an intention into the fabric.

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The speakers in the series addressed different intersectional issues. Kirsten Nelson discussed her weaving and performance work that address the value of labour through a disabilities studies lens.

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Radical Marxist Feminist Patrick Haggerty and his band Lavender Country played music from the first openly gay country album he produced in the 1970’s.

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Chris Vargas screened his video work and spoke to the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical & institutional memory and popular culture.

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Paul Wong award-winning artist and curator known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada discussed his project Pride in Chinatown.

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The film work of Thirza Cuthand addressed Indigeneity, sexuality, mental health, queer identity and love.

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K. Ho presented photography work that focuses on the joy and tenderness of living in intersectional margins, telling stories about love, struggle, recognition, and self discovery.

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Brenna Beznason discussed her love of sewing as a form of healing, self-love, and resistance. Since making her first full dress in 2016, Brenna has converted most of her wardrobe to entirely handmade garments. Each piece is a journal entry, an experiment, and a talisman or amulet, hidden in plain sight and worn into the world.

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Setting the Table was also presented in two workshop settings with the help of Dorothy Jo, Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Richmond. The first was Queer Competency Training with Rana Nu from Qmunity, this experiential workshop helped city staff understand how to make spaces more inclusive for queer, trans and Two-Spirit clients and staff. 

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and the second an Anti-Oppression Workshop with Cicely Blain. Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer, co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, and one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine, 

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The Place Settings were made specifically to fit the picnic table at Branscombe House in preparation for the first Pride Celebration to be held at the Branscombe House in August. At the head of the picnic table is 2016 artist-in-resident Rhonda Weppler’s The Gathering, which the picnic table was built to house. 

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At the Pride celebration, Musqueam researcher and outreach coordinator Terry Point opened the event with an official welcome,  acting mayor Harold Steves gave a speech followed by Drag Queen Story time with Peach Cobblah,

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Dance Party with Dj/Promoter Carolyn Arthur, Weave-in Station (facilitated by Shaun Dacey) and a Bike Decorating Station with Marina Szijarto who then marshaled a Dykes on Bikes on Dykes Parade along West Dyke Trail.

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When I saw the call for the #3 Road Art Columns I thought it would be a great opportunity for participants to visit and say “Hey, I made that Stripe!” The light box panels reminded me of display cases and I wanted to encourage that connection in the way the textiles were photographed.

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The curved shape of the panel box helped give the effect of textile wrapping around the column.

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I wanted to show the completed community-made textiles,

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but also how they were made.

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I worked with photographer Rachel Topham, who captured an amazing amount of detail.

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This project was made possible through the Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture program (BC Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture), The Richmond Art Gallery  (Thank you Shaun Dacey), Public Art Richmond (Thank you Biliana Velcova & Elisa Yon), The Richmond Weavers and Spinners Guild and City of Richmond’s Community Social Development (Thank you Dorothy Jo) and Arts, Culture and Heritage Departments (Thank you Katie Varney).

There were dedicated weavers who came to almost every event and took extra weaving shifts: Ilvs Strauss, Joyce Walsh, Suzy Buckley, Sheilgh Pace, Sam McWilliams, Carrie Gratland and people who helped make the Pride Event extra special: Marina Szijarto, Glen Andersen, Sweet Digz Farm.

Thanks to Vince Gonzaga from Uno Digital, Jas Lally and Melanie Devoy for your help with the #3 Road Arts Columns Launch.

And finally a big thanks to everyone who took part in this project and their show of solidarity and support for LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit/Indigiqueer people living in Richmond.

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Letters to Lost Loved Ones at A Night for All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery, November 01, 2019

At Branscombe House this Culture Days (Sept. 28, 2019 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ) I led a workshop where participants made a plasticine mold of an envelope, which we then poured wax into.

The end result was a series of wax sculptures that looked like letters dedicated to lost loved ones. These letters were installed at A Night for All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery in November, curated by Marina Szijarto and Paula Jardine.

 

Pride Picnic and Social, August 3, noon to 4pm at Branscombe House

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Pack a lunch and hop on your bike to join Branscombe House 2019 Artist-in-Residence, Paige Gratland for an afternoon picnic and social this Pride weekend. At the picnic we will unveil the community-created place settings for the Branscombe House picnic table developed through the Setting the Table series. Also Drag Queen Story Time with Peach Cobblah (1pm), Crumpet! A Queer Tea Dance by DJ/Promotor Carolyn Arthur (2-4pm), Drop-in Weave-In and Bike Decorating for the Dykes-on-Bikes-on-Dykes River Ride Along Parade (departs at 4pm), PLUS free popsicles!

This is a LGTBQ2S friendly-event. Allies welcome!

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia and Richmond Public Art.

 

June 23, 1-4pm, Setting the Table presents Brenna Bezanson at The Branscombe House

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Brenna Bezanson is a feminist, woman, trans person, and auntie to dogs. Her professional life has consisted of inconsistencies, including hairstyling, caregiving, sex work, and management in the corporate and non-profit sectors. This has all somehow led to her current path as a private consultant on community engagement, inclusion, and equity. When not at work Brenna can usually be found in a park with a book befriending city wildlife or watching sci fi and sewing into the wee hours of the night.

As a trans kid in rural Nova Scotia in the tail end of the 90’s, Brenna first began dabbling with sewing on her mother’s retro Singer, as an attempt to transform her poorly fitting Sears Catalogue garments into something “more”. Nearly 2 decades later Brenna rediscovered her love of sewing as a form of healing, self-love, and resistance. Since making her first full dress in 2016, Brenna has converted most of her wardrobe to entirely handmade garments. Each piece is a journal entry, an experiment, and a talisman or amulet, hidden in plain sight and worn into the world.

Setting the Table is a series of talks, performances, screenings and weave-ins that explore how different people share community and support one another. It is a showcase of LGBTQ and Two Spirit artists, activists and leaders who present work on intersectional issues and allyship.

Following Brenna’s talk, the group will be learning how to hemstitch and finish a series of textiles for the Branscombe House Pride Picnic and Social in August.

The event is free and but please register using the form below. Accessible venue, materials supplied, no sewing experience needed.

I would like to acknowledge that these events are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm speaking peoples and that we gather as guests on the territory of the Indigenous peoples of this land.

I also gratefully acknowledge: the financial support of the Province of British Columbia, the partnership of The Richmond Art Gallery, the generosity of time, equipment and expertise provided by The Richmond Weaver & Spinners Guild and support by Dorothy Jo, Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Richmond and Katie Varney, Manager of Community Cultural Development for the City of Richmond.

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June 14, 7-9pm, Setting the Table presents films by Thirza Cuthand at The Branscombe House.

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Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Frameline in San Francisco, Outfest in Los Angeles, and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. Her work has also exhibited at galleries including the Mendel in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She completed her BFA majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015. In 1999 she was an artist in residence at Videopool and Urban Shaman in Winnipeg, where she completed Through The Looking Glass. In 2012 she was an artist in residence at Villa K. Magdalena in Hamburg, Germany, where she completed Boi Oh Boi. In 2015 she was commissioned by ImagineNATIVE to make 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99. She was also commissioned to make Thirza Cuthand Is An Indian Within The Meaning Of The Indian Act by VIMAF and Queer Arts Festival in 2017. In 2018 she was commissioned to make the video Reclamation by Cinema Politica in the Documentary Futurism Next 150 project. In the summer of 2016 she began working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on her experience learning and dealing with her bipolar disorder. It showed at ImagineNATIVE and she is planning to further develop it. She has also written three feature screenplays and has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. In 2017 she won the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. She is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Setting the Table is a series of talks, performances, screenings and weave-ins that explore how different people share community and support one another. It is a showcase of LGBTQ and Two Spirit artists, activists and leaders who present work on intersectional issues and allyship.

Preceding the film screening, Paige Gratland will direct the group in an activity to help weave a portion of the place setting for the Branscombe House Pride Picnic and Social in August.

The event is free and but please register using the form below. Accessible venue, materials supplied, no weaving experience needed.

 

I would like to acknowledge that these events are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm speaking peoples and that we gather as guests on the territory of the Indigenous peoples of this land.

I also gratefully acknowledge: the financial support of the Province of British Columbia, the partnership of The Richmond Art Gallery, the generosity of time, equipment and expertise provided by The Richmond Weaver & Spinners Guild and support by Dorothy Jo, Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Richmond and Katie Varney, Manager of Community Cultural Development for the City of Richmond.

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June 12, 1:30-4:30 pm, Setting the Table presents an Anti-Oppression Workshop with Cicely Belle Blain at The Richmond Cultural Centre Dance Studio.

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Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and BC Business 30 Under 30 2019 and has served as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the United Nations. Cicely Belle runs Cicely Blain Consulting – a social-justice informed diversity and inclusion consulting company with clients across North America, Europe and Asia. Their work is informed by their professional and academic background at the University of British Columbia and their lived experience as a Black, queer artist, a community builder, an intersectional feminist and a Black liberation activist. Cicely Belle’s first book debuts in 2020.

Cicely Belle Blain will be leading a workshop to understand the basics of anti-oppression work. Learn how to be more inclusive and respectful and engage in work that propels you and your staff to being a central part of a more equitable future for all.

Setting the Table is a series of talks, performances, screenings and weave-ins that explore how different people share community and support one another. It is a showcase of LGBTQ and Two Spirit artists, activists and leaders who present work on intersectional issues and allyship.

Following the workshop, Paige Gratland will direct the group in an activity to help weave a portion of the place setting for the Branscombe House Pride Picnic and Social in August.

The event is free and but please register using the form below. Accessible venue, materials supplied, no weaving experience needed.

 

 

I would like to acknowledge that these events are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm speaking peoples and that we gather as guests on the territory of the Indigenous peoples of this land.

I also gratefully acknowledge: the financial support of the Province of British Columbia, the partnership of The Richmond Art Gallery, the generosity of time, equipment and expertise provided by The Richmond Weaver & Spinners Guild and support by Dorothy Jo, Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Richmond and Katie Varney, Manager of Community Cultural Development for the City of Richmond.

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June 2, 2-4pm, Setting the Table presents Chris E. Vargas at Branscombe House

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Chris E. Vargas is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist currently based in Bellingham, WA whose work deploys humor and performance in conjunction with mainstream idioms to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical & institutional memory and popular culture. He earned his MFA in the department of Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. From 2008-2013, he made, in collaboration with Greg Youmans, the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love…with Chris and Greg. Episodes of the series have screened at numerous film festivals and art venues, including MIX NYC, SF Camerawork, and the Tate Modern. With Eric Stanley, Vargas co-directed the movie Homotopia(2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers(2015) which have been screened at Palais de Tokyo, LACE, Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, and the New Museum among other venues. Vargas is also the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, an arts & hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape.

Setting the Table is a series of talks, performances, screenings and weave-ins that explore how different people share community and support one another. It is a showcase of LGBTQ and Two Spirit artists, activists and leaders who present work on intersectional issues and allyship.

Following Chris’s talk, Paige Gratland will direct the group in an activity to help weave a portion of the place setting for the Branscombe House Pride Picnic and Social in August.

The event is free and but please register using the form below. Accessible venue, materials supplied, no weaving experience needed.

I would like to acknowledge that these events are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm speaking peoples and that we gather as guests on the territory of the Indigenous peoples of this land.

I also gratefully acknowledge: the financial support of the Province of British Columbia, the partnership of The Richmond Art Gallery and support from The Richmond Weaver & Spinners Guild, Dorothy Jo, Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Richmond and Katie Varney, Manager of Community Cultural Development for the City of Richmond.

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June 06, 7-9pm, Setting the Table presents Paul Wong at The Richmond Art Gallery.

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Paul Wong is a media-maestro making art for site-specific spaces and screens of all sizes. He is an award winning artist and curator known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada, founding several artist-run groups, and organizing events, festivals, conferences and public interventions since the 1970s. Wong has produced projects throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

He was the winner of the Bell Canada Award in Video Art 1992, the first recipient of the Transforming Art Award from the Asian Heritage Foundation 2002 and the inaugural winner of the Trailblazer Expressions Award in 2003, created by Heritage Canada, National Film Board and CHUM Limited (one of Canada’s leading media companies.) In 2005 he received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art. In 2008 was awarded Best Canadian Film or Video at The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. In 2016, the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Art.

Currently Paul is finalizing the end of his year-long residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden身在唐人街/OCCUPYING CHINATOWN. Inspired by over 700 letters and familial artefacts of Suk-Fong Wong, Paul Wong’s late mother, has created: intimate exhibitions, public art transit ads, artist talks, website, events, workshops, and a neon. See www.occupyingchinatown.com for more information. 身在唐人街/OCCUPYING CHINATOWN is a public art project commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program in partnership with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. He is the Artistic Director and main curator of On Main Gallery (aka On The Cutting Edge Productions Society).

Setting the Table is a series of talks, performances, screenings and weave-ins that explore how different people share community and support one another. It is a showcase of LGBTQ and Two Spirit artists, activists and leaders who present work on intersectional issues and allyship.

Following Paul’s talk, Paige Gratland will direct the group in an activity to help weave a portion of the place setting for the Branscombe House Pride Picnic and Social in August.

The event is free and but please register using the form below. Accessible venue, materials supplied, no weaving experience needed.

 

 

I would like to acknowledge that these events are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm speaking peoples and that we gather as guests on the territory of the Indigenous peoples of this land.

I also gratefully acknowledge: the financial support of the Province of British Columbia, the partnership of The Richmond Art Gallery and support from The Richmond Weaver & Spinners Guild, Dorothy Jo, Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Richmond and Katie Varney, Manager of Community Cultural Development for the City of Richmond.

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