Image: Installation View of (Re)Visions, exhibition at the Art Gallery at Evergreen. Photo by Gloria Wong.
Part of our (Re)Visions: Emerging Creators Incubator
Manuel Axel Strain
August 05 – 15, 2021
(Re)Visions is an exhibition featuring artwork by the eight multidisciplinary artists participating in Evergreen Cultural Centre’s (ECC) inaugural Emerging Creators Incubator: Jordon Davis, Deon Feng, Kimberly Ho, Jocelyne Junker, Nick Loewen, Wakana Shimamura, Manuel Axel Strain and Santiago Ureña.
From May to August 2021, the artists received mentorship from ECC staff who shared their knowledge about performing arts programming and exhibition curation. Guest artists and cultural workers also provided mentorship and presentations for the artists, including multidisciplinary artists Simranpreet Anand, Nicole Kelly Westman, and Whess Harman, curator at grunt gallery.
The Incubator artists also had access to the studios and facilities at ECC, in addition to receiving support from staff. Working across creative writing, visual arts and performing arts, the artists in (Re)Visions explore intersectional identity, collaboration and the expansive possibilities of the future.
Considering the personal and communal impact of the past year and a half, the artists reflect on the ongoing reckoning of systemic racism, social injustice and the climate crisis amid a global pandemic. The artworks in this this ten-day exhibition are the outcome of conversations and creative exploration as the artists came together to learn, make and (re)imagine a way forward.
The Emerging Creators Incubator is co-coordinated by Evergreen Cultural Centre’s Youth Engagement and Performing Arts Assistant, Valentina Acevedo Montilla, and Curatorial Assistant, Anna Luth.
Jordon Davis is a queer Indigenous artist based in Vancouver. She is Cree and part of Dene Tha’ First Nation. Davis acknowledges that she lives and works on the stolen lands of the Semiahmoo, sq̓əc̓iy̓aɁɬ təməxʷ (Katzie) and Kwantlen First Nations. Davis attended one year of Design Studies at MacEwan University, Edmonton, where she learned design fundamentals. An opportunity to move to Vancouver came up, and with it, a chance to kick off a freelance career and further her interdisciplinary artistic practice. Her art journey has been an unpredictable and exciting one.
Davis focuses on mixed-media work, combining different disciplines and artistic mediums into individual artworks that communicate her concepts. Creating artwork that claims space for underrepresented and misrepresented folks is her main goal. Davis is developing a unique artistic voice and draws on the intersectionality of her identities for inspiration, while also acknowledging that she cannot speak for everyone with these shared identities.
Image: Jordon Davis, Decolonize Your Mind, 2021, mixed media (open-source photos, digital illustration, cardstock, sharpie). Courtesy of the artist.
Deon Feng is currently taking a gap year from their studies in the Dual Degree program between l’Institut d’études politiques de Paris and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Feng has experimented with many visual art mediums, from digital animation to homemade egg tempera, but still prefers pen on paper. They also enjoy writing, and their work can be found in the Globe Post, Red Pocket Magazine and ongoing Google Doc essays. Whatever it is, Feng’s work is always informed by a mild but earnest interest in life.
When the weather is generous, Feng likes a good walk around the neighbourhood; otherwise, they are probably reading the New Yorker or listening to the French radio station and learning the language through osmosis. Feng currently lives in Coquitlam on traditional kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) territory with their family and a collection of typewriters, but will soon move to Reims, France, typewriterless.
Image: Deon Feng, Pale Red Dot, 2020, digital medium. Courtesy of the artist.
Kimberly Ho 何文蔚 (she/they) is a multi/interdisciplinary artist, performer and collaborator based on the unceded ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples, colonially known as Vancouver. In their creative practice, they seek to explore their Hakka diasporic roots through the physical body and food culture, framing new media as a dimension of queer futurisms and immersive art as a site of liberation. They are involved in collective theatre processes and production, working on and off stages with organizations such as the frank theatre company, Rumble Theatre and Firehall Arts Centre (all Vancouver).
Ho’s work has been featured in galleries and film festivals, including, among others, the Toronto International Film Festival; VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver; Vines Art Festival, Vancouver; Festival of Recorded Movement, Vancouver. Ho is currently developing a participatory documentary, titled To Make Ends Meat, chronicling the legacy and final closure of a Chinese-style sausage factory through the lens of one of its workers.
Image: Kimbery Ho 何文蔚, headshot by Christian Jones, edited by Kimberly Ho.
Jocelyne Junker is a Metis artist born in Saskatchewan. Her practice explores how photography and painting can become entangled in performative gestures that affect the formulation of self-identity. Through photography, she questions representation and engages with constructions of identity in the public sphere by creating a visual language that co-opts media and challenges its original context. She received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, in 2018, and is on the board at Access Gallery, Vancouver. Junker currently resides in Vancouver on the unceded ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.
Image: Jocelyne Junker, self–portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
Nick Loewen is an artist and art historian. Toying with technologies of reproduction and enlargement, Loewen’s current work explores the memories and possible futures of obsolete information technology. This practice examines the troubled histories of education and childhood games—as well as more positive forms of play and pedagogy, which might offer a means of escape from an uncomfortable present. Loewen grew up on the unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations, and studied at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (BFA in Visual Arts; MA in Art History and Theory).
Image: Nick Loewen, “Art Historian” jacket, 2021. Vinyl lettering on nylon windbreaker. Photo courtesy of Simranpreet Anand.
Wakana Shimamura is a multidisciplinary artist with Northern Japanese heritage from Hokkaido who acknowledges living as an uninvited guest in North Vancouver on the unceded and stolen Traditional Territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Shimamura’s artwork revolves around sculptural and three-dimensional work. She is well versed in sculpture techniques like airbrushing, mould making, casting, woodworking, welding and experimental assemblage and installation. Other methods of making include digital media, video collage, sound art, textiles, fabric dyeing and experimental drawing and painting. Her work is influenced by personal narratives, intimate relationships, memories and experiences, as she reflects on identity and cultural heritage, specifically her Japanese background. In her recent work, she has incorporated traditional Japanese craft-making practices from a contemporary perspective while still paying tribute and respect to their origins. Shimamura is currently enrolled in Fine Arts at Langara College, Vancouver, and her studies focus on sculpture, public art and design, but are not limited to these practices.
Image: Wakana Shimamura, Faux Orchard- Peaches, 2021, sculpture (plaster, silicone mould, airbrushed acrylic, paint, vintage Japanese fabric, school glue, wicker basket, hay, doily, Styrofoam). Courtesy of the artist.
Manuel Axel Strain
Manuel Axel Strain is a non-binary 2-Spirit artist of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Simpcw and Inkumupulux ancestry who currently lives on the stolen, sacred and ancestral homelands and waters of the sq̓əc̓iy̓aɁɬ təməxʷ (Katzie) and Kwantlen peoples. Strain uses their art practice to confront and undermine the imposed realities of colonialism, proposing a new space beyond oppressive systems of power. Creating artwork in dialogue, collaboration and reference with their kin and relatives, their lived experience becomes a source of agency that flows through their art practice, as they work with the land and across performance, painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound and installation.
Strain attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, but prioritizes Indigenous epistemologies through the embodied knowledge of their mother, father, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents and ancestors. They have exhibited work in Capture Photography Festival, Vancouver, and have shown work at the Richmond Art Gallery and Surrey Art Gallery, as well as at more distant places across Turtle Island.
Image: Manuel Axel Strain, Smudging the English Dictionary, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.
Santiago Patricio Ureña Cristo was born in Mexico City and is now a permanent Canadian resident living on unceded Coast Salish territories, especially but not exclusively the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in what is colonially known as British Columbia, Canada. Ureña is a poet, musician and designer who writes about water, migration, patterns and change. They have competed in national poetry slams and are studying Creative Writing at Douglas College, New Westminster (or was, at least, until the pandemic). Ureña loves podcasts, video games, role–playing games and speculative fiction.
Image: Santiago Ureña, self-portrait. Courtesy of the artist.