BI ARTS FESTIVAL

celebrating bisexual lives & culture
september 22-24, 2017 - toronto, canada


SEPTEMBER 2nd-30th, 2017
Showcase of Art & Photography
D-Beatstro, 1292 Bloor Street West

Please join us in creating a scent-free environment for this and all Bi Arts Festival events. Check out Peggy Munson on being fragrance-free & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on how to achieve this and why it matters. The front entrance and bathroom are wheelchair accessible.


Adriana Rolston

Adriana RolstonThis series of paintings entitled, “Pussy Lover” is a bisexual woman's ode to the under appreciated beauty, power and value of cunts everywhere. It's a tongue-in-cheek celebration of vulvas, which are so often hidden away, or placed on the chopping block. Through humour, pop culture and religious iconography, this series aims to make vaginas the subject of worship. Audiences are encouraged to gaze at the cunt with reverence fit for a goddess.

As a bisexual woman who is in a long term relationship with a cis man, I also wanted to create something that visually expresses my deep appreciation for the vulva. My desire for women is often invisible, much like the vulva, and “Pussy Lover” gives both a loud voice.

Another source of inspiration for this series was the growing culture of female deity worship among feminist witches, specifically the reclamation of honouring Mary. The vagina is the source of all humankind so it feels natural to place it in a position of idolization. The themes of devotion, love, sacrifice and rebirth also lend themselves well to the pussy.

Most of my artistic experience is in collage and acrylic painting but this is my first time exhibiting my work. For a long time I've had an urge to paint vaginas as abstract concepts with a reverent tone and this felt like the perfect time to explore that. I hope this series makes people question the beauty of the cunt and it's incredible influence as a sacred deity.

Adriane Hunter

Your Mom

As a long time knitter (15+ years), I’ve always enjoyed the rhythmic movement of creating art with my hands. Learning cross-stitch this year has allowed me to put this to use cathartically as a means of journaling.

In these pieces in particular, I’ve used cross-stitch to examine and deconstruct conversations I’ve had with lovers when being broken up with. These three pieces are all phrases that have been spoken to me during or in the aftermath of romantic relationships ending. I’ve picked colours to represent each individual lover and specifically chosen hearts as flourishes with all my pieces as a kitschy nod to love and heartbreak.

Aisha Ali

Aisha AliI have a strong interest in examining our connections to non-human animals as well as the planet as a whole. My particular interests include examining the cultural and societal pressures that allow for abuse of animals and the planet as well as the damaging effects we have on the living things around us and ways to reconcile with them. This can be seen particularly clearly in the piece "Untitled (Sheep's Head)". I tend to work using collage combined with painting and drawing. My works have been exhibited in venues including the John B. Aird Gallery, the Hart House Arbor Room and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.

Alyssa Pisciotto

AlyssiaThis series of prints comes from a multidisciplinary body of work that also includes paintings. The silkscreen prints are recreations of paintings that have been done on metallic taffeta. The most noticeable difference between the two series is material. Through the translation of paintings into prints, I have created a conversation that looks at use of material and its relation to aesthetics. My paintings are created on textile - taffeta in this case - which is unconventional and can be seen as obnoxious, loud and distasteful. By recreating these paintings as screen prints I take the associations that come with the materials away, leaving composition, colour palette, and imagery to be the defining factor of aesthetics.

BirdieW

Birdie Weiss

I've been a poet for as long as I could hold a pencil. My first foray into performance was at Katie Sly's first Bi Cabaret in June of 2014, where I performed a poem. I also performed a few poems at the second Bi Cabaret in January 2015. I am an "emerging artist" without formal training in any of my media.

Over the last few years I've started using fabric art to document and express my struggles and insights, and process trauma. I knit, crochet, and cross-stitch my ideas about social justice and the needs of my communities.

Caitlynn Fairbarns

FemmeGaze

Using historical imagery and black and white photographs, this series looks at femininity and the gaze in retro pornography. As a femme queer, the artist has manipulated the images to change the traditionally male gaze within the genre. She is taking the image out of context and showing the female nude in a different light. Going through vintage public domain archives is a large part of the process of creating the images. The research allows the artist to look at how women have historically been depicted in porn and to learn about the evolution of the medium. Experimenting with her own photographs and archival imagery, the artist creates romanticized and dream like views of Femmes in porn.


 

Craft Action

"Remember My Name" – Collaborative Textile Art

Craft Action"Remember My Name" is the Craft Action Toronto collaborative project to create textile banners to commemorate and celebrate our heroes, by stitching together panels featuring names of individuals or groups who have made not just dyke history, but world history.

For 2016, and especially in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Dyke March, Craft Action selected a theme of We’ve Always Been Here – focusing and highlighting the contributions of LGBTTIQQ2SA* women and trans* people throughout history, specifically putting the spotlight on identities which are often marginalized in larger queer community discussions. From the salons of Paris to the streets of Stonewall, trans women, trans men, two-spirited people, lesbians, bisexual women, and other queer women and non-binary folks have been at the centre of the struggle for equal rights and continue to serve in the front lines of the fight for equality around the world.

As a part of that theme, the four banners of "Remember My Name" were created out of panels decorated with names of individuals who – by their activism and/or their visibility – laid the ground for the creation of the Toronto Dyke March in 1996. In particular, we focused on the names of people who made significant contributions to the struggle for equal rights before the first Toronto Dyke March in 1996, as well as more recent activists from around the world.

Examples of names that are included: ground-breaking activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Brenda Howard and Phyllis Frye, early role models like Vita Sackville-West, Frida Kahlo and Radclyffe Hall, local heroes, like the Brunswick Four, and more recent international heroes from countries where basic rights are still being fought for, such as Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. The individual panels were designed and created by members of the Craft Action Toronto collective, and incorporate a variety of textile art techniques and materials, including embroidery, cross-stitch, applique, silk-screen, and fabric paint. Imagery was chosen to symbolize the honorees, and to honour their lives and accomplishments.

Collectively producing 9 hand-stitched works for the March, the unique collection of banners and parasols represented diversity, trans-inclusion and the many variations of queerness. In 2015, the tradition continued with new pieces, including the “Stolen Sisters” banner, which paid tribute to the missing and murdered indigenous women of Turtle Island and inspired the selection of the honoured group for the 2015 Toronto Dyke March. Craft Action's 2016 projects were a series of four banners ("Remember My Name") and a textile sculpture ("The Ribbon Tree") under the theme “We’ve Always Been Here”.

Craft Action provides space for dykes, lesbians, bi women, trans people, butches, femmes, tomboys, non-binary people, and allies who love craftivism to bring handcrafted and DIY aesthetics to the Dyke March. They believe that gathering "off season" is a political statement that celebrates our community for more than one day a year. In 2016, Craft Action Toronto were: Adriana, Adrianne, Alex, Alison, Brenna, Dana, David, Charlie, Julie, Karen, Kristina, Lynne, Margaret, Nicole, Robyn, Ruth, Tia, Tobie, Val.

Jo Yetter

My practice analyzes the individual’s construction of metaphorical space, being that your mind creates a space in which to interact with others. I examine the ways in which an individual constructs the internal space in their mind shaping interactions with others in the public sphere. My work brings both the private and public spheres together by guiding private thought in public spaces and presenting private spaces Yetterto and in the public. I draw a parallel between emotional openness and the curation of external space, more specifically a dwelling. Additionally, the way in which we orient ourselves in a space is reflective of our feelings or identity.

My work explores the concept of space as a home or as a part of oneself, and the willingness to share that space with others. Also, my practice looks at possession of space and finding comfort in surroundings. Intimate space is used as the imagery, cropping the compositions in macro perspectives to engage the viewer and evoke a sense of closeness. The space depicted in my work initially is not an extension of the person and the subject feels vulnerable because they have not yet claimed the space. There is a disjointed connection between an inhabitable space and the one inhabiting it. Ultimately, the subjects claim the space as their own.

Kelby Cottenie

Kelby

I am an artist currently working in Toronto with a strong interest in comics and cartooning. I have been self-publishing art for several years, and have been featured in feminist-based zine “-ISMS” and travel-themed zine “Road Maps and Life Rafts”. My artistic approach involves tons of very sketchy planning followed by patience, redrawing and re-planning, and being amazed when something turns out. The opportunity to express something that I often have trouble saying in comics is one of the most meaningful things I find myself with the chance to do.

Lindsay Baker

Lindsay Baker is a conceptual visual artist who uses mixed media to explore and analyze the many social constructions that impact our lives. Much of her work has influence from intersectional feminist issues, calls attention to her experiences in the LGBTQIA2+ community, and the focus on women’s sexuality confronts the societal view of what that should be or look like.

Lindsay is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She completed her BFA at Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta, where she majored in fibre with a minor in painting. Her approach in her work stems from a natural curiosity in story telling. Growing up in an area with an abundance of mythology and folklore, Lindsay looks to create pieces that will relate to the viewer, and generate conversation as a way for people to connect through personal experiences.

Lindsay has shown her work at several galleries and exhibitions in Calgary including the Poly & Ester Gallery, Marion Nicoll Gallery, and the Fibre Arts Show.

Ly Berry

My work uses collage to play with the fragmentary nature of dreams and memory, and the ways in which these two human experiences often bleed together.

LBerry

In the spring of 2016 I found myself to be an unemployed recent graduate quickly losing hope in any future for myself. After graduating from an honours Bachelor of Arts program where everything I produced was for someone or something else, I threw myself into making for the sake of it, and frankly as a way to fend off the fear and hopelessness of being an unemployed recent grad. So I began collecting collaging materials. Most were found on the side of the road, at garage sales, and in bookstore clearance bins. The act of collecting these materials and processing them into collages on my own terms over the past year has been incredibly healing.

I don’t have any professional artistic training, so I made these pieces without any intentions for them other than as a method of self-expression. In line with this, I took a stream of consciousness approach to these collages, simply allowing them to come together in whichever arrangement felt “right”. Due to this approach, common themes emerged as a reflection of my consciousness. My hope is for these pieces to communicate themes of memory, dreams, and trauma.

The experience of memory, in particular childhood and traumatic memories, is a recurring theme in this collection. Areas in which dreams and memories overlap and their similarities are explored as well. Both can be fractured yet vivid, and both tend to have qualities of the other. That is, the dreamlike quality of childhood and traumatic memory, and the experience of memory and deja-vu within dreams.

Some recurring imagery includes beds, blankets, and pillows. To me, these signify places of comfort in the home which also act as places of fear, isolation, and vulnerability. These bring up the experience of sleeping and falling asleep alone as a child. Lying in bed wide awake waiting to fall asleep for what seems like hours. In that time feeling like the night would never end, wholly believing there were monsters under the bed, and the mix of fear, vulnerability, and loneliness that evoked.

Rachel Romu

RachelR

Rachel is a disabled model, writer, photographer, and activist living in Toronto. They grew up in the rural city of Thunder Bay, a place that has been a part of shaping who they are. They are interested in queer theory, disabilities studies, animal-assisted therapy, photography, flow-painting, futurism, magic, bodies and movement. Rachel put down their camera for a number of years, when their illness took on a new life that placed them in hospital beds frequently. Their approach stems from radical softness, as vulnerability becomes less of a choice when navigating the world often requires assistance. Reclaiming their body is a big part of their work, as they were disappearing from memories and photographs as their illness progressed. Their body is judged by strangers, their ability is pigeonholed by able-bodied folks who think they know better. Rachel wants to educate about ableism and create disability visibility in every way they can.

Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones is an interdisciplinary artist who specializes in photography and drawing. Her practice is inspired by the fracture of the mind and body relation, particularly the frustrations and anxieties that occur in response to the shortcomings of bodily physicality. Her work is derived from a consistent feeling of somatic and psychological malaise. Her decisions are motivated by the intuitive responses of pain and discomfort, and the burgeoning fear of physical and mental unraveling.

The Body in Malaise is an ongoing series currently consisting of 12 drawings.  The work expresses a fascination with the entangled mass of bodily components essential to one’s survival; the brain, the spine, the organs, etc. The process for the creation of each of the drawings involves developing an extreme sensitivity to changes within one's body, and systematically documenting them through an expressive visual language.

The artist developed the interest in documenting her relationship with her body after years of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia.  Her work was inspired by the repercussions in health her body would face after years of the self-inflicted illness. In response, she developed a keen sense of paranoia; marking down any sudden feeling of malaise as visual proof for the hovering sense of potential deterioration.

Yahn Nemirovsky

YahnN

Yahn Nemirovsky is a queer artist working primarily in textile construction and surface manipulation. They combine practices of fibre work, linear drawing and sketching to create gestural mixed media compositions. In their work, Yahn takes on themes of the labour involved in "making up a body" and how one's body interacts with itself and others in relationships of intimacy and love. Linear drawing and stitching become means of expressing personal feelings in their work. This results in messes which are outlined, highlighted, and traced over in a fluctuating awareness of performance.