issue 10: on disability

January 2022


Welcome,

Welcome to the new UNTIL magazine! We appreciate your patience as issue 10: on disability came together. A major part of our recalibration had to do with an accessibility audit that was undertaken to ensure our magazine was serving as wide an audience as possible. 

In November of 2020 the Victoria Arts Council embarked on an accessibility campaign that began with the purchase of a wheelchair ramp for our main gallery on Store Street, and continued with the support of the City of Victoria’s Cultural Infrastructure Grant that provided the funds for an automated door button. With thanks to our digital experience consultant, Rob Deutscher, we were encouraged to transition from our previous PDF issues to a stand alone website that will be easier to navigate.

On behalf of UNTIL and the Victoria Arts Council I am thrilled to introduce the artists who responded to our call for art made with/through/and beyond their disabilities. 

This issue contains visual, performance, and literary art that explores themes ranging from interiority to the myriad ways navigating the exterior public world presents challenges and opportunity.

Thank you to the artists who entrusted us with their work.

Please take a moment to look at the Call for Submissions for Issue 11: ESQUIMALT, guest-edited by Laura-Beth Keane from the Esquimalt Community Arts Hub. 

Enjoy,

Kegan McFadden
Managing Editor, UNTIL

Executive Director, Victoria Arts Council


Ashley Fraser

Mixed medium doll created by artist Ashley Fraser. Doll is handmade from scrap materials, it is multicoloured. The doll appears to be in a wheelchair. The doll is in the foreground of a white wall. Close up shot of doll face.
Mixed medium doll created by artist Ashley Fraser. Doll is handmade from scrap materials, it is multicoloured. The doll appears to be in a wheelchair. The doll is in the foreground of a white wall. Side profile shot highlights the wheelchair.
Mixed medium doll created by artist Ashley Fraser. Doll is handmade from scrap materials, it is multicoloured. The doll appears to be in a wheelchair. The doll is in the foreground of a white wall. Close up shot.

Artist Statement

This is Trinity Rose. I created her in 2019. She is made of wire, paper mache, duct tape and anything else I could get my hands on. She came to be from her brother MacKenzie. I made her after I made him because he was a little bit heavier and more rigid. I thought, the next person I make is going to be flexible.

I made Trinity’s hands out of socks because sometimes my hands clench up due to spasticity or fear. When I was making MacKenzie’s hands I was making them out of wires and having difficulty getting them to stay. I thought, when I make my next sculpture I make I am going to make the hands like mine. I gave her thumbs but I didn’t give her fingers. I made all of her clothing by hand. Boy that was a lot of work but it was worth it!

I didn’t know how connected I would become to Trinity. It is actually an inner reflection that I wanted to share with the world. A personal connection that says that people who are different or people who are not like the average person are still people, no matter what they are made of.

Bio

Art for me is a self-expression, a positive release. It keeps my hands busy and allows me tell a story. Art is an adventure and a way to show how people with different abilities have a strong voice. I may be different but I am me. I don’t like to see the world black and white but full of colours and individuals.

I’m a little bit off leash and think a little bit off leash. What I mean is, I don’t try to control my art too much so it’s not too cookie cutter. I want my art to reflect who I am and my creativity.

I do lots of different kinds of art, sculpture, painting, drawing, textiles and mixed media. I like to use markers, paint, clay, computer media, recycled material (upcycling), duct tape and paper, textiles….anything I can get my hands on! I’m not a picky eater when it comes to art

I roll with it when it comes to the subject matter of my art too. When I see something that speaks to me and it grabs me I get into it and dive whole heartedly in. It’s like swimming. I get so involved that I’m swimming in the subject, in my work.

Sometimes I let the materials speak to me. I may start making one thing and then it turns into another like when I was making a pillow and then it turned into a dog.

I’m inspired by what is around me, nature, animals and what I see on TV.

The artists that inspire me are Dale Roberts, Renoir, Monet and whimsical art like Sheila Norgate and Keith Harring.


Aviv Dekel

Framed needlepoint artwork depicting a sunset over hills and a body of water. There are two tall trees in the foreground. The colours are bright and evoke happiness and calm. The artwork is in a blue frame.
Needlepoint artwork showing a person standing in a garden with a smiling sun to one side and a heart floating over their head. All the flowers are in the shapes of hearts. The person is smiling.
Painting of a house with a heart on the roof. There is a smiling sun in the top right corner. The background is black with short pink and blue brushstrokes.
The artist, Aviv Dekel, stands in a gallery in front of her artworks. She is smiling and holding out her hands towards her paintings and needlepoint works. She is wearing a pink unicorn hat.

Artist Statement

I love to make my own designs with bright colours. I want to make pictures that will help people to feel HAPPY! I would like lots and lots of people to see them and be happy! I want to use my Art to help the world to be kind and feel good and to save our HOME the EARTH! We can stop bullying and fighting and work together to have PEACE. Everyone has a heart and it can be good and happy

I can show you what that looks like! 

I feel good about my disabilities… They are a part of me! I do not worry about them. I do my art every day to keep my hand and arm strong. I used to do lots more before covid19, like acting with Delusional Theatre Group, working and volunteering. Before my ankle got worse I did dancing with Karen Clark, horseback riding at VTRA and Special Olympics rhythmic gymnastics. Now almost everything relates to my art to connect to the world and express myself! 

Bio

Aviv is 24, has Down Syndrome and Diabetes type 1 with an insulin pump. Her right arm/hand is small and under developed. The bones and cartilage are deteriorating in the joints on her right side, cause unknown. Her right wrist was fused in Feb/20… it no longer bends but gained some strength back. 

Aviv’s gentle, shy and incredibly focused on her Art, which she has been creating for 15 years. Her theme of Hearts and Flowers repeats in her Folk Art style ‘OUTSIDER ART’. Aviv works several hours daily on her needle point, acrylics, multimedia and weaving. She has sold over 600 originals and thousands of art cards. She sells her original artworks, plus photos of these on her ‘Happy Cards’ and magnets, at her website: avivshappycrafts.vistaprintdigital.com 

Her original work has been sent worldwide. The City of Victoria displayed 3 images of her work on their giant Bus Shelter Posters on Yates St for 2019. Warner Bros purchased 28 pieces for a Netflix series Maid coming out this winter. Aviv has had 3 local Solo Shows and exhibited in many local Gallery shows, with upcoming Solo Shows at the Spiral Cafe in Oct/2021 and Xchanges Gallery in June/2022. 

Aviv’s world has been reduced to our farm in Brentwood Bay since covid, but she does Yoga/Theatre/Singing and Speech Therapy on Zoom. She used to work at St Vincent de Paul, Sassy’s and Adrianna’s Restuarants. 

Aviv’s goal is to be recognized as a serious Artist and to spread Peace and Happiness. She sincerely wants to have a positive affect on the world! 


Richard James Hall

Experimental Wednesdays (09/06/2021), digital video (length: 25 min. 37 sec.), 2021.

Artist Statement

Due to the pandemic, Hall had been forced to stay within their home with their family and had to re-think how they were to continue making work within a space that had seemed to not be viable for making work due to it being a shared-space with their family. This itself, along with events out in the wider world, had induced a level of depression and anxiety in Hall, as the family home had seemed at times comforting yet claustrophobic, and the world outside being presented as open but dangerous.

At first, they had initially used this time for further exploration in the disciplines of drawing, textiles and photography as a means of dealing with the pressures that the pandemic had brought with it, but eventually Hall had felt a lack in their practice by not being able to express themselves via performance art making, as well as feeling somewhat isolated at times.

However, after some time of witnessing several live broadcasts of various performances on Zoom, Instagram and Youtube, Hall began to consider performing live to a potential online audience and then afterwards leave up the videos for people to watch at their own pace, so as to be inclusive of those whom which the time of the live broadcast was not feasible due to either work and/or poor mental states. 

So in September 2020, Hall began to make and broadcast a number of experimental live performance-to-camera works through the Instagram live-feed from their mobile phone, working within the parameters of using objects they had at hand and using the interior space of their family home as a base for their work.

For a time, this had helped relieve the pressure and guilt of not being able to make performance art work for a wider audience, especially when they had felt isolated from friends and loved ones in the wider world. Throughout the time of the pandemic, Hall would make a number of “Experimental Wednesdays” performance-to-camera videos every Wednesday evening (GMT) on their Instagram account (@dickjameshall), starting from September 2020 to January 2021 and beginning again from June 2021.

In the video that Hall has selected, the video highlights how they have worked with the limitations of their home as a site for making through the development of a series of gestures and actions from the site itself, as well as working with the limitations of the mobile phone camera in relation to its placement in the site by Hall and what it could broadcast/record in terms of sound and vision video recording.

Bio

Richard James Hall (Tyne and Wear, UK 1986) is a performance artist, who also works with a variety of different disciplines, such as drawing, textiles and photography. As a child, Hall had been educated within a special educational needs school and had later been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at age 16. Eventually Hall would go on to graduate from Northumbria University with a BA in Fine Art (2012) and a MA in Fine Art (2013), having made work for public realm interventions, gallery events and performance festivals as both a solo artist and artist collaborator.

Being on the autistic spectrum, Hall’s performance practice of improvisation has developed from a place of personal contemplation, questioning their role as Autos (Greek ‘Self’) and how they affect, and are affected, by the world around them. As part of their personal exploration, they develop a number of gestures which can range from making bird whistling sounds, picking up coins with their feet, and caressing walls so as to both feel the surface and make a particular sound.

For Hall, their performance art making is a communicative means of sharing how they perceive the world around as a neurodivergent individual.

Visit Richard’s website here:

https://richardjameshall.weebly.com


Faye Harnest

First image in series of three. Digital illustration of faded hands on the edges of the image, reaching towards the centre. The hands are layered, with various levels of transparency. At the bottom left in white text, it says "I need to let it go."
Second image in series of three. Digital illustration of hands in centre of blue background. Hands are more in focus, with some transparent hands behind. White text in top right corner reads " She said, 'You're grasping as something that isn't there."
Third image in a series of three. Multiple hands around the edges of the image, all in focus now, with fingers outstretched towards centre. White text reads, "It's not working" and "Trying, trying to return to who I was"
Hands (triptych)
Digital illustration
2018–2021

Artist Statement

Before my brain injury I was a writer and that was my identity. Now I cannot be the person that I was before my accident, and the practice of being able to let go of her; of even wanting to let go of her; is a very long one.

I started drawing because I needed a new way of making things. At first, I wanted to shove everything in everyone’s faces; to make people see what I was going through, and show them all the things I had been too scared to tell them. I was also drawing to understand myself, of course, and have a conversation with myself about it all.

Now I think a lot about wanting to make the art I wish I could have seen years ago and could have benefitted from seeing then. I also want to make the art that I want to see right now— things that are political and funny and pretty. I want to make things that surprise me and are fun to make.

Bio

Faye Harnest is an artist living in Toronto. Since her brain injury five years ago, disability and mental health have become the subject of her work. Faye has acted as a session panelist for the Ontario Brain Injury Association to help educate rehabilitation workers, and has co-facilitated a group project with other disabled artists for the upcoming CripRitual exhibit at Tangled Art + Disability gallery. She is currently illustrating a graphic memoir, work from which was part of Life on the Line, a mental health awareness campaign seen on Toronto subway cars and featured in Colossal, Hypebeast, and others.

Visit Faye’s website here:

www.fayeharnest.com


Kate Collie & Stephanie Vandamme

First image in set of four. Ink and collage on white paper, 11 inches by 30 inches. Titled "What we Said to Each Other #3". Botanical illustrations float around the page along with multi-coloured abstract forms.
Second image in set of four. Ink and collage on white paper, 11 inches by 30 inches. Titled "What we Said to Each Other #9". Botanical illustrations float around the page along with multi-coloured abstract forms.
Third image in set of four. Ink and collage on white paper, 11 inches by 30 inches. Titled "What we Said to Each Other #11". Botanical illustrations float around the page along with multi-coloured abstract forms.
Fourth image in set of four. Ink and collage on white paper, 11 inches by 30 inches. Titled "What we Said to Each Other #12". Botanical illustrations float around the page along with multi-coloured abstract forms.

Artist Statement

What We Said To Each Other

Throughout the thirty plus years I’ve had MS, I have relied on art making to get me around obstacles. Each time I was stopped in my tracks by disability, I found a new way of making art and, through my art, a new way of seeing the world and carrying on. Each time this happened I was taken into new artistic territory that I didn’t know was available to me, and into new ways of being. This is the context and pattern of my life. When I couldn’t see out of one eye for six months, my painting became more intuitive and so did I. When I began using a wheelchair, a friend helped me develop new painting techniques – that we both still use. When my hand was too weak to hold a brush, I used markers that I could grip in my fist and be bolder. New abilities opened up each time.

Lately I’ve been making collages from strips of paper. I enjoy taking all kinds of paper – elegant, ordinary, discarded – and cutting them into strips to make intriguing compositions with unusual juxtapositions. Every kind of paper is welcome and respected. Each piece of paper has something to offer. It is easy to feel ‘less than’ as a person with a disability, but we can be ‘more than’ with other people around us. My life is a collage of supportive people and an array of things I have found or created and put together to make a complete whole.

We can team up to bring out our strengths. I teamed up with a studio assistant named Stephanie Vandamme who has a hearing disability and specializes in collage herself, as well as being skilled at drawing. When COVID-19 arrived in early 2020 and we couldn’t work in the same room together, we started a project that combined our strengths and interests. It is a collaborative visual conversation on long sheets of paper that allowed us to respect pandemic restrictions by taking turns being in my studio.

Stephanie prepared 11”x30” sheets of paper with gesso and initiated each with a pen-and-ink plant drawing at the leftmost end of the paper. Then it was my turn, first to gently ponder each drawing and then come up with a collage response, which I put to the right of Stephanie’s drawing, as if adding a letter to a word or a word to a sentence. Then it was Stephanie’s turn to respond with drawing, again to the right, and so on until we reached the end of each paper. The series is called What We Said To Each Other.

We didn’t know in advance how this would go, except that I would respond with collage and Stephanie with drawing. We agreed not to discuss or evaluate as we went along, and this agreement formed a foundation for the project. We had to accept unconditionally what the other did, no matter how surprising, strange or incongruous it seemed, then respond from the heart.

Bios

Kate Collie is a visual artist with a passion for disability arts and mixed-ability collaboration, a passion that was ignited by the first KickstART festival in Vancouver in 2001. She is also a counselling psychologist and art therapist with degrees and training that she completed after being diagnosed with MS about 30 years ago. She uses a wheelchair. She did some of her training in Canada and some in the US. She moved to Victoria in 2017 from Edmonton where she directed the Arts in Medicine program at the Cross Cancer Institute. She is active with KickstART Disability Arts and Culture as a board member.

Kate’s studio assistant is Stephanie Vandamme, an up-and-coming artist with a hearing disability who specializes in illustration with paper collage and has a flair for detailed pen and ink drawing. Stephanie has training in fine art and occupational therapy and is originally from Belgium.


Maurina Joaquin

First in a set of five. Three silhouettes of faces are arranged in the center. The faces are composed of a pattern of red, yellow and green flowers. The background is a marbled deign in cool grey/blue tones.
Natural Transformations (May 26, 1)
Collage
2021
Art by Maurina Joaquin. Abstract painting with swirls appearing to form two faces with dark patterns on them.
Natural Transformations (May 26, 2)
Collage
2021
Art by Maurina Joaquin. Beige abstract painting with swirls appearing to form two faces facing apart from each other.
Natural Transformations (2)
Collage
2021
Multicoloured abstract painting with swirls appearing to form a face.
Natural Transformations (4)
Collage
2021
Art by Maurina Joaquin. Multicoloured abstract painting with swirls appearing to form a face.
Natural Transformations (1)
Collage
2021

Artist Statement

Disability is usually accompanied by a complex series of shocks. A shock to the individual and to everyone around them. Days, weeks, then months of rehabilitation often times turn to years. I was in denial for two years until I can no longer function. My initial concern after my traumatic head injury was a question of survival. I looked for numerous ways on how to redefine my new self. I was riding an emotional roller coaster, not understanding why and what happened to me, questions of how to face my family and friends with my new reality.

With the help of a counsellor, I started sketching my dreams and adding colour in my emotions to express what trauma feels like. Art became my life line to slowly adapt and find my new normal. I started to accept the meaning of my lived experiences. My fear of disability has taught me to have courage, to lean on my support system when I need to, but most of all, to light a way for others. Natural Transformations are a series of collage, a combination of my previous work with the Reflection and Flow series.

Bio

Maurina is born in Quezon City, Philippines and grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She learned hand lettering, paper and fabric collage, and sewing at the age of 7. After dabbling in music and technical school, she studied business administration and project management. She has also served on the boards of volunteer organizations, including aiding immigrants in settling in Canada.

She discovered her love for the arts once again in 2013 while recovering from two separate life-threatening events, a near drowning incident in 2010 and cancer diagnosis in 2016. Her day to day work focuses on creative healing which reflects her love of crafting, art on paper and words. She now resides in a growing community on the South part of Vancouver Island, with her loving and supportive family and a Boston Terrier that keeps her busy and connected to the world of dogs.

Visit Maurina on her website or instagram:

www.artofadapting.com

@MCJoaquinArts


Max Haffner

An open binder with lined paper. Each page is fully covered in handwriting in blue pen.

Spirit Students by Max Haffner

Morning came as Kimiko was getting dressed for school. She picked out a dress. As Kimiko walked down the stairs, Koku’s mother greeted her ‘Good morning, Kimiko. How is the project going?’ “Fine” Kimiko replied. “Hurry up and eat up” says Koku’s mother.

After eating breakfast, Kimiko walked to school. It was a sunny day, Kimiko picked flowers and saw birds flying in the sky. Cherry blossom petals danced off the trees. Cereza was at the school door. “You look very pretty” she wrote in Kimiko’s book, then showed it to her. As Kimiko entered the room, all the girl’s handed cards to her. “It is time to present your projects, who would like to go first?” said the teacher. “Make the deaf girl go first,” snickered one of the boys. But the teacher was not amused. “Kimiko, would you like to go first?” asked the teacher. But Kimiko just stood there. “Let me ask her,” said Cereza. As Cereza walked towards her she signed to Kimiko “I will help you.” “No fair, she’s getting help” said one of the other boys. Kimiko was beginning to get angry. But Cereza calmed her. Kimiko started, she grabbed the book that Cereza gave her. As the pages fluttered and turned, the students saw battles, they also saw Cereza as a child. As the pages continued turning, there was Cereza’s little girl and her husband. On the next page, told of a phoenix lady who fell for a dark suited man. They fell in love with each other and got married. They had a baby girl. Many years had passed, the husband’s wife grew ill, and died. But the baby girl was told within her body she had the power of the phoenix. After she was buried, her husband found a bottle that was too hot to touch. When her husband gave it to his daughter, his wife appeared in spirit. “I will always be in her” she spoke.

Artist Statement

I started writing when I was in high school then grew through my life in my writing. I pretend to go through the story as that character. I imagine living the life that the character lives, reflecting upon my own experiences. I’ve experienced sadness, blame, anger among other struggles, and I bring all this to life through my characters. Most of the characters in my story have disabilities, or as I prefer to say, diverse-abilities. I am showing the reader that although people have something they don’t want, they can thrive with it.

“Spirit Students” is chapter 67 from a novel that I am writing called “The Silent Samurai Showdown.” If you are writing your story don’t let people change your story because it is yours. It’s your own life and your own journey.

Bio

Max, 26, grew up in the Vancouver regions and later Saltspring Island. He moved to Victoria a few years ago where he has been focusing on creative writing practice. Max has participated in two Special Olympics; in bocci and bowling. Max was born with Spastic Dyplegia, a muscular and motor diversability, and Strabismus, a vision limiting diversability.

Max has approached his life with positivity, perseverance, courage and creativity. He is a very talented writer who is currently working on finishing a novel with 130 pages (and counting).


Monique Desjardins

Watercolour art by Monique Desjardins. Depicted is a multicoloured pigeon up close.
Pigeon (inspired by a photo by Christy Grinton), 2021
Watercolour art by Monique Desjardins. Depicted is a multicoloured abstract mandala pattern.
Dahlia (inspired by a photo by Gary Woodburn), 2021
Watercolour art by Monique Desjardins. Depicted is a multicoloured peacock up close.
Peacock (inspired by a photo by Cecile Brisebois Guillemot), 2021

Artist Statement

Among the many elements of art, it is, in particular my love for shapes and colours that I wish to share. Creating free-form lines, shapes and colour combinations; I find my path as I paint.  My intentions – forgiveness, peace, acceptance, surrender, be – breathe.  I invite you to witness the expression of my creativity and interiorized experiences.

Bio

I create two-dimensional watercolour paintings often inspired by photographs, on a variety of papers.  My art can be organic, abstract or fantastical.  I like to draw the image first; then I do the contours with a small felt pen and add the colour combinations.  When all is done, I like to affix my work to a wood panel and apply several coats of wax.  Sometimes I transform my water colours into encaustic.

I have taken many classes offered in the community and on Zoom. I used to do acrylic paintings, but I had to move because of my disability and this medium requires a lot more space than is available to me at this time.  It is also more expensive, and because of my disability, I do not work.


Philiz

 Painting by Philiz. Depicted are four birds sitting on a post in front of brick buildings on a street on a clear sky day.
Painting by Philiz. Depicted are two birds flying under a bridge in the city night sky. The water reflects the city buildings above.
Flying Out of Darkness
Painting by Philiz. Depicted is a sign reading “Toronto” in front of buildings, likely in downtown Toronto. It is night time and two birds sit in front of the sign.
Night at the Six
Painting by Philiz. Depicted is a train going through a city during the rain. The water reflects off the ground.
A Streetcar Named 504
Painting by Philiz. Depicted is a city landscape collage showing a pigeon, a cathedral and a museum.
A Night at the ROM

Artist Statement

Welcome to scenes of Toronto in the year 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging, when lockdowns are in effect, and streets are desolate. The emptiness of the images is to show the effects of the lockdowns.

The first scene is titled Red Brick District and is of the Distillery District in downtown Toronto. On the right side of the canvas there are tall red bricked buildings, and on the left, shorter red ones. Down the left center of the canvas is the red cobbled street, while on the right center is the stark empty cement sidewalk which is normally bustling with people. This scene has birds in it to illustrate how nature is returning during the pandemic. Closer to the viewer at the center is a black and metal chair with four brown birds resting and enjoying the beautiful weather and blue sky. The birds also illustrate the freedom that we still have; personal freedom, democracy, free healthcare, because there are places around the world that do not have the freedom we do, and we should be grateful. 

The second scene is titled Flying Out of Darkness and is part of Harbourfront in downtown Toronto at night. In the background there are condominiums with various lights on. Across the center of the canvas is The Harbourfront Wave walkway illustrating the emotions that some people are experiencing during the pandemic. Emotions of anxiety, fear, uncertainty, depression, darkness, and isolation. The emptiness of the images are to show the effects of the lockdowns. This scene has birds in it to illustrate how nature is returning during the pandemic. At the lower center of the canvas, two birds are flying above the Lake Ontario water, illustrating the freedoms that we have in our first world society. The light from the road lamps illustrates hope; hope for a cure for COVID-19, hope to end the lockdowns, hope that things will return to some type of normalcy, and hope that we can one day see our family and friends to give them a hug soon.

The third painting is titled Night at the Six and is at night during the winter in front of Nathan Philip’s Square in downtown Toronto. The curved twin buildings surrounding the saucer shaped council chamber is City Hall, which in this painting has all its lights on. There are various hotel and business buildings on the right side of City Hall with some of their lights on as well. The Toronto and Maple Leaf signage is lit up in white and red respectively. There is some reflection of the night’s light on the cold wet concrete plaza ground. The skating rink that would normally be busy in the evening is now empty as we stay in our homes to keep each other safe. And there are two birds showing how nature is returning during the lockdowns.

The title of this piece is called A Streetcar Named 504 and is a word play from the stage play titled “A Streetcar Named Desire.” This scene is of the back of the 504 streetcar at night on one of its routes in downtown Toronto just after it rained. The emptiness of the streetcar is to show the effects of the lockdowns, especially the 504 streetcar in the evening when it is usually filled with people. And if you look closely, you will see two pigeons on either side of the streetcar.

The title of this painting is called A Night at the ROM and is a word play on the movie “Night at the Museum.” This is a night scene in front of the Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) extension named the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal which is reminiscent of five crystals designed as interlocking self-supported structures. The emptiness and the passing of cars in front of the ROM compared to the Friday Night Live events where people gathered to dance and party in the museum is now quieter as we are asked to stay in our homes. The flying bird represents the hope and the remainder of the freedoms that we still have and should be grateful for.

Bio

Philiz Goh is a certified oncology registered nurse who cares for breast cancer patients. She recently attained her Masters of Health Systems Leadership and Administration from the University of Toronto with honours. She is a patient advocate for integrated care and accessible spaces. She is currently on the organizing committee of the first North American Conference on Integrated Care by the International Foundation for Integrated Care in Toronto on October 4-7, 2021. Philiz is presently completing a self-help Acquired Brain Injury book while volunteering in her community to assist the homeless. In her spare time, she enjoys painting with acrylic on canvas.

Website: www.msha.ke/philizg


Rose Poon

Mixed media art by Rose Poon. Depicted is a person throwing a frisbee in a park with many dogs running around and a couple trees.
The dogs are happy and smiling and the central person is wearing a pink hat, shirt and pants.
The Friendly Dog and the
Squirrel,
mixed media, 2021
Mixed media art by Rose Poon. Depicted is a dog and an elephant dancing together. Under them is a shoe sprouting flora that surrounds the dancing animals.
Dancing with Cinderella, mixed media, 2021
Mixed media art by Rose Poon. A dog is playing guitar with a happy looking duck. Two birds follow with flowers in their mouths. There are colourful trees and a valley.
Joy in Paradise, mixed media, 2021
Mixed media art by Rose Poon. A hungry looking puppy is in the centre of the painting wearing a yellow apron and chef hat. There are kitchen utensils and breakfast foods floating around it. The text reads “Ooh la la.. Bounjour.”
The Unexpected Flying
Objects
, mixed media, 2021

DANCING CURED MY DISABILITY
A personal story
written by Rose Poon


“Rose has found connection, and many lessons for life, through her dancing.”


I was inspired to learn ballroom dancing when my parents were dancing and practising it at home. My parents have been dancing for many years. I find ballroom dancing is a beautiful art form of dance. So, I decided to sign up for the lessons since I could not turn down a good deal for two on a discounted website. I invited my dad to be my dancing partner to take a beginner’s level class at a ballroom dancing studio. My dancing instructor taught us Cha Cha, Rumba, Salsa, Waltz, and Jive to name a few. I am glad to have someone like my dad who can help me whenever I needed his help. I learned that whenever I dance, I need to listen carefully to the beat of the music to coordinate it with my footwork and follow the dancing partner’s lead. Our instructor had put together a few of his tutorial videos which are available to watch online for reference. I think ballroom dancing is an excellent hobby to keep because it helps with my mental wellness and increases socialization. After my lessons finished, I have had joined several social events where dancing is allowed. I even had travelled with my family on cruises where I did ballroom dancing in the evening. For an evening event, I had worn a fancy outfit, wearing my pair of dancing shoes that my dad bought, and putting on some light makeup. I had
a fun time. The people complimented me on my dancing. I enjoy entertaining myself and
others because I feel happy and less alone. I found this quote that says, “Kindness is free to give, but priceless to receive! Dance with me.”

Artist Statement

Rose Poon has endured mental health disability for over 20+ years. Living with a disability has been an uneasy process of personal change and development. Rose’s parents worked hard to provide care for Rose, and she now can live comfortably and peacefully. Rose has been working diligently to overcome her challenges. She strives to improve herself by dealing with it and hanging onto it tightly. Not for a moment, Rose would back down because life gets tough. When Rose experiences a tough day, she finds walking helps her de-stress her brain and keep her body fit. Rose took up ballroom dancing and line dance to have a healthy and fulfilling life. Her favourite saying is, “You can’t shake mental illness off, but I can shake it down. Let’s dance.” Rose incorporates humour in her art practice.

Rose manages her illness by working odd jobs and drawing cartoons for money as well. Rose draws and paints with evident enjoyment. Rose feels much happier, positive, and calmer as she describes her art-making as the journey of mental health recovery. Rose’s artworks reflected that maybe there was hope for Rose’s recovery after all. Her disability is never a limitation in her art, but it provides a transformation into an even greater ability. The ability was developing self-confidence and transformed
her shyness into bravely speaking up and adapting as an artist living with a disability. Rose is living well with her disability because Rose took heart from the encouragement given by her family and her health care professionals. Rose has continued to pursue her chosen artistic field. The reason is that art helps heal Rose’s condition and gives a focus imagining for a vibrant future.

Bio

Rose Poon is a Vancouver-based, Chinese-Canadian illustrator and cartoonist experiencing a mental health disability and originally immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong with her parents and sibling. Her absolute love of Scooby-Doo, Garfield, Snoopy, and Japanese animation inspired her to be an artist. Rose is primarily a self-taught artist, particularly interested in drawing and painting cartoons. Rose further went to college and trained as a digital artist. Rose has participated in several disability arts shows in Vancouver. Her comic strips had been published quarterly in Networker for a 5-year straight at West Coast Mental Health Network Society.

Rose also likes to write. Writing helps heal her mental illness. Her essays had printed in journal books through mental health organizations. One time, out of surprise to her peers, Rose took up a stand-up comedy class. The experience was helpful, especially to overcome her fear of public speaking. Furthermore, Rose has had opportunities by speaking up before live audiences and online platforms about her art and disability for disability/non- disability arts groups. From participation, she has experienced inclusion and lived up her dream of being an artist to a reality.

Rose’s works are whimsical, uplifting, and comic-inspired graphic images of animals, nature, and children. Rose loves drawing and painting animals, nature, and children because her relationship with them has always been relatively amicable amid facing a societal barrier in real life. Rose uses mixed mediums such as watercolour paints and pencils, gouache paints, pencil crayons, markers, ink, and digital paint.


Troy Lindstrom

Art by Troy Lindstrom. Depicted is the Frankenstein Monster with text in the background reading “I am a person with a disability. #NotAMonster”
#NotAMonster, Digital Illustration, 2020
Art by Troy Lindstrom. Depicted is a deep-sea humanoid monster. Text reads “I am a person with a disability. #NotAFreakOfNature”
#NotAFreakOfNature, Digital Illustration, 2021
Art by Troy Lindstrom. Depicted is Dracula wearing a Canadian pin. Text reads “I am a person with a disability. #NotADrainOnSociety”
#NotADrainOnSociety, Digital Illustration, 2021

Artist Statement

With this series of illustrations, I want people to examine their bias towards people with disabilities.

Bio

Troy Lindstrom was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in his early 20’s. He went through many years of depression and when Troy finally decided to make a life for himself, he found the roadblocks that many people with a disability face. In the last few years Troy’s art has been his purpose. Troy has always used art as a coping tool, but now he creates through the disability lens his life has given him. Using his art and experience to make people with disabilities visible and confronting the stigmas and bigotry they face. Seeing what is happening to PwD during the pandemic has shown Troy that the progress they had made through accessibility and inclusion was an illusion. In the future, Troy wants to confront those who think we are worth less and celebrate our allies with his illustrations.


Around Town

Black text on white background reading, International Women's Day 2022: Break the Bias! Save the Date! Screening @ Blue Bridge Theatre, 2657 Quadra St, Doors @ 6:30pm, by donation. Illustration of women of different cultural backgrounds holding hands. A yellow circle is in the middle with black text saying, Save the Date.

Strength Within

Three gentlemen play musical instruments together.

The Victoria Arts Council and James Bay New Horizons are excited to announce the launch of: STRENGTH WITHIN

A Covid Arts Recovery Program for Seniors, people with disabilities and people with low income.

This subsidized, affordable, interactive, healing arts program will be expanded in order to address community needs as we begin recovering from the Covid pandemic. We’ll begin with song circles, music, theatre, dance, visual arts and will expand from there.

We’re developing the program with 9 community organizations to fit the needs of the participants. Embedded in the program will be components that provide trauma support.

Participants will have opportunities for learning, rekindling a sense of belonging, self-expression, enjoyment, socialization and improved physical and mental health.

If you, someone you know or your organization would like to take part, contact:

pat.smith@shaw.ca

www.strengthwithin.ca

Funded by a grant from the Victoria Foundation

Participants must be Covid Double Vaccinated

Technological equipment on a white plinth. There is a pattern across the middle that references connected cables. The text says Systems of Creation, Connor MacKinnon, Colton Hash. February 25-March 18. Opening reception 7-10pm, February 24. The fifty fifty arts collective. On Lekwungen territories. 2515 Douglas Street. CRD logo.
Blue text on green background says, Coming up at arc-hive, Feb 12-27th Clare Lannan, March 5-20th Andrea Simmonds, April 2-17th Rachel Vanderzwet, April 30-May 15th Sarah Graeme, Gallery hours: Weekends 12-4. Below the text is a painting of clouds and flowers with lots of read, blue and green. Below the image it says, Andrea Simmonds, Rain or Shine. https://arc-hivearc.org/ @arc.hive.arc
Black text on purple background says, SUPPLY VICTORIA Creative Reuse Centre Pop-Up Launch Party. Free Art Supplies, Feb 3, Free drinks and snacks, 2-4pm, Vancouver Street Plaza, (On Vancouver St near Caledonia Ave) @wearenorthpark @supplyvictoria The Vancouver Street Plaza is funded by the Community Foundations of Canada.
A film strip flows across the page with black ink splatters around black text, on a white background. The text says, Harbour City Photography Club invites you to participate in Photo Salon 2022, a juried exhibition at Vancouver Island University, View Gallery in Nanaimo June 17-26. Digital Images will be accepted until April 16. For full details visit hcpclub.ca. Open to all Photographers on Vancouver Island and surrounding islands.
Image of five brochures made by PRINT gallery. Black text on deep yellow background says, PRINT is a non-profit arts society that promotes printmaking and print artists on BC's west coast. The PRINTgallery is a printed distributed "venue" for regional artists to show their work, give an artist talk and share their inspirations and creative processes with a wide audience; a gallery without the physical building. To support this project you can purchase a copy of the gallery, become a member, take a workshop, rent press time or join the PRINT exchange. Find out more on the PRINT website or come for a studio visit in Rock BAy Square, #210. www.victoriaprintsociety.weebly.com. Below the text is an ink brayer with coloured inks and a CRD logo.
Side of a building made of weathered wood that is a deep red colour. There is a tiny view of the green forest behind the building. Overlaid white text says, Lost Foundry/Fukushima Rising, Borsos Donaldson Olsen, Feb 4 - Mar 6, Fri-Sun noon to 5pm, 655 Tyee Ground Floor.
Flyer for Crystal Phan's exhibition at Chapel Arts. Painting of people playing a  pool. White text on a blue background says, Chrystal Phan, Once for a while, 21 January-06February 2022, Opening Friday January 21 @ 5-7pm, Artist talk 5:30pm. The Chapel Gallery @ St Matthia, 600 Richmond Ave, Victoria, BC, Fridays & Saturdays 12-4pm, Sundays 12-3pm, vaccine passports required, Canada Council for the Arts logo.
Abstract image of hair in water. Over the image, in white text, it says, The Autobiographical Animal, Bea de Visser, Valentina Gal, Frederic Moffet, Dianne Ouellette, Online Media Exhibition, Februry 4 to March 12, 2022. Canada Council for the Arts logo, CRD logo, Deluge Contemporary Art logo, 636 Yates St, Victoria BC, deluge.ca
Sunrise over the ocean. CreativeMorning/Victoria logo in top center. Below it, it says, CreativeMornings Victoria promotes and fosters the creative community by hosting monthly gatherings for people to inform, connect and learn from their creative peers.
Black background with a sculpture in the middle. Sculpture represents figures in a pile, made of white and blue textiles. White text reads, Crossroads, Grand National Touring Quilt Show, 16 March - 22 May 2022. VAC Main Gallery, 1800 Store St, Victoria BC, Wed-Sun 12-4pm, Image credit: Kemo Schedlosky, Woulda, Shoulda, Won't.

Thanks for reading this issue!

Until next time…

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