Xandra Ibarra

Public Notices of Application for Ownership Change

Xandra Ibarra, Public Notice of Application for Jotx Pleasure (2017, 2018). Screen Printed Leather and steel studs, 3.5′ x 5′ x .016″

Xandra Ibarra, Public Notice, 2019 – Yellow Leather on Canvas

Xandra Ibarra, Public Notice, 2019 – Yellow Leather on Canvas

Xandra Ibarra, Public Notice, 2019 – Yellow Leather on Canvas

Xandra Ibarra and Robbie Sweeny, Documentation of The Hook Up/Displacement/BarHopping/Drama Tour, 2017.


Xandra Ibarra and Robbie Sweeny, Documentation of The Hook Up/Displacement/BarHopping/Drama Tour, 2017.
Xandra Ibarra and Robbie Sweeny, Documentation of The Hook Up/Displacement/BarHopping/Drama Tour, 2017.
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It’s been exhausting to stay afloat in this era that promises a wider gap between the rich and poor. In the past two decades, low-income and of-color communities have struggled to keep their housing in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco and abroad.  Many adored queer nightlife venues and other convivial spaces have disappeared and resurfaced as sterile establishments that attract upwardly mobile and affluent demographics. In an effort to resurface the “messy” and “sucio” spirits of queer Latino and lesbian ghosts from gentrified sites in San Francisco, Ibarra led strangers and friends on a bar crawl tour to five former queer Latino and Lesbian bars in San Francisco. Together the group made alters, wrote messages, imprinted their bodies, pleasures and kisses onto the phantom walls of beloved queer venues — Esta Noche (1979 – 2014), La India Bonita (late 70s – 1996), Amelia’s (1978 – 1991), The Lexington (1997- 2015), and Osento (1979 – 2008). Strangers and friends sipped on spirits, danced, made out, and posted counterfeit “Public Notices of Application for Ownership Change”  while 1990s footage of queer Latinos and Lesbians in the former bars was projected onto walls. 

Xandra Ibarra is Oakland-based performance artist from the US/Mexico border of El Paso/Juarez who sometimes works under the alias of La Chica Boom. Ibarra uses performance, video, and sculpture to address abjection and joy and the borders between proper and improper racial, gender, and queer subject.   

Tom Hsu

Tom Hsu, Head in Rock, 1995

Tom Hsu, Cue Holding, 2019
Artist Statement

The term wicked can signify something morally wrong or it could mean excellent. These two images of headless bodies plays a role in which searches for directions. The orientation of these images have been flipped to something not to the norm, that in itself can show something wicked in the way the images are presented. Is there a proper orientation of how an image is to present itself? 

Tom Hsu is a studio-based visual artist whose works seeks to investigate the curious condition of spaces, and their correlation to the bodies that attend them, as communicated through the photography of the everyday mundane. He comes from a base in analog photography, and this stability allows him to extend into made, found, and choreographic sculpture, all of which deal with the everyday mundane. He currently lives and works in Vancouver and holds a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He undertook a residency at Burrard Arts Foundation from April to June 2018. He has exhibited at Centre A, Unit/Pitt, Index Gallery, and Yactac Gallery in Vancouver.

Shawna Dempsey + Lorri Millan


Shot on Super 8 film while in residence at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre, Buffalo, NY 

In our self-created worlds, we have the freedom to make self-definitions,  disrupting the images and lessons contained in all the stories and codes that have shaped us. By subverting and perverting accepted meanings, we attempt to re-tell tales truly. By making people laugh, we open them up to thinking differently. For us, art making is a means to perform our realities into existence.

Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan
Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan have collaboratively created queer, feminist performance and video art for over 30 years. They have exhibited in venues as far-ranging as women’s centres in Sri Lanka, the Sydney Gay/Lesbian Mardi Gras in Australia and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and have curated internationally as well. However to most, they are known simply as the Lesbian Rangers. 

Michael Morris

Berlin boys from the Boyopolus series

Artist, educator, curator. Michael Morris was born in 1942 in Saltdean, England and immigrated to Canada at age four. In 1960, Morris began his studies at the University of Victoria, transferring the following year to the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design). After graduating with honors in 1964, Morris attended two years of postgraduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London. There he absorbed the work of Fluxus and the European avant-garde, artistic developments that had a profound influence on the Vancouver experimental art scene. Upon his return to Vancouver, Morris became acting curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University.
In his roles as a curator and, primarily, as an artist, Morris was a key figure of the West Coast art scene during the 1960s. Notably, Morris, along with Vincent Trasov, founded the Image Bank in 1969, a system of postal correspondence between participating artists for the exchange of information and ideas. The intention of the Image Bank was to create a collaborative, process-based project in the hopes of engendering a shared creative consciousness—in opposition to the alienation endemic to modern capitalist society—through the deconstruction and recombination of its ideological forms. In 1973, Morris co-founded the Western Front—one of Canada’s first artist-run centers—and served as co-director of the Western Front for seven years. Morris has participated in artist-in-residence programs both in Canada at the Banff Centre (1990) and at Open Studio (2003) and internationally at Berlin Kustlerprogramm (1981-1998). Morris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2005 by Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He currently lives and works in Victoria.

Kama La Mackerel

Breaking the Promise of Tropical Emptiness: Trans Subjectivity in the Postcard

Kama La Mackerel, Breaking the Promise of Tropical Emptiness:
Trans Subjectivity in the Postcard
Artist Statement

My work aspires to articulate languages of decoloniality through inter-textual and inter-textural artistic practices.

My life’s work emerges from a concern for justice and an imperative to heal from colonial pasts. I reimagine and reformulate languages of the self in order to offer “a countermemory, for the future” (Gordon). I explore ancestral loss— as the loss of bodies, histories, cultures, languages, genders, knowledge systems and spiritual practices— in order to rewrite the marginalized and silenced voice in contemporary contexts of global imperialism. I draw from the past to interrupt the present, and offer possibilities of being for future, as a “reacquisition of power to create one’s own i-mage” (Philip).

The “i” in my work is multiple: it is an i that is descendant of Slaves and Indentured labour, it is an i that grew up on the plantation island of Mauritius, it is an i that is economically working-class but culturally middle-class, it is an i filled with queer desires, it is an i that crosses normative gender lines, it is an i that grew up in a half-Catholic and half-Hindu family, it is an i that is East-African, South-Asian and in the process of becoming Canadian… The i in my work refuses to be restricted by singularity, it cannot be: my voice is multiple, moving beyond and across definitions, a voice imbued in “complex personhood” (Gordon).

The i in my work, then, is not constrained by the boundaries of disciplinarity. I work across live performance, poetry, installations, textile and visual arts to speak multiple aesthetic and political voices that enunciate a decolonial poetics. The voice in the body of my work expresses itself across different media and in the interstices between these media. These intermedia spaces provide the terrain for elaborating “strategies of selfhood— singular and communal— that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation” (Bhabha). Through an inter-disciplinary practice, I create a range of ‘in-between’ spaces and ‘in-between’ voices which offer a kaleidoscopic view of my subjectivities as they relate to space, time, history, and kinship: “this interstitial passage between fixed identifications opens up the possibility of a cultural hybridity that entertains difference without an assumed or imposed hierarchy” (Bhabha). I thus re-figure my own corporality as multiple, transgressing genres, locations, bodies, tongues, spaces and temporalities.

“Breaking the Promise of Tropical Emptiness: Trans Subjectivity in the Postcard” is a performance-based photography series where I call into question the dominating aesthetics of postcards as orientalist visual artifacts that have historically portrayed island spaces as “exotic” landscapes, devoid of local subjectivity. In this series, I disrupt the colonial postcard frame by positioning my queer and transgender body in the foreground of stereotypical postcard-like landscapes. “Breaking the Promise” also articulates a visual vocabulary with which to reclaim the scapes of my home/is/land and return my transgender body back to the land I had to flee in order to birth my queer femme self.

Kama La Mackerel is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, cultural mediator and literary translator who hails from Mauritius and now lives in Montréal. Their work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, and self- and collective-empowerment. They work within and across poetry, photography, performance, installation and textile arts. @kamalamackerel

Joseph Liatela

Molecular Prosthesis, 2020

120 x 108 x 84 in / 304.8 x 274.32 x 213.36 cm
VCT Tile, masonite, singlets used by athletes, resin, marble powder, silicone, steel, powdered Viibryd, Vyvance, & synthetic hormones

Joseph Liatela is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City. Through a transgender lens, his work explores the cultural and medico-legal notions of what is considered a “correct” bodily formation.
He has exhibited at Denniston Hill, LACE, Field Projects, Monmouth Museum, BRIC, and PS122 Gallery, among others. Liatela’s work has been featured in The Leslie Lohman Journal, SF MoMA’s Open Space, Artsy, among others. They have received fellowships from the Zellerbach Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Wassaic Project, Denniston Hill, California College of the Arts, Banff Centre, and Columbia University. 

Flash Collective

What Lies Beneath

On the subject of PLACE, the Vancouver-centric Flash Collective promises a uniquely prescient opportunity: collaboration between the QAF and Finkelstein has been irrevocably altered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the marginalized artists the workshop aimed to serve are now grappling with the complexity of a post-pandemic future in real time.

In July 2020, the Queer Arts Festival (QAF) will support a visual art exhibition curated by artist, activist, and community organizer Jonny Sopotiuk on the festival theme of Wicked. Sopotiuk’s curation includes a single-day workshop for a group of emerging and early career local artists with New York-based artist and seminal HIV/AIDS activist Avram Finkelstein, known as a Flash Collective. Originating in his HIV/AIDS activism of the 1980s, Finkelstein’s Flash Collective is an experiment in political art-making wherein he leads a group of artists to answer the call to collective action. The artists form a collective of limited duration intent on producing a single intervention in a public space; a result-oriented exercise aimed at collective action by focusing on collective decision-making within a surgical and fast-paced format intended to cut directly to the point of the work-its content.

Prior to the festival on June 16 2020, Finkelstein guided a group of 9 2SLGBTQ+ identified local artists through a pre-prescribed 6-hour Flash Collective workshop. As a short-term collective, participants will imagine alternative models on activating social spaces through reflection on the history of queer activism—a dynamically charged subject given the impact marginalized communities are experiencing under the pallor of the COVID-19 pandemic and the era of social distancing. The product of the workshop is negotiated by the collective with artist selection based on their unique contributions, including interest in or experience with activism, graphic design, photography, and animation. In his role as convenor, Finkelstein will bring together the first ever online flash collective where artists will explore community and collaboration during a pandemic by producing a single intervention in public space.

Avram Finkelstein
Tajiliya Jamal

Participating Artists:

Alex Gibson
Avram Finkelstein
Chhaya Naran
Claire Love Wilson
Jackson Wai Chung Tse
Jeff Hallbauer
Joshua Lam
Kyla Yin
Shane Sable
Tajiliya Jamal

Elektra KB

C.A.T. Stateless Genderless Passport

Apply for your passport here:

Elektra KB, C.A.T. Passport, 2019
You are choosing to become a de facto global citizen by your own personal authority with the support of the Cathara Autonomous Territory as issuing source.
Be aware of other stateless citizens holders of the CAT passport, we are everywhere.
You are here therefore, liberated and are the sole ruler of your body in space.

Medellin Timebag, 2019

Artist Statement

Due to the rise of systems of oppression via the nation state, the rebels of the Theocratic Republic of Gaia —the Catharas— have created the Stateless Autonomous passport. With this document you renounce to any involuntary forced common identity imparted because of the nation state and commit to the erasure of imaginary lines forced upon humans in the world; through blood, war and genocide.

When you sign the Cathara Autonomous Territory passport, you declare yourself stateless. You abandon your alliance to: nation borders and gender borders, chauvinism, patriotism, and fascism. You declare that these concepts don’t define the true existence of the individual and are not a marker for human value.

Elektra KB is a Latinx immigrant artist, living and working in Brooklyn, NY. They graduated with an MFA from Hunter College in 2016 and received a DAAD award, pursued at UDK—Berlin with artist Hito Steyerl. Their work engages corporeal sickness and disability, with utopian possibilities and alternative universes. KB investigates: gender, migration, transculturality, and abuse of power. Their work entangles mutual aid, political action, and communication, often with a documentarian-sci-fi-like hybrid approach, exploring utopia and dystopia. Across: photography, textiles, video, installation and performance. KB’s work has been written about in: Art Forum, Artnews and The New York Times. Recent shows include: ‘Nobody Promised You Tomorrow’ at the Brooklyn Museum.

Christopher Lacroix

Perversions come in all sizes

Christopher Lacroix, Perversions come in all sizes, Length 58:22
Head forward, strong core, pedal backwards, 2019, From the suite: One, set to failure, 44 x 59(18) inches,
111.75 x 150.25 cm, Archival inkjet print
Left arm back, strong core, crank forward, 2019, From the suite: One set to failure, 44 x 59(18) inches, 111.75 x 150.25 cm, Archival inkjet print
Cradle. Coddle. Carry., 2019, 25 x 25 inches, 63.5 x 63.5 cm, Archival inkjet print
thank you v v much I feel better already and u?, 2019, 25 x 25 inches, 63.5 x 63.5 cm, Archival inkjet print
Twist & Twirl, 2019, 25 x 16(2/3) inches, 63.5 x 42(1/3) cm, Archival inkjet print
Grip & Grab, 2019, 25 x 16(2/3) inches, 63.5 x 42(1/3) cm, Archival inkjet print
I’m sorry but sometimes your hardest isn’t hard enough, 2019
25 x 12.5 inches, 63.5 x 31.75 inches, Archival inkjet print

Artist Statement

Perversions come in all sizes (2019) considers issues of shame, endurance, melodrama, and eroticism as they relate to queer subjectivity. The project centres around a machine custom-built for my body that I used to feed myself one cookie for every person I have had a sexual encounter with. The machine requires my body to be in a constant state of awkward tension when operated; either pushing my weight back to crank the first conveyor belt or pedaling backwards to move the second conveyor belt towards my mouth. In borrowing aesthetics from gym equipment and fetish furniture, the machine suggests a blurring of the boundaries of indulgence and discipline, ecstatic deviance and self-flagellation. 

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Perversions come in all sizes, 2019
Christopher Lacroix (Canadian, b. 1986) holds a BFA from Ryerson University, ON (2012) and an MFA from the University of British Columbia, BC (2018). His work has been exhibited at The Polygon Gallery (Vancouver), window (Winnipeg), Georgia Scherman Projects (Toronto), and Forest City Gallery (London). Lacroix was the 2018 recipient of the Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize. He currently lives and works in Vancouver, BC.

Avram Finkelstein

Silver War Storm

Avram Finkelstein, Silver War Storm, 2019
Avram Finkelstein, Silver War Storm, 2019 (Detail)
Avram Finkelstein, Silver War Storm, 2019 (Detail)

Artist Statement

My practice re-imagines information technologies as an ecosystem of narratives bridging egalitarian fantasias about social spaces at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, exploring tensions between identity and colonization, access and limitation, agency and refusal. While waiting for fabrication tests for a recent commission, I started sketching my source material, a photo manipulated iPhone image of a transgendered friend—the first drawings I’d attempted since recovering from a stroke. I was surprised to find my hand no longer “belongs” to me, and dictates its own vernacular. These arduous gesture drawings, involving graphite held with both hands, evolved into detailed pencil renderings. The resulting mural-sized drawings document a reacquaintance with my disobedient body, raising questions that exceeded my explorations of gender representation, into personal inquiries about corporeality as a system in flux.

Avram Finkelstein is a founding member of the Silence=Death and Gran Fury collectives. His work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, The Whitney, The New Museum and The Brooklyn Museum. He is featured in the artist oral history at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and his book, “After Silence: A History of AIDS Through its Images” was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in Nonfiction, and an ICP Infinity Award in Critical Writing.