An open call to artists was sent out in August 2022, seeking applications of interest from artists, dancers, writers, and creatives residing on Vancouver Island and in the Salish Sea region including the Northern Gulf Islands, and the islands located in the Strait of Georgia. The 11 participating artists featured here were chosen from over 30 responses through a juried selection. We are excited to feature artists with diverse backgrounds, identities, and abilities. The participating artists will work individually and in collaborative groups to create unique works and evolve works in iterative phases over the course of the 16 month project.
Ebony Rose is a visual artist whose practice involves observations and encounters with the phenomenal, ecological, cyclical, interdependent and alive world. These take form in drawing, painting, sculpture and installation.
Through sensitive simple interventions she instigates contemplative spaces offering a renewed discovery into our surroundings. She creates these environments to be experienced as a body moving through space: walking, stopping, skimming and looking to invite slowing-down and grounding. Also considering perception and the complex entanglements between ‘nature’ and industry, she incorporates discarded and refuse materials. She heightens phenomena so that it becomes material itself, making tangible changing light, air and water, and the passage of time.
Ebony Rose received an MFA from the University of Victoria and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She has exhibited both in Canada and internationally and has been curated into a number of exhibitions. Venues include Unit 17, Vancouver, Will Aballe Projects, Vancouver, AHVA Gallery at the University of Vancouver, Yamakiwa Gallery, Niigata, Japan, Anna Leowowens Gallery, Halifax, ASPN Gallery, Leipzig, Germany, and Norte Maar, Brooklyn, NY. She has been awarded artist residencies in Colorado, Germany, British Columbia and Japan. In 2017 she was long-listed among six artists for the Vancouver Contemporary Art Award. She is a recipient of Canada Council for the Arts Grants. She gratefully acknowledges that she lives and works on Cortes Island on the traditional, ancestral territories of the toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose), ɬəʔamɛn qaymɩxʷ (Tla’amin), ʔop qaymɩxʷ (Homalco) Nations.
Music, Audio ART
Jane Chan is a cellist/musician who enjoys a range of styles and genres. She can be found playing in ensembles, working with living composers, collaborating in poetry, theatre, and dance projects, experimenting with improvisation and electronics, and co-composing works inspired by speech in her synth chamber pop duo Parler bien. Jane holds both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in music performance from McGill University where she studied with Yegor Dyachkov and Matt Haimovitz. She has been a grateful recipient of scholarships and grants including from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec, and the Williamson Foundation. She has attended residencies at the Banff Centre as well as summer programs at Domaine Forget and Orford academies on scholarship, and participated in the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab as performer and organizer. As a teacher, Jane offers private lessons and prior to moving to Victoria, she taught classes at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and at Colorado College, where she played concerts with the Veronika String Quartet, the quartet in residence. She has also been active in arts organizing and was a team member of the non-profit Les Sympathiques out of Cafe Resonance in Montréal.
Anti-Disciplinary, Media Art
As an anti-disciplinary artist Valerie Salez swings between a solo practice and a social art practice. Her solo works dive into the unconscious realms of dreams, myths and rituals. Valerie’s socially engaged projects involve communities of people all over the world, focusing on the politics of identity, culture, and ecological land and water issues. She grew up and has lived most of her life in Canada’s northern territory Yukon, on the traditional lands of various nations which include, Tlingit, Tr’ondek Hwech’in, and Kwanlin Dun. Her works have been included in major galleries across Canada and at significant events such as The Cultural Olympiad of Vancouver 2010 and Northern Scene (Ottawa). Valerie’s work can be found in private and institution collections such as the Canada Council Art Bank and Nova Scotia Art Bank. In 2017, in partnership with Yukon Arts Center, she received a Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter grant and produced and contributed to a Yukon wide First Nations project titled To Talk With Others.
Dance, Performance, Media Art
Amber Downie-Back is an interdisciplinary movement artist who lives and creates on the unceded territories of the lək̓ wəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples. Interested in integrating dance in collaborative contexts with other media, such as sound and video art, Amber’s practice views the reflection of physical spaces in the digital world. Creatively, Amber focuses on Murphy’s Law and the contrasting adage Yphrum, exploring the many combinations of what can and will be, investigating perceived boundaries between process/product, and performer/audience. Amber has a BFA Contemporary Dance from Concordia University and has performed professionally in programs such as Festival TransAmeriques, among others, and has had creations exhibited at Toronto Harbourfront Centre, by Impulse Theatre, and more.
Dance, Performance, Media Art
Lee Ingram is an emerging interdisciplinary artist living and working on the ancestral territories of the Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. Lee is a primarily self-taught and improvisational dancer who has been engaging in collaborative work for the past 2 years with Victoria-based artists, Lindsay Delaronde and Kemi Craig. Lee’s work with Lindsay has focused on creating non-western forms of story-telling and dance, learning embodiment practices, and playing with improvised movement. Kemi and Lee have woven various elements, like dance, film, text, and video projections, into experimental and personal work. Lee’s first solo project, entitled “frozen cradle” was performed on June 11th for Impulse Theatre’s Peak Fest. The project combines poetry, dance, and layered voice recordings to pay homage to a strong matriarchal lineage. It references the ancestral pains, religious indoctrination, and spiritual solace, that exist within the bodies of Lee’s Caribbean family. As a queer brown womon, Lee is interested in the ways the body can contradict expectations of dance and performance, while also allowing cultural stories to take up space.
Lee is currently an Artist in Resident at Dance Victoria for the 2022/2023 season. During this residency, Lee will be experimenting with a variety of mediums, particularly that of dance, performance art, poetry, sound, and video.
Evan Locke is an artist from Victoria, B.C. where he works as a designer for an architectural firm and maintains his studio practice. Locke studied at the University of Victoria completing his MFA in 2017. In his current body of work, the applications of paint are facilitated through the support structures themselves, and present the implements and action of the paintings’ creation as an integral part of the work. The paintings are simultaneously recording medium and instrument; not just visual records but articulated proof of an event taken place.
Multidisciplinary, Media Art
Melissa Flagg is an independent filmmaker, writer, and movement artist working across multiple disciplines. In her film work, Melissa uses an intimate style of storytelling in approaching her subjects, often interweaving genres such as documentary, narrative, experimental film and screen dance. In her fifteen years of creating uniquely compelling film and video for international audiences, Melissa has collaborated on dozens of projects with other artists, dancers, storytellers and theatre professionals and is passionate about engaging community through her work.
As a movement artist and facilitator Melissa enjoys working with diverse populations and abilities, and is continually learning from the wisdom of the body and the Earth. She brings over 20 years of practice in contemporary dance, yoga, martial arts, and other somatic modalities to her work and is currently completing training as a somatic movement therapist/educator. Recent projects include working for the Tŝilhqot’in National Government on the Reviving Traditional Dance Project and developing eco-somatic curriculum for retreats with adults. Melissa holds a Bachelor degree in Media Arts from Emily Carr Institute of Art, and lives in North Cowichan on the unceded territories of the the Malahat, Lake Cowichan, Quw’utsun, Halalt, Penelakut, Stz’uminus, & Lyackson Peoples, in BC, Canada.
Art Action Earwig
Minah Lee (she/her) & Wryly Andherson (he/she/they)
Artist Collective, Multidisciplinary, Multimedia Art
We, Minah & Wryly are founding members of Art Action Earwig, multidisciplinary arts and performance collective formed at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, we are newly located in Nanaimo, the lands of the Snuneymuxw and Snaw-Naw-As peoples of Vancouver Island. Through our new collective member Tadafumi Tamura, we also regained our tangible tie back to Vancouver, land of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Furthermore, our work is situated in South Korea and Japan where our members’ distant homes and families are.
As a group initiated during many environmental, social and personal emergencies, we operate in the spirit of mutual aid in pursuing and sustaining art practices through gestures that resist colonial legacies. Minah is an interdisciplinary artist who grew up in South Korea and moved to Coast Salish territories in 2007. Wryly is a multi-disciplinary, multi-media performance artist, rooted in burlesque, music, object theater/ animism, philosophy and assemblage. Together, we bring our individual expertise to our evolving collective.
Earwig’s art practices concern issues close to home and beyond national borders, exploring both challenging and inspiring matters of our time that call for action. We celebrate our personal stories and the conversations that come out of different identities. We mobilize creative access to pressing social and political matters that engender divides in our societies. The potential for change is locked within the issues – racial tensions, economic disparities, and environmental justice. We use our voices to amplify our concerns and unlock social change. To make stories tangible, we create a variety of access points, combining multimedia theatre and social intervention or ceremony. While inviting adults to ponder serious local, national, and global issues through fresh child-like wonder, Earwig has also engaged children through festival workshops, after school classes, and community education programs.
Audio, Visual Art
Nicole Mandryk is of Anishinaabe, Irish and Ukrainian descent. Her traditional Anishinaabe name is Niibinobinesiik, which translates to summer thunderbird and comes from the loon. She does not yet know her clan or the First Nation her family descends from.
Nicole has been working to reclaim her family’s identity by connecting to her culture, building relationships and coming to understand indigeneity outside colonial understandings. Nicole’s maternal great grandmother, Marie Evelyn Bigelowe had previously made attempts to connect back to community and regain her status but was denied by Indian Affairs. Marie Evelyn’s mother and Nicole’s great great grandmother Annie Laforce, lost her status when she married Jeremiah Bigelowe. Annie’s parents Paul Laforce (Mohawk from Kanesatake) and Marie Suzanne Story (Anishinaabe/Algonquin) were married in Oka in 1825.
Her father’s side are Ukrainian. They eventually came to Canada and settled in Treaty 1 territory on the homelands of the Metis, Cree and Anishinaabe people, now known as Winnipeg.
Nicole and her sister were born and raised on the on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen, Esquimalt, and WSANEC nations. She is a grateful guest on these territories and raises her hands to the caretakers of the land, skies and waters.
Nicole is a visual artist who is dedicated to Anishinaabe and Ukrainian art practices. She is inspired by Anishinaabe/Ukrainian stories, art, land, language, and songs. Nicole has been engaged in performative arts through Indigenous showcases and has been asked by community to compose and share songs. These songs have been sung by “The Wildflowers”, “ ANSWER” and the Lafayette String Quartet for the project “ B.K Weigel/Lafayette String Quartet Legacy Project”. She is also an emerging beader who has been beading since 2014. Nicole’s mentors are Lindsay Delaronde (Mohawk), Jessica Gokey (Anishinaabe) and Lynette La Fontaine (Metis). Her work has been featured in two shows at the Legacy Art gallery “On Beaded Ground” (2021) , Qw’an’qw’anakwal: To Meet Together (2021) and Open Space gallery “Queer Futurities” (2022).
Kayla Henry is a mother, performer, creator, and movement educator based on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations, in Victoria British Columbia.
Kayla graduated from The School of Contemporary Dancers (Winnipeg MB), where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Upon graduating, Kayla joined Canada’s longest-running contemporary dance company, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, where she danced for three seasons.
Kayla has been creating solo work since she was 8 years old, professionally, since 2013, with performances in Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Winnipeg. Her creations have so far been supported by the CRD Arts & Culture (Victoria BC), Constance Cooke (Victoria BC), Jennifer Mascall (Vancouver BC), Good Women Dance Collective (Edmonton AB), Springboard Performance (Calgary AB), Theatre Junction Grand (Calgary AB), and Dance Victoria (Victoria BC).
Kayla has performed in works by renowned choreographers including Rachel Browne (Winnipeg MB), Constance Cooke (Victoria BC), Ming Hon (Winnipeg MB), Helen Husak (Calgary AB), Odette Heyn (Winnipeg MB), Sasha Ivanochko (Montreal QB), Brent Lott (Winnipeg MB), Christina Medina (Vienna Austria), Roger Sinha (Montreal QB), Paras Terezakis (Vancouver BC), Menaka Thakkar (Toronto ON) and others. Kayla has performed in hundreds of professional shows across Canada, Europe, and the USA.
Additionally, Kayla has worked with Xchanges Gallery and Studios (Victoria BC) as a moving model for their “Life Drawing” series since 2021.
Kayla is the Founder and Artistic Director of, Noble Riot Dance Theatre (2020).