Monique Bedard (Aura)
Aura is Haudenosaunee (Oneida) artist who grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario. She has been deeply and passionately involved in visual arts for 13 years. In 2006, she began a formal study of visual arts at Fanshawe College in London, ON. After three years of studies in London, she moved to Lethbridge, AB to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Lethbridge. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Studio Art) degree in 2010 and returned to Ontario where she began instructing group art lessons with children, youth and adults. Monique currently resides in Tkaronto as an artist and workshop facilitator. She is also a Diploma Toronto Art Therapy Candidate working on the completion of a major project titled “Our Stories Our Truths: an Art-Based Storytelling Project” Her art therapy practicum settings included: the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Youthdale Treatment Centres, Toronto District School Board, and Anishnawbe Health Toronto with an emphasis on art as healing. She is inspired by the healing journey: “I have the passion for community engagement, and collaboration where stories are shared through the art making process. It is my aim to empower people by focusing on our strengths. My goal is to build art projects that lead to a deep sense of understanding while connecting through unity, collaboration and transformation.”
Ambiguously “ethnic,” racially androgynous, simultaneously both/neither PoC and/nor white, perpetually in between-
With roots in Kerala, Malaysia, Ireland and Scotland, Rebecca identifies as a member of the South Asian, white-settler, and mixed-race diasporas. Raised on Treaty 6 territory, in prairie cities and mountain towns, Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge, holding a Multidisciplinary BFA, majoring in theatre performance and design. Residing in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Rebecca is a collaborative member of both Mindhive Collective and Undercurrent Theatre. She creates work at the intersections of race, community arts, community organizing, mad/disability arts, queerness, anti-oppression, theatre, performance art, movement, dance, design, writing, installation and film. Recent artistic explorations include 9 Parts of Desire (The Maggie Tree), Careful & Succumb (Alice Sheppard for CRIPSiE), Summer of Self Love (Imagination Miscellany), Verbasive (Brown Black & Fierce festival), Love in the Margins (CRIPSiE at Chinook Festival), Escape Velocity, My Other Self, (un)earthed (Undercurrent Theatre), The Art of Access//Ability, A Wake, s/kin (Mindhive Collective), In Transit featuring LalitaGoraGirl (The Works Visual Arts Festival). After debuting bi/chotomy in a largely white space, and leaving the stage feeling like the angry brown person, Rebecca is happy to be here sharing her story with other mixed kids!
Desiree McKenzie is a spoken-word poet originating from Brampton, Ontario. Having discovered her love for poetry 6 years ago, after seeing Sarah Kay’s performance of ‘If I Should Have a Daughter’, she knew she needed to share her truth in spoken word. Her love for performance came from attending Mayfield Secondary School, majoring in drama where she found her love for sharing stories. She competes in poetry slams around the city and just this past year was ranked runner up in the Women of the World poetry slam qualifier, out of twelve other women in Toronto. She is ecstatic to be able to share her work as a part of the conference this year, especially growing up feeling as though she could not fit in due to her Trinidadian, Bajan and French-Canadian background. She wants to help other young people, perhaps those struggling with this as well, and to let them know that even if they don’t fit into the ‘puzzle’, they can simply create their own. She would not have been able to accomplish all that she has, and all that she will; without the support and guidance from Mum, Rob, Mark, Monica, Misty, Alex (she loves him more) and TU.
Lynx Sainte-Marie, Afro+Goth Poet, is a multimedium artist, activist and educator of the Jamaican diaspora, with ancestral roots indigenous to Africa and the British Isles. A disabled/chronically ill, non-binary/genderfluid person, they currently reside in what’s commonly known as the Greater Toronto Area, stolen land of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississaugas of New Credit, Petun and Seneca peoples. A poet across mediums, Lynx utilizes multiple art forms – writing, performance, visual art, storytelling, multimedia art installation and song – to engage audiences around issues of identity, oppression, liberation, resiliency and survival at the intersection. Lynx has exhibited and performed in various art and event spaces including the Harbourfront Centre, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Nuit Blanche Toronto, Montréal, arts interculturels (MAI), the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the George Paton Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. Their writing has appeared in Black Girl Dangerous, OCHUN: Watah Poetry Anthology Book I, Plenitude Magazine, The Peak Magazine and The Deaf Poets Society. In 2016, Lynx was a recipient of an Art Starts’ Platform A micro-grant, used to create and co-facilitate #BlackSpoonieSpeak, a creative writing workshop series for Black disabled/chronically ill youth on the margins. For more about Lynx, check out their website: http://lynxsaintemarie.com