Resilient Roots

Six activists/artist pairings are creating in relationship to the Coast Salish land we live on. This project is rooted in our local landscape, considering our past connection to the land, working to conquer present issues, and planting seeds for the future. Valeen Jules and Heather Lamoureux are the co-ordinators. Check out these artists work August 19th and here their discussion on “Decolonial Art” on August 15th.
Mia Amir

Mia Amir

For nearly two decades, mia has worked at the intersection of creative and community practice as an educator, dramaturg, cultural organizer, curator, publishing writer, and performance artist creating immersive interdisciplinary works. Born in Israel/Occupied Palestine, mia is a queer Jew of mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardic descent, who is disabled by chronic illness. She has lived most of her life on the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh. mia is the Creative Director of The Story We Be, and the Associate Dramaturg at PTC. She teaches Creative Writing at UBC in Continuing Studies. In her creative work, mia explores the way sociopolitical events are manifest intergenerationally in the spaces of the home and the body; the narrative hauntings that emerge when our stories go untold. mia has performed her work across so-called Canada and the US. Her writing has appeared on SpiderWebShow, Lemon Hound and Digging Through the Fat.

Maddi Grier

Maddi Grier

Maddi Grier is a visitor to the Coast Salish lands from the Blackfoot Confederacy, Piikani Nation. As an Undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University she is studying Gender Studies and Communications working towards freelance journalism. She is very active in advocating for Indigenous Voices. She holds close to her heart issues such as Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Two Spirited Indigenous People, and Indigenous Womenism. She is co-creator and publisher of a Zine called I AM Indigenous Alternative Media, to raise awareness to these issues since they are hardly recognized. She also has set goals of creating documentaries in the future that are directed towards these issues as well as other issues that intersect with the BIPOC communities.

Vanessa Grondin

Vanessa Grondin

vanessa grondin is a visual performing artist who interweaves dynamic processes of movement, spatial intervention, and the breakdown of language as a form of embodiment. As a soft spoken woman, I am often led towards actively grounding strength in vulnerability through body motion and vocalization. I am interested in how performative, linguistic, and collaborative processes can become documented and re-activated through zines and printed ephemera. With a mindfulness for decolonial ways of being, I often work alternatively with existing structures and conditions to make way for seeing beyond imposed visibilities. I seek to let processes flow for shape-shifting ways of interconnecting by looking towards Indigenous practices of sovereignty and navigating intercultural relations. Coming from a mixed ancestry of Asian-European roots with gaps in between, I carry much gratitude for continuing to grow and learn as a guest on unceded ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Claris Figueira

Claris Figueira

Claris is a 24 year old poet and organizer who grew up on the unceded and unserrendered territories of Coast Salish peoples / Vancouver, BC. She centres her work and around climate justice, which she sees as a hub for intergenerational and social justice work, and in November 2016 she joined the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP22. She believes that the intersection between art and political activism is immensely powerful, and is honoured to be a part of Vines festival for a second year.

Elissa Hanson

Elissa Hanson

Elissa Hanson is a performing artist and multidisciplinary collaborator who gratefully resides on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She investigates somatic, theatrical and political gestures. Elissa has performed and collaborated with Kinesis Somatheatro, Justine A.Chambers, EDAM Dance, Fight With a Stick, Mascall Dance, The Biting School, been a guest performer with battery opera, Company 605, and Pressed Paradise, as well as toured nationally and internationally with Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, Deanna Peters, and MOVE: the company. She has worked as a rehearsal director, teacher, moderator, outside/inside eye, assisted Jennifer Mascall in Experiential Anatomy workshops, and joined Josh Beamish as a mentor in his Choreographic Mentorship Program for talented youth from Western Canada. Her training and performing has taken her to France, Germany, Israel, Spain, and Thailand. Elissa’s independent work comprises several solo dances, installation, and video works, and expanding her teaching practice in TRE technique by Dr. David Berceli, specializing in releasing body trauma.

Kwiigay iiwaans

Kwiigay iiwaans

Kwiigay iiwaans is a queer Indigenous tenderboy and existential robot prince.

Valeen Jules

Valeen Jules

Valeen Jules, also known as Kā’ ānni, is a determined young Indigenous warrior from the Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations. A former foster kid, homeless youth and 1st-yr college dropout, she is now known as a political organizer, motivational speaker, youth outreach worker, spoken word artist, black snake killer and ”overeducated extremist” across Turtle Island. She released her first chapbook ʔiiḥmisic in July 2016 which has been used in the curriculum of a Humanities course at Emily Carr University. Originally from Kyuquot, she now resides on Snuneymuxw territories.

Arash Khakpour

Arash Khakpour

Originally from Tehran and based in Vancouver, Arash Khakpour is a dancer and choreographer. Arash is privileged to be a dance artist on the ancestral and unceded Coast Salish territory including The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Arash’s desire is to see whether the theatre can be a place to interrogate the body and to investigate the alternate ways of being. He is interested in dance as a way to research human nature and human conditions through historical, social, political and existential interpretations.
Arash is the cofounder of Vancouver’s performance group Pressed Paradise, cofounder of the dance-theatre company The Biting School (alongside his brother Aryo Khakpour), and the founder and co-host of How About A Time Machine a podcast on the history of Canadian performance. Arash is grateful to be the 2017 recipient of Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize with Emmalena Fredriksson from Sweden.

Heather Lamoureux

Heather Lamoureux

Heather Lamoureux is privlidged to be a guest on the Coast Salish Territory of the Musquem, Squamish and Tsliel-Waututh nations. Here she is a producer, artist, activist and facilitator. Her work stems from her relationship with mother earth, she lives with determination to walk with generosity in her feet and with honesty and in her heart, planting seeds where she may on her path.

Heather is the Artistic Director of Vines Art Festival, producer at Raven Spirit Dance and a support in other performing arts organization. Trained in Expressive Movement Therapy from Tamalpa Institute under instruction of Anna and Daria Halprin and a BFA in Dance with minor in Business Administration. She volunteers at BC Crisis and Suicide Prevention Centre.

Kelly McInnes

Kelly McInnes

Kelly McInnes is privileged to be a dance artist, choreographer, performer & facilitator based on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Kelly creates performance work exploring socio-political issues as a call to action. Her work has been presented at festivals throughout BC, in Toronto and in Mexico. Kelly is thrilled to be included in Vines Art Festival for the third year.

Crystal Smith

Crystal Smith

Crystal is Tsimshian, Haisla and was adopted into the Heilsuk Nation. She now lives upon Unceded Coast Salish Territory. As proud mother of two beautiful children, Crystal is taking it upon herself to fight for their future and writing poetry is one way she is able to battle. Crystal often writes about the lived oppression of Indigenous people and more importantly the will and skill to survive daily attempts of assimilation and colonialism.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Snotty Nose Rez Kids

As the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, we speak back to the stereotypes that present us as untamed, ill-mannered and vulgar savages, reclaiming ourselves as the 7th generation on the rise. We tell our stories to show that we may be a little rough around the edges but that roughness makes our lives interesting. We don’t carry certain privileges afforded through colonialism -fenced in backyards, green grass suburbia- but we are privileged in other ways. We were privileged to be raised by the ocean with a forest in our back yard. We are rich through learning our traditional way of life while being raised on our ancestors’ territory – there is a great deal of wealth in knowing who and where you come from. We were able to learn by doing, to run around the reservation, get stung by devils nettle and not cry over it but wipe our snot on it and keep going. We learnt about the ocean’s depth and the rivers’ current. We learned how to survive without actually having to only survive. We ran in packs. We were raised by our parents; we were raised by our community. Our culture is strong and continues to shape us into who we are today. We are storytellers, dancers, singers and artists. We are survivors. Our ancestors live through us and as individuals, we have a platform to communicate this with our community. With whatever lens you see us through, we will always be the snot nosed kids from the rez and that’s what makes us beautiful.

Jaz Whitford

Jaz Whitford

Jaz Whitford is a youth in care and a guest on the unceded Coast Salish Territories, originally from the secwepemc nation - south central interior of BC. With a spark for street performing and a deep interest in decolonization, indigenous resistance and other frontline work Jaz is currently working towards gaining a better understanding of traditional plant knowledge and the many teachings that come with it. In order to more effectively spread awareness about indigenous issues through the arts, based in the understanding that many can be traced back to loss of land and title.

T‘uy’t’tanat - Cease Wyss

T‘uy’t’tanat - Cease Wyss

Skwxwu7mesh/Sto:Lo/Metis/Hawaiian/Swiss

T‘uy’t’tanat- Cease is an interdisciplinary artist who works with new media and interdisciplinary arts as well as community engaged and public art. Cease is a Coast Salish ethnobotanist and recently has returned to a textiles art practice through learning Coast Salish weaving techniques in wool and cedar. She is a member of the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast and lives in East Vancouver. She is a beekeeper and community engaged gardener.