Let’s Connect Tomorrow
Artists: Kai Bryan, Santiago Guzmán, Daze Jefferies, Leeroy New, Mal Parrott, Eden Potter, Tabita Rezaire, Grace Wardlaw
Guest Co-curators: Jason Penney, Cyril Butler
Let’s Connect Tomorrow considers the potential metamorphosis that queer identity will experience as we navigate the future and reckon with the past. Artists in this exhibition explore possible realities, speculating about their individual and community's futures. Working with mediums that include performance, text, music and projection, the artists move through various ways queer lives may take shape, reckoning with past and future horrors while also sharing the delights of simply existing.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Kai Bryan is an award-winning visual artist, curator and drag performer based in St. John’s, NL (which the artist acknowledges is located on the lands known as Ktaqmkuk). Their works in video, performance and installation deploy craft-based practices, cinematic references and eroticism to playfully undermine and question experiences of intimacy, pleasure and desire. Kai’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, screenings, and festivals including: The Retroflex Queer Cabaret at Eastern Edge Gallery St. John’s, NL, (2019); Full Tilt performance series at The Rooms, St. John’s, NL (2019); Nervous Whether at The Rooms, St. John’s, NL and Grenfell Art Gallery, Corner Brook, NL (2016-17); SOFT, Berlin, DE, (2017); HOLD FAST Contemporary Art Festival, St. John’s, NL (2016); Wild, Pure Aesthetic Wonder at Craft Council Gallery, St. John’s, NL (2015); MIXCopenhagen, Copenhagen, DK (2015), MixNYC, Brooklyn, USA (2014); and Wade in Toronto, ON and St. John’s, NL(2014-15). Kai was a founding member of Tongue & Groove Collective in Toronto, ON, who created interactive installation and community-based projects from reclaimed materials from 2009-2013. Kai received their BFA with Honours from York University, Toronto, ON (2010), and is the recipient of the VANL-CARFAC Emerging Artist of the Year Award (2014), the Louis Odette Award for Sculpture, and the EJ Lightman Sculpture Award. They work independently and in collaborative partnerships, as well as with their drag collective the Phlegm Fatales.
To learn more about Kai Bryan: https://www.kaileybryan.ca/
Santiago Guzmán is a writer, performer, director and producer for theatre and film originally from Metepec, Mexico, now based in St. John’s, NL. Santiago is the Artistic Director of TODOS Productions, an organization that promotes, produces and supports the work of under-represented artists in Newfoundland and Labrador. He is the Artistic Associate for Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, Halifax, NS, and General Manager for Neighbourhood Dance Works, St. John’s, NL. He is a proud member of The Quilted Collective, whose first anthology “Us, Now” was published by Breakwater Books in 2021. Santiago defines community as a group of like-minded people that he feels shares something in common. He identifies as a queer, brown, immigrant artist, and he feels a deep connection to those, like him, who have been historically oppressed and silenced.
To learn more about Santiago Guzmán: http://www.sguzman.ca/
Daze Jefferies is a sixth-generation white settler artist, writer and researcher born and raised in the Bay of Exploits, NL (which the artist acknowledges is located on the lands known as Ktaqmkuk). Working with found beach materials, sound, poetry, sculpture, theory, performance and illustration, her research-based creative practice engages with the ocean as an archive of loss to form washy, wayward and withheld counter-narratives of trans and sex worker histories at the water’s edge. Her projects have been exhibited at Eastern Edge, St. John’s, NL; The Rooms, St. John’s, NL; Unscripted Twillingate, NL; Inverness County Centre for the Arts, NS; and Cape Breton University Art Gallery, NB; as well as performed widely at events such as HOLD FAST, Lawnya Vawnya, FemFest, and Out of Earshot in St. John’s, NL.
To learn more about Daze Jefferies: https://www.dazejefferies.com/
Leeroy New is an artist-designer whose practice overlaps and intersects with film, theater, product design and fashion. He is a graduate of the Philippine High School for the Arts, where he majored in visual arts, and the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. He has received several citations for his work including: the Grand Prize for sculpture in the Metrobank Art Awards (2005); the Ateneo Art Awards (2009); the Cultural Center of the Philippines 13 Artists Award (2012); and the Metrobank Foundation Award for Continuing Excellence and Service (2014). New has staged numerous exhibitions and public art projects, including the Psychopomp's Reef (2011) installation for Bonifacio Global City's Offsite public gallery and Chrysalis, Manila, PH, and a 40ft bamboo and rattan boat-like structure for the Himala sa Buhangin festival in Ilocos Norte, PH (2012). He participated in the 2008 Singapore Biennale and the 2009 Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, JP. New also experiments with wearable art and has recently shown his brand of experimental fashion at the Istanbul Forum Fashion Week (2013). He was the recipient of the 2013 Philstage Gawad Buhay! award for Outstanding Costume Design for Tanghalang Pilipino's Ibalong. New is based in Manila in the Philippines.
To learn more about Leeroy New: https://leeroynew.com/
Mal Parrott is a performance artist and beginner shibari artist hailing from St. John's, Newfoundland. They began studying the art of shibari, also commonly known as Kinbaku/Japanese rope bondage, a year ago, in their home at the height of another provincial COVID lockdown. Their practice is often showcased in performances as their drag persona, Madame Daddy, including features in RCA's Live Magazine series (2022), St. John's International CircusFest (2022) and FogFest Horror Film Festival (2022). Beyond its common association with the realms of BDSM/kink, Parrott views the art of shibari as an intricate, intentional and aesthetically pleasing bridge of emotional intimacy.
Eden Potter is a Toronto-based artist hailing from the Niagara Region. She studied animation at Seneca College and made her directorial debut with her film “Long After Us” during her graduating year of 2021. Eden continues to explore new artistic endeavours in 2D animation, tattoos, illustrations and sculpture. Casting a wide net into the art world allows her to cultivate amusement, builds a connection to others, explores her identity as well as carving out her own spiritual journey.
To learn more about Eden Potter: https://www.instagram.com/edenpotterart
Tabita Rezaire is based in Cayenne, French Guyana. She has a Bachelor in Economics in France and a Master of Research in Artist Moving Image from Central Saint Martins in the United Kingdom. Tabita is a founding member of the artist group NTU, half of the duo Malaxa, and the mother of the energy house SENEB. Tabita has shown her work internationally at galleries such as: Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Serpentine, London, UK,; Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; New Museum, New York, USA; Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Sao Paulo, BR; Gropius Bau, Berlin, DE; The Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, RU; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA; ICA, London, UK; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; National Gallery of Denmark; The Broad, Los Angeles, USA; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, New York, USA; Tate Modern, London, UK; Museum of Modern Art, Paris, FR–and contributed to several Biennales such as the Guangzhou Triennial; Athens Biennale, GR; Kochi Biennale (2018); Performa (2017); and the Berlin Biennale, DE (2016).
To learn more about Tabita Rezaire: https://www.tabitarezaire.com/
Grace Wardlaw is an artist and craftsperson currently living and working out of Hamilton, ON, Canada. She studied ‘Craft and Design Glass’ at Sheridan College, before moving between St. John’s, Montréal, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City to immerse herself in creative communities. Upon her return to Canada in 2019, Grace co-founded ‘Peace Lily Toys,’ a handmade glass sex toys company. Grace is currently at Sheridan College finishing her undergraduate degree.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Jason Penney is a multimedia artist and curator from St. John’s, NL. They received their BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2004, and their MFA from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2010. Their primary focus of research is queer pop culture and how society uses design aesthetics to construct moral hierarchies. Their work has been shown in multiple locations across Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe.
Cyril Butler works in the film and television industry and lives in St. John's, NL. With a long history of involvement in performance arts, Butler has made a career of fostering the development of other creative practitioners while being keenly interested in the history of Queer Art and its preservation.
Image Credit: Tabita Rezaire. Installation view of Ultra Wet Recapitulation (2017). HD video, projection mapping and wooden pyramid. Work: 146 x 166 x 166 cm. Photo: Rob Battersby