Virago Nation, clockwise from top: Rainbow Glitz, Sparkle Plenty, Ruthe Ordare, Manda Stroyer, Scarlet Delirium and Shane Sable (Lynx Chase and Monday Blues not pictured.)
Virago Nation was born out of a love of performance, a celebration of Indigeneity and six burlesque artists feeling done with Pocahontas stereotypes. “When we first met up, I thought we were going to bead some things, go to a powwow or maybe go for a sweat,” says performer Sparkle Plenty. “But we found a common narrative that was so uplifting—and we thought, why don’t we start performing together?”
Since 2016, the group has been both literally and symbolically destroying stereotypes (in their debut performance, they ripped off consciously cliché costumes and threw them into a prop fire) and earning love and respect from both the burlesque world and the Indigenous arts community. Their now-virtual shows are provocative and powerful, and every one celebrates multifaceted Indigenous sexuality. “Being a part of this group has empowered me to live in my most authentic way,” says Plenty. Don’t miss Virago Nation’s closing night performance in the Cultch’s Transform Cabaret Festival on October 3.
Photo by Ursel Barwinski.
Edward Fu-Chen Juan
Using water-based ink extracted from B.C. plants, Vancouver artist Ed Fu-Chen Juan makes colourful silkscreen prints. The technique is influenced by Japanese woodblock printmaking and artisanal weavers he has collaborated with in Oaxaca, Mexico. Juan uses traditional techniques with contemporary style, and is all about conservation. This year, he’s been selected as one of the ambassadors for the B.C. Culture Days (September 25 to October 25) and will be hosting in-person and online demos.
Comedian Ola Dada is hot off the release of a CBC Gem comedy episode. His stand-up and sketch comedy finds the funny in too-serious situations, and he likes to highlight comparisons between Nigerian and Canadian culture. He’ll be in (COVID-guideline abiding) in-person shows soon; follow him for updates.
The Nameless Collective (left to right) Naveen Girn, Paneet Singh and Milan Singh. Photo by Manjot Bains.
The Nameless Collective Podcast
A trio of local historians—Naveen Girn, Milan Singh and Paneet Singh—host this storytelling podcast that rediscovers South Asian history in Vancouver. Subscribe for untold stories of neighbourhood narratives—their upcoming season delves into the murder trial of Sabhu Singh.
Photo by Reece T. Williams.
Della Orrey is an audio creative whose projects explore identity, healing and the modern expanse of Blackness. This fall, watch for the debut of her collaboration with local mindfulness artist Dora Kamau.