2021 in quotes: artists talk about the pandemic, their practice, and their passions
One of the joys of working at Georgia Straight is to be able to shine the spotlight on those of the artistic community that amaze us and make us think about the world in different ways. For this year-end issue, we’ve rounded up some quotes from some of the artists who appeared in our journal in 2021.
“I realized a lot last year that art is medicine. And we’re not going through any of the horrors that exist – whether it’s around the pandemic or the oppression of people – without art. “
—Dancer and choreographer Ziyian Kwan
“If you know what makes you tick, you’ll be a better singer. “
—Soprano Measha Brueggergosman
“Feeling ‘thirsty’ or ashamed that we are not enough… I was like, ‘You know what? No! I’m going to call some bullshit on this and say that the fact that we can straddle two types of cultures is our superpower. “
– Canadian Punjabi singer, actor, dancer and choreographer Krystal Kiran
“I think this work arose out of a form of pain – or screaming – that I had to suppress for too long.”
—Metis visual artist Émilie Régnier on her exploration of hair and identity in a Capture Photography Festival exhibition titled How do you love me?
“It’s like a TED talk but without that conference feeling. This is a real personal story. There is no specific call to action or take away.
– Chutzpah! festival artist Ophira Eisenberg on her love of storytelling
“I skipped school to go listen to Itzhak Perlman. So having this moment of leading the VSO with Perlman playing the solo was a really, really special experience.
– Music director of VSO Otto Tausk
“When you say you love yourself, it’s an act of defiance. When you tell your children that you love them, it’s an act of defiance… All of these things have been taken away from us.
—Heart of the City Festival Artist in Residence and Residential School Survivor Kat Zu’comulwat Norris
“I saw a middle aged couple kissing on the patio of a restaurant and I just wanted to capture that emotion in their relationship, the happiness. But I figured if I gave it a romantic title, this would suck. So I called it My Mate Is in Real Estate because they looked pretty wealthy.
—Vancouver Eastside Culture Crawl Artist Michelle Mathias
“I want to speak like myself. I mean the truth. And I want to be brave even at the risk of making mistakes. I already had to harden myself because some people disagree with things in the book.
—Ian Williams, author of Disorientation: being black in the world
“I try to find the rhythm in everything I do and everything I see, and I have no trouble doing that, because it’s everywhere. You just have to be receptive to it.”
–percussionist Sal Ferreras
“I learned to sing before I spoke, so technically I always sang. In fact, I was also able to harmonize when I was a toddler, which is an interesting story about me. “
–singer Janelle Reid
“It sounds impressionistic and not so evidence-based at this point, but I think there is an impulse in our community to get as close to whiteness as possible. I mean, I feel like I’m – literally – biologically a product of that in some ways. “
—Canad-Japanese Métis writer and filmmaker Angela May
“I learned a lot about my art through a western lens, through western stories, so I think doing things in Tagalog or thinking through a Tagalog lens allows for an alternate perspective, a different point of view. “
—Visual artist Patrick Cruz
“It takes a lot of self-discipline to keep training and keep working your body and trying to keep your instrument in a state where you can be seen by an audience. And at the same time, it takes a lot of letting go of the body. control, to let your vulnerability be seen, to let people see who you are.
—Actor-dancer Billy Marchenski
“I was in pre-law at UBC and discovered that the legal world was nowhere as fun, exciting and visceral as I thought it would be. So I started taking acting classes at UBC, and as soon as I started doing plays in college, I fell in love with it. And I realized, ‘Okay, I’m going to have to tell my mother and father that I will become an actor. ‘ “
–Aaron Craven, Artistic Director of Mitch and Murray Productions
“I want to make Vancouver as culturally rich as possible. There are a lot of these different pockets of communities – comedians, poets, horror movie fans, burlesque artists – so I feel like that we have a scene here, and we have the potential to make it richer. It’s just about people staying here and making it great. “
–Corinne Lea, owner of the Rio Theater
“The people of Vancouver are just amazing. And nothing has been clearer to me about how truly wonderful people are than how they have responded to this pandemic. People have been nice, people have to every time tried to pull themselves together and tried to do the right thing, and it’s just amazing. “
–Chor Leoni artistic director Erick Lichte
“I grew up in Saskatchewan where he can be 40 under. Even if it rains here [in Vancouver] it’s better.”
–Vancouver Art Gallery Audain Curator of British Columbia Art, Grant Arnold
“We have a lot of professional artists – a lot of dancers, actors, directors and designers – so it’s a very vibrant arts and cultural scene. Some of it seems to be unknown to a lot of people, but we’re not just a place people come to shoot movies. “
–Donna Spencer, Artistic Producer of the Firehall Arts Center
“We see conductors, choreographers, writers, musicians and everything in this city time and time again. I don’t think it’s recognized as much for its arts and culture scene, but … any week you can experience a lot of contrasting shows and pieces that are truly first class. “
–Vancouver Bach Choir Music Director, Leslie Dala
“One of the things I love the most is how [Vancouver] enveloped and how it envelops nature. It’s by far the smallest town I’ve lived in, so I feel like it still has a lot of memories of the natural world. I mean, you got the killer whale coming into the harbor for god’s sake. It’s incredible.”
–Sirish Rao, Artistic Director of the Indian Summer Festival
“I mean, I’m a fan of gore, definitely. People know through my work that I have a very dark side, and I’m very mysterious like that… So throw me all the gore, please. pleases. “
–horror director Gigi Saul Guerrero