Meet the 2023 BC Culture Days Ambassadors!
Peisen Ding (Vancouver)
Peisen Ding is a visual artist and an art educator living on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Peisen’s art practice often involves the exploration of urban relationships, such as relations with other individuals and built environments, through photography, painting, pottery, installation and/or whatever medium and form arise organically in the process. As a queer Chinese immigrant, it is also important for Peisen to discover what life brings when living with different identities and cultures, and how art can show care, love, and courage to others who have similar backgrounds. Peisen believes that art can not only help us see and empower ourselves but also has the responsibility to unfold what is happening and changing in society. This view has led Peisen to research education, diving deeper into what art can bring to the learning of ourselves and the world around us.
Peisen will work with his mentor, Kay Slater (they/them). Kay is a multidisciplinary artist, accessibility consultant, and arts worker. Their artistic practice explores value as it relates to process and expectations.
Natasha Lepine (Quesnel)
Natasha Lepine is a Métis artist who grew up in the small community of Wells, B.C., which kicked off her deep appreciation for both the outdoors and the arts. Throughout her school years, she found that most art classes didn’t focus on creativity as much as they did perfectionism. After graduating, Natasha decided her goal would be to channel emotions, stories, and fragments of ourselves that we’ve long forgotten into artwork. Since then, she has explored a variety of mediums but seems to enjoy creating with acrylic paints and polymer clay. Her work is often credited for bringing forward a “warm and comforting feeling” in others. Lately, she has been connecting with her Métis heritage and has been using elements of her ancestry in her polymer clay accessories. Throughout the summer months, Natasha travels across B.C. to attend multiple markets where she sells her work. Natasha also hosts a Teen Art Space in Quesnel, a safe space where youth come and are encouraged to simply create what they feel like with the materials provided. Her goal for the future is to continue inspiring the local youth to express themselves through art and to help motivate others into appreciating the beautiful combination of the outdoors and art.
Natasha will work with her mentor, Peter Corbett (he/him). Peter is a respected plein air artist located in Wells, B.C. on the traditional territory of the Dakelh and Secwépemc Peoples.
Erin Shuttleworth (Trail)
Erin is an internationally recognized visual storyteller with a passion for comics and illustration. She creates work with a focus on vulnerability, humour, and experimentation. Her credentials include a BFA in Studio Arts with a minor in Film Studies from the University of Victoria. She is currently pursuing an MA in Illustration through Falmouth University, with a projected graduation date of May 2024. Her aspirations are to make art more accessible and barrier-free by helping to demystify creative pursuits and the art world as a whole.
Erin will work with her mentor, Jeffrey Ellis (he/him). Through his involvement in the Cloudscape Comics Society (a non-profit he founded), Jeffrey has more than ten years of experience in project management, print production, and book publishing.
Cameron Gelderman (Kelowna)
Oh, hey there. This is an introduction to Cameron Gelderman, a creative. Catch him using yarn and threads to translate internal thoughts into visual stimulants. Creating art has become his primary coping mechanism for depression and anxiety, and the direction of his vision is to continue weaving until he claims the title of greatest artist in the world, whilst inviting and engaging others to do so as well. The form of creation stems from process art. It’s about beginning and just going and breaking through the inhibitions, the worry, and the self doubt, and entering into the flow state. He uses movement of the hands to communicate the chaos of the mind.
Cameron will work with his mentor, Patrick Lundeen (he/him). Patrick is an artist, teacher, and musician. He was selected to be the city of Kelowna 2022 resident artist and has held a seat on the board of directors at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art since 2020.
Ann K Chou (Victoria)
Ann K Chou is a visual artist who works with spontaneous brushwork in Chinese calligraphy ink and acrylics. She was born in Hong Kong and grew up by the southern seaside of the island. Ann is a first-generation immigrant who is severely hard of hearing and on the autism spectrum. Her personal history and unique intersectionalities have influenced her art and her desire to create works that break down boundaries and celebrate diversity.
Her preferred art media are lanterns and wearable puppets, which she creates from a variety of materials such as papers, found objects, bamboo, grape vines, and fabrics. She has received training in photography, digital production, soft sculpture, and the language of arts and crafts from community centres and local art schools. Currently, she is in ScreenDance residency, where she is further honing her skills to create all-disabilities accessible art with captions, audio descriptions, and multi-sensory kits.
As a hard-of-hearing person with a deaf accent and a first-generation Cantonese-speaking immigrant, Ann often feels like she does not quite fit into any one community. However, rather than viewing this as a limitation, she embraces it as an opportunity to create something unique and unexpected. As an artist, she believes in the power of breaking things down to rebuild them in new and functional ways.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she rekindled her love for Chinese ink and brush painting, returning to simplicity and Zen. Ann hopes her art inspires others to embrace diversity, and she believes in accessibility to the arts for everyone.
Ann will work with her mentor, Tim Gosley (he/him). Originally from Victoria, Tim is an award winning television and stage puppeteer who is primarily known for his work on Muppet productions.
Summer Tyance (Vancouver)
Summer Tyance (Anishinaabe) is a Queer, Two-Spirit, multidisciplinary artist from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek located in Northwestern Ontario. She is a self-taught painter who has been painting with acrylic for over ten years, and more recently also does beadwork. Other arts they are interested in and have been involved with are podcasting, improv, traditional hand drumming, singing, creative writing, film, and fancy shawl dancing. Summer utilizes art as a way to connect with their Anishinaabe culture, to heal, and to express spirit. She currently is based in Vancouver, BC or xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.
Summer will work with their mentor, Norine Braun (she/her) — singer-songwriter and recording artist. Thanks to a Canada Council For the Arts Award and a First Peoples’ Cultural Council Award in 2021, Norine set her musings during the ongoing pandemic to focus on climate change and the healing power of trees.
Cherie Chai (Prince George)
(Pronouns: she, her)
Facebook: Speak Write Academy
Cherie is a self-taught artist based in Prince George. As a speaker of multiple languages, Cherie has ten years of second language teaching experience under her belt. Deeply passionate about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Cherie founded a social enterprise called Speak Write Academy with the intention of promoting intercultural communication and fostering intercultural trust. Cherie has worked with various community organizations to roll out workshops promoting language and cultural learning. The art forms Cherie has experience with include basic puppetry, choral singing, musical instruments (guitar, piano, drums, and harmonica), mixed media art, and conceptual art. Cherie also holds a Diploma in Horticulture & Landscape Design from Singapore.
Cherie will work with her mentor, Clelia Scala (she/her). Clelia’s work includes mask and puppet design, installations, collage, and illustration. Her explorations into the fantastic and uncanny stem from a lifelong engagement with tales and myths and her interest in the theme of human interaction with the natural world.
Tlanextli Coyotl aka Pablo Ochoa (Salt Spring Island)
Tlanextli Coyotl (Pablo Ochoa) is a Mexican dancer, art facilitator, caregiver, and user experience artist who is passionate about the potential of art to provide intentional spaces for creative expression and collective ritual in a secular context. They have a vast Indigenous bloodline from different parts of Mexico and identify as a queer, two-spirited person of colour. They have started using the náhuatl calendaric name, Tlanextli Coyotl, to reconnect with their origins. Tlanextli regularly works at a day program for people with special needs, facilitating both artistic and recreational activities, as well as providing day-to-day caregiving support. This includes working with individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing, neurodivergent, chronically ill, and need varying levels of assistance. Their part-time work at the day program is complemented by their emergent career as an art facilitator, dance teacher, and user experience artist.
Tlanextli will work with their mentor, Shauna Devlin (she/her). Shauna is a warm & inclusive spirit. As a Group & Movement Facilitator, DJ, Activist, and Catalyst for connection and joy, she uses her love of music and movement to create spaces where all can experience the many benefits of Conscious Dance.
Regan Shrumm (Victoria)
Regan Shrumm is a queer and genderqueer disabled artist, curator, and educator, who has been living on and off the traditional and unceded lands of the Lkwungen-speaking peoples (Victoria, B.C.) for the last 14 years. They are an interdisciplinary artist, whose main practices are social practice, performance, and textiles. Their work is often built on collaboration planning with the community, participatory events, and reciprocal in offering knowledge, learning, and unlearning. They have an MA in Art History from the University of Victoria but have been mostly self-taught in their artistic practices. They have been in residency through the Salt Spring Arts Council and Intrepid Theatre and teach textile workshops at the Vancouver Island School of Art. Previous work includes Permission to Grieve, a series of discussions and mindfulness activities to work towards community healing and Chronically Queer Embroidery Workshops, which involve teaching individuals from disabled and LGBTQIA+ communities how to embroider and learn skills for selling their work.
Regan will work with their mentor, Stephanie Springgay (she/her). Stephanie is Director of the School of the Arts and Professor at McMaster University. She is a leading scholar of research-creation with a focus on walking, affect, queer theory, and contemporary art as pedagogy.
Lindsey Tyne Johnson (Kamloops)
Lindsey is a digital artist and printmaker living and working on the unceded territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. As a trauma survivor, Lindsey creates art that reflects the struggles and triumphs of healing and recovering from personal and intergenerational trauma. Her latest solo show, Hebrew Spelled Backwards, speaks to discovering and healing ancestral and family wounds. After attending the Yukon School of Visual Arts, Lindsey has shown work in various galleries and festivals and is currently an aspiring graphic novelist. It’s a great desire for Lindsey to raise awareness of the pervasive effects of trauma and to garner more awareness and support for survivors and victims of violent crime. She is also finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and is the mother of a rabbit, Bunbun, who is her heart and soul.
Lindsey will work with her mentor, Miriam Libicki (she/her). Miriam is a graphic novelist and has been cartooning since 2003 and screenprinting since 2005. Her primary themes are culture clash and the construction of identity, usually through the prism of her Jewishness and dual American-Israeli citizenship.