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From Family Trees to Origin Stories

Meet the team of brilliant contributors to this webinar!

In our inaugural webinar, we explore intersections between the Arrivals work and family revelations, relationships, memory, and tradition.

Olivia C. Davies is mother to two beautiful daughters, Daisy and Aurora, and is the Artistic Director of O.Dela Arts and the Matriarchs Uprising festival. Between breaths, she is co-creating a choreography for virtual reality audiences that shares the Anishinaabe Seven Fire Prophecies through a portal that takes viewers two hundred years into the future; developing her first mono-drama bio-myth script; and dreaming up the seventh annual Matriarchs Uprising program for 2025. She honors her mixed Anishinaabe-settler roots.

Nikki Shaffeeullah (she/her) is a director, writer, actor, and facilitator who creates theatre, film, and poetry. Past roles include artistic director of The AMY Project, and editor-in-chief of alt.theatre magazine. Currently she is a resident artist with Why Not Theatre and a curator with the National Arts Centre – English Theatre. As a facilitator, Nikki supports grassroots groups to navigate collective processes and to uphold equity and accountability in all aspects of their work. Nikki believes art should disrupt the status quo, centre the margins, engage with the ancient, dream of the future, and be for everyone.

Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff, born in 1968 in Washington DC, has been exhibiting and lecturing on her artwork in national and international settings for more than thirty years, and currently lives and works in the United States.  She received her MFA from Arizona State in 1994.  Kaersten creates mixed media three-dimensional artworks constructed from a combination of organic and industrial materials. Her work is fueled by her interest in American folk medicine and folk magic. The works are not narrative interpretations of these practices; rather she combines materials such as hair, beeswax, and feathers, and techniques such as casting, and fabricating base metals to suggest or echo American folkways.

Sarah Rossy (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tio’tia:ke/Montréal whose work blends jazz, experimental electronics, and visual projections into ethereal soundscapes that are both autobiographical and socially conscious. Sarah’s artistic practice has a core of music and sound, but has fluidly expanded out to incorporate interdisciplinary movement and visual projections. Mentorship with Meredith Monk, explorations of cultural heritage at the Arabic Music Retreat, ancestral research with the Arrivals Legacy Workshop, and residencies at Banff Centre, were all formative experiences which live and breathe in Sarah’s work.  Here is a track from Sarah’s new EP that is relevant to the webinar: https://sarahrossy.bandcamp.com/track/here-now

Dr. Larissa Lai is the author of nine books including, The Lost Century, The Tiger Flu, Salt Fish Girl, and Iron Goddess of Mercy. Recipient of the Jim Duggins Novelist’s Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the Astraea Award, and the Otherwise Honor Book and she has also been a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Governor General’s Award. She has held a Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary, and a Maria Zambrano Fellowship at the University of Huelva. She is currently the Richard Charles Lee Chair of Chinese Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto.

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