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At The Gallery – Taking Flight: The Making of Crow Girl by jaye simpson + Valen Onstine

September 27, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - November 23, 2023 @ 5:00 pm PDT

September 27th 2023 – November 23rd 2023, Massy Arts will host, Taking Flight: The Making of Crow Girl, a new show by Indigenous artists jaye simpson + Valen Onstine.

This original exhibition allows author jaye simpson and artist Valen Onstine the privilege of sharing the artistic process of Crow Girl, an Indigiqueer Two Spirit YA Graphic Novel that focuses on a group of teenagers living in East Vancouver. A space to show the community the work done in order to try and create a story that honours their desire for representation, witnessing and actualization.

jaye and Valen pose the question “What If we could’ve existed the way we wanted to as youth?” in an explorative sequential art narrative. Using graphic illustration and traditional writing methodologies, simpson and Onstine generated the first chapter of Crow Girl on a low barrier zine launch to disperse and populate the literature scene with the possibilities of this story. Planting the seeds of this hopeful and representative story across Commercial Drive, this show hopes to share the dreams we all sometimes have: what if?

Crow Girl isn’t just simpson and Onstine’s story. It’s one of many Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ folks, the many Indigiqueers who exist in the loud, the quiet, in the flutter of a crow’s wing, the ones who shapeshift and sing many parts of the song. A story that they hope uplifts the many, in a way that names our collective might: we are.

Fluttering between sketches, drafts and silly doodles, memes and finished pages of Chapter 1, Taking Flight intends to show you the year long journey to bring everyone the beginning of the Crow Crew’s epic journey throughout East Vancouver.

This project is supported by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver + First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

The Massy Arts Gallery is located at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 5pm.
Entrance is free, and masks are mandatory.

To contact the gallery, send an email to: info@massyarts.com.

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The Artists

jaye simpson (she/they) is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux Indigiqueer from the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. simpson is a writer, advocate and activist sharing their knowledge and lived experiences in hope of creating utopia. she is published in several magazines including Poetry Is Dead, This Magazine, PRISM international, SAD Magazine: Green, GUTS Magazine, SubTerrain, Grain and Room. They are in four anthologies: Hustling Verse (2019), Love After the End (2020), The Care We Dream Of (2021), and Queer Little Nightmares (2022). Their first poetry collection, it was never going to be okay (Nightwood Ed.) was shortlisted for the 2021 ReLit Award and a 2021 Dayne Ogilvie Prize Finalist while also winning the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Poetry in English. she is a displaced Indigenous person resisting, ruminating and residing on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations territories, colonially known as Vancouver.

Valen Onstine is a two-spirit Dane-Zaa & Cree artist based in Langley, BC. He’s been expressing himself with art for over 20 years, creating colourful and confrontational work that takes inspiration from his Indigenous experience, nature, & feelings that are better explained through imagery than words. Primarily self taught, Valen took to art as a means of expression & exploration. Through digital & traditional mediums like markers, oil pastels, paints, and sculpture, Valen translates shape, weight, form, and energy into vivid and emotive pieces. Valen has been featured by Vines Art Festival multiple times, on the Ologies instagram, created chapbook covers for local poets Kit Tempo & Catherine Garett, and has worked with artist jaye simpson several times over the years. Valen has lived all around BC, & feels it connects to his people’s history as semi-nomads. He grew up in Quesnel — ground zero for Canadian colonization — and spent around a decade living in the Okanagan as an adult. Living in the Lower Mainland has been a long term goal, and since relocating has fostered his skill and creativity with the support of his urban Indigenous kin.

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September 27, 2023 @ 12:00 pm PDT
November 23, 2023 @ 5:00 pm PDT


23 East Pender Street
Vancouver, BC Canada
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