Community Engagement Coordinator
Rafael Zen is a visual artist, curator, writer, and educator from Brazil, currently living in the land of the Coast Salish peoples – Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam (also called Vancouver in its colonial statement). With over 10 years of experience in the cultural segment, he has worked with art collectives, owned a poetic school and book publisher, organized art fairs, and worked as commissioned artist in research projects. Academically, he holds a Master’s degree in Contemporary Artistic Processes and two graduate certificates in “Contemporary Literature” and “Semiotics”. Rafael’s research and curating practices are based on theories of decolonization, anti-capitalism, theories of systems of knowledge used as systems of oppression, contemporary poetic/political processes, and post-structuralism. In 2019, Rafael moved to Vancouver to study artistic practices, and experience new forms of community, and togetherness. He is author of the books: The Swallow Proposition (Poetry,2012); Oral Body (Short Stories, 2015); To The Grandchildren of the Millennium (Poetry, 2019); and Tropical Fevers (Poetry, 2021).
Mel is a first-generation Chinese artist and designer whose parents left Taiwan and Hong Kong in search of a better life many decades ago. She has worked as an artist assistant for local print studios like Moniker Press and as a communications specialist for startups like Hoovie whose focus is to uplift community voices and compensate artists fairly for their work. She has volunteered at the Vancouver Art Book Fair, the Contemporary Art Gallery, for international photographer Dina Goldstein and now Massy Arts Society. In 2020, she completed a UX Design fellowship at Curiko Experience (formerly Kudoz) where she learned about accessibility and inclusive design practices. Mel strongly believes that everyone should have access to art, whether young or old, rich or poor. She is passionate about creating spaces for emerging artists, especially BIPOC and persons with disabilities to foster a more equitable and inclusive community.