LGBTQ+ Artists that You Should Know About
March 20th, 2017
The LGBTQ+ community has been marginalized for many years, and a lot of LGBTQ+ artists do not get the recognition they deserve. While we do commend the work of famous queer celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harrison, Anderson Cooper, Ruby Rose, etc., many queer artists never have the opportunity to be in the limelight simply because they identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are a few artists that you should take note, and who openly identify as queer.
Richard Fung is an award- winning Trinidad-born, Toronto-based artist, writer, and cultural critic. His video-based work generally focuses on challenging and controversial issues that aren’t usually covered in mainstream. His subjects include the role of Asian men in gay pornography to his own family history. His single-channel works and installations have been widely broadcasted in Canada, the USA, and Trinidad and Tobago. His essays have been published in various journals and anthologies within North America.
In 2003, he joined OCAD University as a Professor for the Faculty of Art, teaching courses in Integrated Media and Art and Social Change. In 2015, Fung won the Kessler Award from CLAGS: Centre for LGBTQ Studies at the City University of New York for being a significant influence in the field of LGBTQ Studies.
Jess Dobkin emerged to the art scene in Toronto in 2002, mainly focusing on the performance arts. She is most well known for her 2006 installation, The Lactation Station, that was presented at the Ontario College of Art & Design Professional Gallery. In this installation, Dobkin invites the audience to taste samples of pasteurized human breast milk donated by six lactating new mothers, inviting the audience to confront and discuss the “most intimate of motherhood rites,” according to Dobkin’s website. Her essays, publications, installations, and film productions have been exhibited all throughout Canada and the United States.
Dobkin graduated with a B.A. in Women’s Studies at Oberlin College and a M.F.A. in Performance Arts at Rutgers University. She is currently a Fellow for the University of Toronto Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies Fellowship.
Vivek Shraya is a Toronto- based artist who creates music albums, films, and books. Her first book of poetry, even this page is white, was longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads and was regarded by The Walrus as one of the Best Books of 2016. The Globe and Mail named her debut novel, She of the Mountains, as one of their Best Books, and her first children’s picture book, The Boy & The Bindi, was featured on the National Post Bestseller List. Shraya has performed and read internationally at shows, festivals, and universities. She is one-half of the music duo Too Attached.
Shraya was the 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal. She is also a three-time Lambda Literary Award Finalist, a 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist, and a 2015 recipient of the Dayne Oglivie Prize Honour of Distinction.
Rae Spoon is a Canadian musician, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and author. Their eight solo albums have included folk, indie rock, and electronic genres over the past twelve years, and they have toured in Canada and internationally. Their live performances vary from show to show, and they have performed in different venues such as folk festivals and theatres. Spoon was the subject and composer for the musical-documentary “The Prairie Home”, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.
Spoon was nominated for two Polaris Prizes, a Lambda Literary Award, a Western Canadian Music Award, a CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award, and a MOTHA Transgender Musician of the Year Award.