The Queer Arts Festival (QAF)
The Pride in Art Society (PiA) presents and exhibits with a curatorial vision favouring challenging, thought-provoking art that pushes boundaries and initiates dialogue. As producers of the Queer Arts Festival (QAF) and SUM gallery, PiA brings diverse communities together to support artistic risk-taking, and incite creative collaboration and experimentation.
Pride in Art was founded in 1998 by Two-Spirit artist Robbie Hong, Black artist Jeffery Gibson and a collective of visual artists mounting an annual art exhibition at the Roundhouse Community Centre. Spearheaded by Jewish artist SD Holman and Japanese artist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, Pride in Art incorporated as a nonprofit in 2006, mounting their first multidisciplinary Queer Arts Festival in 2008. In 2018, Artistic Director SD Holman founded SUM gallery as a permanent space presenting multidisciplinary exhibitions and events. At the time of founding, SUM was the only queer-mandated gallery in Canada—not the first, but earlier attempts had succumbed to gentrification, or exhaustion, or both.
QAF is an annual artist-run transdisciplinary art festival at the Roundhouse in Vancouver, BC. Each year, the festival theme ties together a curated visual art exhibition, performing art series, workshops, artist talks, panels, and media art screenings.
QAF has incited dozens of artistic milestones, notably the commissioning and premiere of Canada’s first lesbian opera When the Sun Comes Out by Leslie Uyeda and Rachel Rose in 2013; TRIGGER, the 25th-anniversary exhibition for Kiss & Tell’s notorious Drawing the Line project; Jeremy Dutcher’s first full-length Vancouver concert; Cris Derksen’s monumental Orchestral Powwow; and the award-winning premiere of the play Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts), Lesley Ewen’s fantastical reimagining of multimedia titan Paul Wong’s early career.
Recognized as one of the top 2 festivals of its kind worldwide, QAF’s programming has garnered wide acclaim as “concise, brilliant and moving” (Georgia Straight), “easily one of the best art exhibitions of the year” (Vancouver Sun), and “on the forefront of aesthetic and cultural dialogue today” (Xtra).