Indigenous Brilliance 

Stories hold the incredible power to heal wounds, connect people, and bridge generations. 

We acknowledge we operate on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and occupied territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

The Indigenous Brilliance Collective contributes to various collaborations between Room Magazine, Massy Books and The Art Ecosystem. Our work is centred in celebrating Indigenous women/2SQ storytellers. Further, we have grown to prioritize active uplifting and space holding for Black, Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous creatives as a practice of embodied solidarity building and kinship connection.

“We believe that this is an incredibly important time to be centering Indigenous stories and to be shining the spotlight on the brilliance that exists in our communities”. 

We hope that the Indigenous Brilliance series will reflect this belief.
The series grew out of the shared desire of Massy Books owner Patricia Massy and Room Magazine editorial board members Jónína Kirton and Jessica Johns to raise the voices of Indigenous women, Two Spirit and queer writers. Later, jaye simpson, Emily Dundas Oke, Karmella Benedito De Barros, and most recently Lexi Mellish Mingo joined the ever growing collective. Each member offers Indigenous Brilliance an invaluable set of skills, ideas, perspective and energy. We are grateful to share creative and organizational space together, and hope to continue growing into the future as a collective.

This series is the result of different communities coming together with a shared vision of Indigenous resurgence: a resurgence that exists through the act of making space for ourselves and each other, through community building, and through the radical act of living and loving. We want to celebrate Indigenous stories, the different ways we think, share, and perform. We hope this series will allow us to come together to stand behind those voices while we’re standing with each other.

Keep up to date with our events, workshops, podcast episodes and more on this page and on our social media below!

Latest Events and Projects

2021 Art Ecosystem: Workshop 5

The final virtual workshop of the year has arrived! We are honoured to close out the calendar year and the first series of the BIPOC Art Ecosystem virtual workshops with Desiree Daweson facilitating Music Meditation. Join us on Saturday, November 27th at 1pm PST for this online workshop.

Learn more about BIPOC Art Ecosystem virtual workshops and register

The Indigenous Brilliance Podcast

Indigenous Brilliance Podcast (Season 2)
The Indigenous Brilliance Collective and Art Ecosystem have come together to create season two of the Indigenous Brilliance Podcast (2022). Featuring chats about community care and mobilization, rest as resistance, growing connections in cyberspace, surviving and thriving during a global pandemic and more.
This podcast series centers Black and Indigenous solidarity building, intersectional learning and decolonizing the arts and literature scene on xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlilwəta’Ɂɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations territories, colonially known as Vancouver, BC.
Music by Edzi’u // Transcription by Lexi Mellish Mingo

Issue 44.3 Virtual Launch

Issue 44.3 Virtual Launch happened last November 6th, 2021. It featured live readings from various artists and authors featured in this issue. Watch the recording.

Apply to participate in the Indigenous Brilliance Reading Series 

 

Our next reading will take place in Fall 2022!  

All interested artists will be considered for all events for this and future years. We will be actively seeking out Indigenous artists for this series in various other forms, as we understand that this platform isn’t accessible to everyone; therefore, if you’d like to nominate an Indigenous artist, please contact us with their information and we’ll be happy to reach out. We’d like to be as far reaching as possible. We want to see everyone.

Artists will each have 10-15 minutes of performance time for readings, and 30-60 minute online interviews for the podcast. Each artist will receive an honorarium of $100 for their contribution.

Email your application information to indigenousbrilliance@roommagazine.com and karmella@roommagazine.com

  • Name, contact info, and a bio, including a brief statement of your Indigenous heritage.
  • The date (or dates) of the reading series that you’d be available to read.
  • A description of your storytelling practice* and what you might like to perform at the Indigenous Brilliance event.

The Indigenous Brilliance reading series will be held at Massy Books, located at 229 E Georgia St, by owner Patricia Massy. It is with great respect and gratitude that we hold this reading series on the tradition, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people.

Follow Massy Books on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on future reading events.

*We are currently not hosting our quarterly readings at Massy Books or online due to covid-19 and the collective’s capacity. All readings will take place online until further notice.

We are always looking for storytelling of all kinds: written, spoken-word, performance, singing, dancing, comedy, etc. We are also looking for Indigenous visual artists to showcase at events as well, so please get a hold of us if you would like a space to showcase your work! We hope to host more events in the near future and also will consider your application to be featured on our podcast.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Massy Arts Society

Massy Arts Society

Massy Arts Society is a community hub dedicated to supporting the practices of Indigenous and underrepresented artists. programming is extensive in its multiple forms. We situate our work in a sense of community developed through exhibitions, workshops, book launches, readings and more.

Massy Arts seeks to galvanize community spirit by providing a space where readers, writers, and artists can come together.

We acknowledge we operate on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and occupied territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

The Art Ecosystem

Created and organized by collective members Lexi Mellish Mingo and Karmella Benedito De Barros, The Art Ecosystem is an explorative response to barriers experienced by BIPOC artists, makers and movement leaders as they pursue their creative and cultural practices through community.

Our online (and hopefully one day, in person) space was created so that artists and makers can create, learn and collaborate in a safe and supportive environment. This is a process of inquiry into how we can support each other’s practices, share knowledge and learn in community during a global pandemic and the digital age.
Together with Indigenous Brilliance and Part of Studio, the Art Ecosystem is facilitating a series of workshops and social media content led by Black and Indigenous artists, makers and movement leaders. The workshops prioritize QTBIPOC folks, while also inviting the broader community in to learn and support the project and the work that intersects it. Stay tuned on our instagram linked below for upcoming 2022 workshops and events! 

Linktree: bipocartecosystem
Email: karmella@roommagazine.com and lexi@partof.studio

44.3 Indigenous Brilliance cover

Issue 44.3 Indigenous Brilliance

Edited by the Indigenous Brilliance Collective, Room Magazine Issue 44.3 features work celebrating Black and Indigenous brilliance in multi mediums. As the first full colour Room Magazine print, issue 44.3 features beautiful artwork from various artists including Ocean Hyland, Whess Harmann and many more.

The poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in these pages will grip and still your heart, transport you somewhere new, and conjure whole other worlds to lose yourself in.

We are honoured that this issue leaves us with a brilliant BackRoom interview with Senaqwila Wyss, who shares visions of the territories from which our work is carried out. We are thrilled to share a glimpse into her expansive practice, and look forward to continue to learn from her.

Get your own copy of Issue 44.3 Indigenous Brilliance.

Read the Letter From The Editors, featuring interviews with all the Indigenous Brilliance team regarding this special issue.

Black History Month

For the month of February, the Indigenous Brilliance collective and Room Magazine shared weekly content on the @indigenousbrilliance Instagram page, as well as over here on the Room website. During this month, collective member Karmella led the exploration of various topics regarding Black, and Afro-Indigenous histories, realities and futurisms.

Read the Room Magazine Black History Month 2021 content

Through interviews, curated media recommendations and explorative blog posts related to the topic of Black/Afro-Indigeneity on Turtle Island, this series is one to check out anytime during the year.

Indigenous Brilliance Podcast Art

The Indigenous Brilliance Podcast

The Indigenous Brilliance Podcast features innovative and exciting episodes, highlighting the multi-disciplinary voices of Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, and Indigiqueer artists and creatives as we discuss cultural resurgence in Indigenous arts.

Hosted by Vancouver local creatives jaye simpson and Karmella Benedito De Barros, the Indigenous Brilliance Podcast carves out space for the celebration and witnessing of this beautifully visionary community.

Keep up to date with our new and archived episodes on the Room Magazine website. If you are, or know someone who might be interested in featuring on the podcast, send an email to karmella@roommagazine.com. We will continue to schedule episodes through 2022 and are welcoming submissions and recommendations for future interviews.

Listen to Indigenous Brilliance Podcast Season 1 episodes on Soundcloud and stay tuned for Season 2 coming soon in 2022!

Meet the Collective

Indigenous Brilliance Podcast Art
Image credit: Silvey Sampson, Indigenous Brilliance Cover Art, 2020

Patricia Massy, co-founder and co-curator, is of Cree and English descent and a member of the As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation (Kelly Lake Cree Nation)

Jessica Johns, co-curator, is a nehiyaw aunty and member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta

Emily Dundas Oke, co-curator and organizer, is a grateful Cree, Métis, Scottish, and English visitor on the unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations

Karmella Cen Benedito De Barros, co-curator, organizer and Indigenous Brilliance Community Engagement Leader, is an inner-city Indigiqueer with Mistawasis Treaty 6 and Afro-Brazilian ancestry. They are a Multidisciplinary Artist and Community Worker born and raised in diaspora as a guest on the unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam territories. Karmella currently co-leads the BIPOC Art Ecosystem project, and is the Indigenous Brilliance Community Engagement leader. They also support Earthseed: a Parable of the Sower Book Club with the Lucid Arts Collective. You can reach Karmella at karmella@roommagazine.com 

Lexi Mellish Mingo, co-curator and organizer with BIPOC Art Ecosystem, is a multi-disciplinary artist living and creating on the unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Musqueam Nations. Descending from both Afro-Guyanese, English and Scottish ancestry, her work is inspired by the complexity of diasporic experiences, and the process of place making, through community collaboration and dialogue. 

Many thanks to Jónína Kirton for co-hosting the first two events, and for first collaborating with Patricia Massy to make this series a reality. This series wouldn’t exist today without her love, dedication, and work. Jónína is a Métis/Icelandic poet, author & facilitator who was born in Treaty 1 and is a descendant of French, Scottish and English fur-traders, her Indigenous ancestry includes Swampy Cree, Ojibwe, Assiniboine, Nakota and Sekani.

A special thank you to jaye simpson, co-curator, for co-creating a beautiful and sacred space for our collective to work and exist within. The Indigneous Brilliance collective has grown so much because of jaye’s leadership, guidance and inclusivity. They have carved out space for Emily and Karmella to join the collective, and have brought us so much laughter and good medicine during their time with us. They are onto new projects and are no longer actively part of the Indigenous Brilliance collective, but we honour them in our work always. jaye continues to co-host the Indigenous Brilliance Podcast with Karmella and Lexi, bringing the biggest auntie laughs to the show! jaye simpson is an Oji-Cree Trans Femme Two Spirit warrior & writer whose roots hail from the Sapotaweyak & Skownan Cree Nation, Treaty 2 & 4 Territory in Manitoba.

We are currently accepting emails for anyone interested in collaborating with our collective. If you would like to facilitate a workshop with The Art Ecosystem, read in a future Indigenous Brilliance event, or be featured on the Indigeneous Brilliance podcast, please reach out to karmella@roommagazine.com 

'The Spirit Within' mask

The Spirit Within

Amanda Hugon
Alder, horse hair, Abalone, Acrylic, copper wire.
11” L x 9” W x 6 ¼”D

Strength is portrayed in this two-spirited mask. She is a warrior. Her spirit is represented on the forehead, and serves as a reminder of the journey she has taken to get where she is today. She has some scars and natural defects, but her beauty and strength shine through. The abalone inlay represents pride and a high ranking woman in society. Her earrings, a symbol of wealth and identity.

Photo credit: Jessie Lane Kirton