Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Centre A Arts Writing Mentorship 2022

We are delighted to announce the 8 participants of our inaugural Arts Writing Mentorship Program! We received a high volume of remarkable applications, and we are proud to introduce this amazing cohort of emerging writers. Over the course of 12 weeks, the cohort will learn from established writers, editors, artists, and curators in a professional setting, while receiving exclusive networking opportunities, mentorship, supervision, and feedback on their writing. The mentorship will consist of weekly programming such as guest talks by local and international writers and curators, field trips and site visits to local artist studios and galleries, guided workshops with mentors, and peer-to-peer reviews.

We would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council for making this project happen.








Participant Bios:

Kitty Cheung

Kitty Cheung is a Cantonese Canadian writer living and creating on unceded Katzie, Tsawwassen, Stó:lo, WASNEC and Kwantlen land. Her writing zips between poetry, short stories, zines, and comics. With a fondness for stories overlapping cultural identity, queerness, and mental health, she is excited to build her writing practice with Centre A’s Arts Writing Mentorship. She looks forward to becoming more involved in her local literary community, meeting fellow Asian Canadian writers, and expanding her portfolio of published writing. Currently an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University, she studies Interactive Arts and Technology with a minor in World Literature. Her writing has been published in The Peak SFU, The Lyre, Ricepaper Magazine, and Best Canadian Poetry 2021. Kitty finds solace in zebra pens and drag shows.


Janice Esguerra

Janice Esguerra is a young emerging writer and multidisciplinary artist from East Vancouver. She is a recent graduate from UBC’s Creative Writing BFA program, and has a heavy interest in fiction, non-fiction, creative journalism, photography, poetry, and hybrid forms. Within the Center A Mentorship, she aims to become more familiarized with POC artists and writers, educate herself on identity politics, broaden her understanding of contemporary art, to experiment more with hybrid forms, and immerse herself in the work of other BIPOC artists/writers.



Karl Hipol

I am Karl Mata Hipol, born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada in 2015. Currently, I live, work, and create in the unceded territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, also known as the North Vancouver. I am an emerging multidisciplinary artist and curator. And an upcoming graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a Bachelor’s degree in FineArts major in Visual Arts, and a minor in Curatorial Practice. The list of Galleries I have exhibited includes Burrard Arts Foundation (2022), Burnaby Village Museum (2022), Centre A (2021), Seymour Art Gallery (2021), and Headline Gallery (2021), The Reach Gallery Museum (2020-21). Here, I worked with the Gallery’s permanent collection and collaborated with other professional BIPOC artists to create and encourage diverse and enriched conversations through the arts.


Fidelia Lam

Fidelia Lam is a Canadian multimedia artist and scholar whose work attends to the shared ground of Asian/American diaspora, aesthetics, technology, and urban space through recursive assemblages of code, animation, projection, sound, and bodies alongside critical inquiry. Her multimodal and interdisciplinary practice leverages an autotheoretical diasporic lens to examine the affective and aesthetic legacies and mutations of empire and colonialism in contemporary culture. Her practice is guided by practices of diasporic movement across geographies and urban spaces; her parents immigrated to British Columbia in the 90s from Hong Kong; Lam was born and raised moving within the Pacific Northwest (in both Canada and the United States) and would visit Hong Kong during summers. Fidelia is currently an Annenberg Fellow, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow, and PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Media Arts and Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She splits her time between Vancouver, BC and Los Angeles, CA. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of her work, Lam often writes in entangled polyphonic voices, and will use this mentorship to clarify the relationships between the various modes of writing she engages in.


Asumi Oba

Asumi Oba was born and raised in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Hanover College, IN, USA and a Master’s degree in Art History from the University of British Columbia. She currently works as a Special Projects Coordinator at the Contemporary Art Gallery in downtown. Currently, Asumi resides in “East Vancouver” on a traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Stz’uminus people as an uninvited guest.

Through this program, Asumi hopes to expand her writers’ network, learn how to allocate time and energy efficiently to produce a professional piece, and slowly begin a long-time process of unlearning her academic way of writing about art. She would like to start approaching her writing as a way of supporting artists and their career advancement.


Parikshit Mukerjee

Pari (they/his) is an Indian storyteller and chronicler based out of Vancouver, Canada. As an emerging BIPOC artist, Pari uses digital media as their primary platform for artistic expression, which centres on South Asian knowledge-translation by blending genres in writings, sonics and visuals. A passionate believer in community-driven healing, Pari has recently served as a Literacy Mentor for inner-city kids in Vancouver as well as an Awareness Volunteer for the DTES area. His formal training in Rehabilitation Sciences has also empowered Pari to embrace a vocation in arts, which he believes to be yet another outlet for healing that brings forth deep-rooted connections between our infinite mind and our finite bodies. Pari is keen to explore through this program the intersection of collective and intergenerational trauma within Asian households and how their osmosis may uphold cycles of delayed grief across generations. Consequently, Pari intends to work closely with like-minded peers and mentors in the Program to refine their writing as a storytelling craft and tap into aligned community-driven opportunities for the evolution and advancement of contemporary Asian-diasporic themes across the City.


Weijin Ross

Weijin Ross is an artist and writer who aims to make intangible, slippery sensations into physical artefacts. Her visual arts practice centres mainly in textiles and printmaking, but she likes to experiment, bringing disparate elements together, teasing out harmony from seemingly contrary components. She is currently a third year interaction design student at Emily Carr University, where she also works as a peer writing tutor. She looks forward to being a part of a collective of Asian voices exploring beyond the dominant, the centre, the spotlight. Through the Centre A’s Arts Writing Mentorship Program, she hopes to unearth new ways that writing and art criticism can benefit the broader community, and help to explore her own identity.



Kimberly Sayson

Kimberly Ang Sayson is a writer and administrative professional, born to Filipino Chinese parents on the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, where she currently lives and works. She attended Mount Allison University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kimberly is office and systems coordinator at The Tyee and previously worked at Pride in Art, producers of the Queer Arts Festival and SUM Gallery.





Mentor Bios:

Allan Cho

Allan Cho is an academic librarian, literary editor, and community organizer. Writings about libraries, publishing, critical race theory, and Asian Canadian culture. Allan completed his BA and Master’s in Modern Chinese History, Master’s of Library and Information Studies (MLIS), and Master’s of Educational Technology (M.E.T.) at the University of British Columbia. His thesis The Hong Kong Wuxia movie: identity and politics, 1966-1976 explores the history of the postwar city, focusing on the intellectual history of the Chinese diaspora, and examining the production and critical reception of the martial arts wuxia movie in Hong Kong during the 1960sand 1970s. As Community Engagement Librarian at the University of British Columbia, Allan works closely with historically underrepresented and marginalized communities in British Columbia on cultural and heritage preservation and outreach. From 2003 to 2008, Allan was the Editor in Chief of Perspectives Newspaper, the first Chinese-English bilingual student newspaper in Canada. He is currently the Executive Editor of Ricepaper Magazine, festival director of LiterASIAN Writers Festival, and the Executive Director of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop (ACWW). Having discovered through genealogical research that his great-great-grandfather had arrived in Vancouver in 1899 and great-grandfather in Vancouver in 1912, Allan is currently working on a book project on the transnational journey of his family within the context of global migration in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Bopha Chhay

Bopha Chhay is a writer and curator who lives and works on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, also known as Vancouver. She is the Director/Curator at Artspeak, an artist-run centre with a specific mandate to encourage dialogue between visual arts and text/writing practices. She has held positions at Enjoy Public Art Gallery (New Zealand), Afterall (Contemporary arts research and publishing), Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design (UK), and 221A Artist Run Centre Society (Vancouver). Her curatorial practice is frequently guided by a thematic query that shapes programming over the course of a year; guided by the research areas of transnationalism and diaspora, collective practices, alternative formats, art and labour, sound, independent publishing, and study groups.



In conjunction with the Centre A Writing Mentorship, we are happy to announce the Centre A Speaker Series.



Return to this page for more information.


Speaker Bios:

Cecily Nicholson (May 5, 2022 – open to public)

Cecily Nicholson is a poet and organizer. Her most recent book Wayside Sang won the Governor General’s award for English-language poetry. Her forthcoming title HARROWINGS (Talonbooks, 2022), is a study in black ruralities, almanac, agricultural, and art histories. Cecily volunteers with community impacted by carcerality and food insecurity and works in education. She was the 2021 Writer-in-Residence for the University of Windsor.




Rita Wong (May 12, 2022)

Rita Wong is a poet-scholar who attends to the relationships between water justice, ecology, and decolonization. She has co-edited an anthology with Dorothy Christian entitled Downstream: Reimagining Water, based on a gathering that brought together elders, artists, scientists, writers, scholars, students and activists around the urgent need to care for the waters that give us life.

A recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writer Award, Wong is the author of current, climate (Wilfrid Laurier UP 2021), beholden (Talonbooks, 2018, with Fred Wah), undercurrent (Nightwood, 2015), perpetual (Nightwood, 2015, with Cindy Mochizuki), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai), forage (Nightwood, short-listed for the 2008 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, winner of Canada Reads Poetry 2011), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998).

Wong works to support Indigenous communities’ efforts towards justice and health for water, having witnessed such work at the Peace River, the Wedzin Kwa, Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek, the Columbia River, the Fraser River, the Salish Sea, and the Arctic Ocean watershed. She understands that when these waterways are healthy, life will be healthy too, and that we cannot afford to endanger and pollute the waters that sustain our lives.


John Tain (May 19, 2022 – open to public) – Register HERE

John Tain is Head of Research at Asia Art Archive. His recent projects include AAA’s contribution to documenta fifteen (2022); Art Schools of Asia (2021-22) a gathering of researchers surveying the intersection of the pedagogical and the social in the recent
histories of Asia; the exhibition Crafting Communities (2020), devoted to the Thailand-based Womanifesto project; and MAHASSA (Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, 2019-2020), a collaboration with the Dhaka Art Summit and the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University. He is an editor for the Exhibition Histories series with Afterall and CCS Bard, the latest volume of which is Art and Its Worlds: Exhibitions, Institutions, and Art Becoming Public (2021). He also serves as an advisor for Asia Forum, an ongoing discursive program. He was previously a curator for modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.



Jac Renée Bruneau (May 26, 2022)

Jac Renée Bruneau is a critic, writer, and National Magazine Award-winning editor who is currently the Editor of C Magazine. Queer sensibilities, methodologies, and il/logics permeate her practice. Her work can be read in The Brooklyn Rail, Cinemascope, Momus, Canadian Art, in accompanying texts for Douglas Watt (Downs & Ross, NYC), Charlotte Prodger (LUX, London), Erdem Ta?delen (Mercer Union, Toronto), and Karen Kraven (Latitude 53, Edmonton), and elsewhere.




Nasrin Himada (Jun 2, 2022)

Nasrin Himada is a Palestinian writer and curator currently based in Kingston Ontario on Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. Their writing on contemporary art has appeared in many national contemporary art publications, including Canadian Art, C Magazine, MICE, and Fuse. They have collaborated with film festivals and art institutions in Canada and the US, among them the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Trinity Square Video, Toronto; Fondation PHI pour l’art contemporain, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, and the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in Montreal; Mercer Union, Toronto. Nasrin’s recent project For Many Returns typifies their current curatorial interests. The series is designed to explore the possibilities of art writing as a relational act. Since its debut at Dazibao in Montréal, it has toured across Canada, the US and Europe. Currently, they hold the position of Associate Curator at Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Photo Credit: Kristin Li


Yaniya Lee (Jun 16, 2022)

Yaniya Lee’s writing, research and collaboration focus on the ethics of aesthetics. She has written about art for museums and galleries across Canada, as well as for Vogue, Flash, FADER, Art in America, Vulture, VICE Motherboard, Chatelaine, Canadian Art and C Magazine. Lee taught Art Criticism at the University of Toronto from 2018-2021, and has frequently worked with collaborators on symposiums, programs and workshops.

In November 2019, Lee and curator Denise Ryner co-convened the Bodies, Borders, Fields Symposium in Toronto. In 2021, Lee and Ryner guest-edited Chroma, a special issue of Canadian Art magazine dedicated to black artists and black art histories. Lee was a member of the editorial team at Canadian Art magazine from 2017-2021, and she joined the Archives books publishing collective last year.

Recent workshop collaborations include: WhAt She SaId: Promiscuous References & Disobedient Care (with Cason Sharpe and Zoe Sharpe); Song. Prayer. Scream. A praxis of looking (with Jessica Lynne), Desire x Politics (with Fan Wu) and Ideas From Moving Water (with Lillian O’Brien Davis, Letticia Cosbert Miller and Tiana Reid).


David Garneau (July 14, 2022 – open to public)

David Garneau (Métis) is Head of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. He is a painter, curator and critical art writer interested in creative expressions of Indigenous contemporary ways of being. Garneau curated Kahwatsiretátie: The Contemporary Native Art Biennial (Montreal, 2020) with assistance from Faye Mullen and rudi aker; co-curated, with Kathleen Ash Milby, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound, National Museum of the American Indian, New York (2017); With Secrecy and Despatch, with Tess Allas, an international exhibition about massacres of Indigenous people, and memorialization, for the Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney, Australia (2016); and Moving Forward, Never Forgetting, with Michelle LaVallee, an exhibition concerning the legacies of Indian Residential Schools, other forms of aggressive assimilation, and (re)conciliation, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina (2015). Recent essays include: “From Indian to Indigenous: Temporary Pavilion to Sovereign Display Territories.” In Search of Expo 67. 2020. “Electric Beads: On Indigenous Digital Formalism.” Visual Anthropology Review. 2018. Garneau has recently given keynotes in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Canada on issues such as: mis/appropriation; re/conciliation; public art; museum displays; and Indigenous contemporary art. His performance, Dear John, featuring the spirit of Louis Riel meeting with John A. Macdonald statues, was presented in Regina, Kingston, and Ottawa. David recently installed a large public art work, the Tawatina Bridge paintings, in Edmonton. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.


Monika Gagnon (Jun 30, 2022 – open to public) – Register HERE.

Monika Kin Gagnon is a Professor of Communication Studies at Concordia University. She has published widely on cultural politics, the visual and experimental media arts since the 1980s. She is author of Other Conundrums: Race, Culture and Canadian Art (2000), and 13 Conversations about Art and Cultural Race Politics (2002) with Richard Fung. She is co-editor of Reimagining Cinema: Film at Expo 67 (2014) with Janine Marchessault and In Search of Expo 67 (2020), a companion to the exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal for the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, which she co-curated with Lesley Johnstone. She curated La Vie polaire/Polar Life, a digital simulation of the 11-screen Expo 67 film for Cinémathèque québécoise (2014), and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha | Immatérial for DHC Art/Centre Phi (2015). Forthcoming publications include “Into the Archive with Joyce Wieland: Bill’s Hat (1967),” (JCAH|AHAC 41:1/2) and her conversation with filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, “Before I made films, I was singing,” in Alanis Obomsawin: Lifework (Berlin: HKW/Prestel). She is currently working on Posthumous Cinema: Unfinished Films in the Archives.


Su-Ying Lee (July 7, 2022)

Su-Ying Lee is an independent curator and has also worked in institutions as Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), Curator in Residence at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, and Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. She received a Masters Degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto and is an alumnus of the Toronto Arts Council/Banff Centre’s Cultural Leaders’ Lab. Her projects have taken place across Canada, in Hong Kong, Mexico City and Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines where she co-curated the third Kamias Triennial Manila.

Su-Ying lives in Toronto/ Tkaronto/Taranton/Gichi Kiiwenging Canada, the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River, a place that continues to be the meeting place and home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and beyond. She is grateful to have the opportunity to live and work on this land. For more information visit



Renée Sarojini Saklikar (August 20, 2022 – open to public) – Register HERE.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar is the author of four award winning books, including children of air india, and Listening to the Bees. She was the first poet laureate for the City of Surrey (2015-2018). Renée’s newest book is Bramah and The Beggar Boy, an epic fantasy in verse, (Nightwood Editions, 2021).  Find out more at

Photo Credit: Sandra Vander Schaaf