Libby Leshgold Gallery

Please join us for an evening of programming to mark the closing of The Coven’s residency at the Libby Leshgold Gallery, as well as Tom Hsu’s solo exhibition Around the Corner.


For the past seven weeks, Ralph Escamillan, Kevin Fraser, and Ross Wirtanen have built on their respective multidisciplinary, community-oriented practices as dancers, choreographers, directors, and mentors. In conversation with the exhibition, Tom Hsu: Around the Corner, each artist occupied the Libby Leshgold’s media gallery for two-week intervals, hosting weekly events and dance-based programming throughout.


Around the Corner, located in the main Gallery space, is a solo exhibition by Vancouver-based artist Tom Hsu. Through his decade-long, diaristic photographic practice that chronicles queer life, Hsu registers the inseparability between the banal tenderness of gesture and the record-keeping work of intimacy. The exhibition, which opened June 24, 2021, spans a wide range of subjects, drawing from Hsu’s many ongoing photographic series.




House of Gvasalia and House of Andromeda
In collaboration with Ralph Escamillan and Van Vogue Jam

(In the event of rain, performance will be held in the Libby Leshgold Gallery)

SW Plaza, Main Entrance


In this live Ballroom performance, Kiki House of Gvasalia will be battling Kiki House of Andromeda. Kiki House of Gvasalia was founded in May 2018 by Vancouver Mother Posh Gvasalia (Ralph Escamillan). Kiki House of Andromeda was founded in 2019 by Mother Ivy Andromeda. Since then, members of the house have walked, won, and judged locally, nationally and internationally in many cities including Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Manila, Thailand and New York City. Both houses are committed to actively acknowledging and supporting the Trans, Queer, Black, and Latinx folk that founded Ballroom culture.


Van Vogue Jam is a Vancouver-based non-profit organization helping to support and build the Vogue/Ballroom scene within Vancouver, BC. By facilitating pay-what-you-can and open-to-all-levels weekly Vogue jams, VVJ seeks to help contribute towards building a culture of dance and competition with the accessibility and safety of the LGBTQIA2+ BIPOC community. In addition to offering weekly classes, VVJ has recently started to organize bi-annual Balls. These balls draw on both local and international talent to nurture the evolving Ballroom community. To learn more about Van Vogue Jam, visit their website at


Origins/How Do We Co-exist?
Performance by Immigrant Lessons with Sophia Gamboa, Sevrin Emnacen-Boyd, Simran Sachar, Joshua Cameron, Hayden Pereira


Reliance Theatre
*Registration and Proof of Vaccination Required*
Register here


ORIGINS/How Do We Co-exist? explores themes of immigration, systemic/intersectional oppression, colonialism, and colourism. Over the course of an evening, five friends journey through stories of ancestry, identity, and beyond to uncover the similarities of what is passed down. Through the mediums of dance, theatre, voice, and spoken word, ORIGINS asks: How do we co-exist?


Established in 2016, Immigrant Lessons is a Vancouver-based arts collective. Immigrant Lessons shifts and morphs, honouring change and transition through investigation and rebellion. Immigrant Lessons exists in multiplicity as an arthouse, research and creation Lab, youth artist incubator, and interdisciplinary performance troupe that explores the mediums of: dance and movement, theatre, film, photography, digital technology, spoken word, creative writing, music, fashion, visual media and design.


The collective is directed and founded by Queer Black (afro-caribbean) interdisciplinary artist, Kevin Fraser. Its core artistic associates include: Sophia Gamboa, Sevrin Emnacen-Boyd, Simran Sachar, Joshua Cameron, Hayden Pereira, Vanessa Yuen, Gregory Jungco, and Joanne Park. In addition to its core members, Immigrant Lessons’ regularly brings in guest mentors, collaborators, and interpreters for its overarching research and projects. With a shared love of movement and art, Immigrant Lessons incorporates extensive street dance, experimental practices, and multidisciplinary ideologies to uplift and provide visibility to often overlooked intersectional communities.


DIRECTOR: Kevin Fraser
MUSIC COMPOSITION: Amine Bouzaher, Jordan Lemoine


Omari Newton
Justine A Chambers
Jillian Christmas
Tonye Aganaba


QUƎER : A Screen Test Series
Screening by Ross Wirtanen featuring: Aidan Ferrier, Madame Lola, Guilherme Babilonia, Tyrel McKenzie, and Uropa Queen


Libby Leshgold Gallery Media Room


Over the span of his residency, Ross Wirtanen interviewed and filmed five local queer artists, showcasing their individual practices and art forms. QUƎER : A Screen Test Series features a variety of processes, including drag, acting, burlesque, and dance. Through film, Wirtanen uplifts these artistic practices, expanding on the diversity of the queer experience.


Ralph Escamillan is a queer, Canadian-Filipinx performance artist, choreographer, teacher, and community leader based in Vancouver. He is trained in a diverse range of street dance styles such as Breakdancing, Popping, House, Waacking, Ballet, Modern, and Contemporary. He has danced with companies throughout Canada and currently dances with Wen Wei Dance and Mascall Dance. Through his company FakeKnot, Escamillan creates inclusive performances that play with the complexities of identity and culture using sound, costume, technology, and the body.


Escamillan is an active participant and organizer in the Vancouver and Canadian Ballroom scene, founding Kiki House of Gvasalia and Van Vogue Jam (VVJ), a non-profit organization that helps support and develop platforms for Vogue and Ballroom in Vancouver. VVJ offers accessible and open Vogue and Ballroom educational sessions and Balls. VVJ strives towards building a culture of dance and competition with accessibility and the safety of the LGBTQIA2S+ BIPOC community at its core.


Kevin Fraser is a Jamaican-born dancer, performance artist, actor, and creative director currently residing in Vancouver. Fraser is versed in many dance forms including Hip hop, Vogue, Waacking, Dancehall, House, Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and African dance. Through movement, fashion and music, he investigates and reorients high and low binaries that exist in traditional dance frameworks. He seeks to hold space for and reflect the lived experiences of his collaborators and aims to create work and opportunities for LGBTQIA2S+ BIPOC communities. He has performed, instructed, and competed professionally throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.


Fraser is the founder and director of art collective Immigrant Lessons. Existing in multiplicity as an arthouse, research/creation lab, youth artist incubator, and interdisciplinary performance troupe, Immigrant Lessons utilizes and explores many mediums including dance, theatre, film, photography, spoken word, creative writing, music, and fashion. Its core artistic associates include Sophia Gamboa, Sevrin Emnacen-Boyd, Simran Sachar, Joshua Cameron, Tegvaran Singh, and Hayden Pereira. Recently, Immigrant Lessons has been exploring different avenues to give back to their community through youth engagement and workshops.


Tom Hsu is an artist currently living and working in Vancouver. His recent exhibitions and projects have been hosted by Burrard Arts Foundation, Macaulay Fine Art, Centre A, and Richmond Art Gallery. He holds a BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.


Ross Wirtanen is an artistic director, choreographer, educator, and dancer currently based in Vancouver. Wirtanen has danced and trained intensively throughout North America and the UK, under some of the most renowned street-dance teachers and choreographers. He has won numerous awards for his choreography and performances in festivals and competitions in Canada and the USA. With such diverse and extensive knowledge of pop culture and movement, Ross strives to expand his versatility as a dancer and push the boundaries in his choreography and artistic direction in both performance and film. Wirtanen is the director of RiaToss Productions, a theatrical and performance art company known for their fashion forward and cutting-edge multidisciplinary work.


The Coven’s residency and Tom Hsu: Around the Corner are part of a series of exhibitions and programs at the Libby Leshgold Gallery organized by curators Phanuel Antwi, Jenn Jackson, and Christian Vistan.


The Libby Leshgold Gallery respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the unceded, traditional and ancestral xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.


The Libby Leshgold Gallery is grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and presenting sponsor RBC Wealth Management.






Canada Council for the Arts


Tom Hsu, Around the Corner (installation view), 2021. Photo by Blaine Campbell