Press Release

“Inclusion 2019” Art Exhibit To Highlight Twelve Artists from Our LGBTQ+ Communities!

Montréal, July 12, 2019 – The Montréal Pride Festival, presented by TD in collaboration with Casino de Montréal, today unveiled the names of twelve artists from Montréal’s sexual and gender diversity communities, who will exhibit their works in the “Inclusion 2019” exhibit that was curated by artist Yunus Chkirate. The participating artists’ diversity in terms of their respective stories and of the media they work in (paint, photography, sculpture, etc.) will make the “Inclusion 2019” exhibit a reference as regards artistic production by our communities of the sexual and gender diversity. The exhibit will be open to all from August 13 to the 18, 2019 and held the new premises of the SDC du Village, located at 1211, Saint-Catherine Street East.

“From the moment I came out, I’ve always worn my sexual identity and title as an artist as badges of honour. Now, I’ve been given a new honour by Montréal Pride: to coordinate and curate an exhibition showcasing not only incredible artistic talents, but also the diversity within our communities,” explains Yunus Chkirate, the curator.

Montréal Pride’s mission has always been an inclusive one, highlighting the myriad of diversity within our communities, says Chkirate. “This aligns perfectly with the Arts, as we not only have a diversity of mediums and techniques within the artworks themselves, but as well as in this group of artists who represent numerous ethnicities, identities and orientations,” he adds. “Art is a powerful communicator and there is a beauty in unifying all these different voices in one space. The new space, graciously provided by SDC du Village, will be a professional gallery in which all the artists will have a venue to exhibit their latest creations with all our communities. Hence the exhibit’s “Inclusion” theme”.

For Yunus Chkirate who participated in the 2011 exhibition, taking on the mantle from Jean-Pierre Perusse, the project’s initiator and representing all the artists for the duration starting with the August 13th launch event, is a duty of pride, love and respect.

Great diversity of participating artists:

  • Ianna Book, trans person;
  • Joannie Boulais, homosexual person;
  • Marc Chabot, homosexual person;
  • Simon Cholette, homosexual person;
  • inkedKenny, homosexual person of colour;
  • Kando, person of colour;
  • Gérardo Labarca, homosexual person of colour;
  • Kama La Mackerel, queer person of colour;
  • Dave Lavoie, homosexual person;
  • Olicorno, homosexual person;
  • Laurence Philomène, trans/non binary person.

Ianna Book

Ianna Book is a multidisciplinary artist and trans advocate living and working in Montréal. She studied Plastic arts at Cégep du Vieux-Montréal between 1997 and 2000 and completed her studies in visual and media arts at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) from 2001 to 2005. Professionally, she has worked as a graphic designer and has been an editorial illustrator. As an artist she has been participating in collective exhibitions since 2001. In 2011, during the Radical Queer Week, she exhibited her first work as a trans artist. Between 2010 and 2013, during her transition, she published “Trans Avenue” a photographic essay associating transsexuality and urban life. In 2014, she acted as commissioner of “Trans Time”, an international exhibit of works by trans artists, first presented in Montréal, and two years later, in Paris in 2016. In the Spring of 2016, she was invited for a solo exhibit at the Leslie & Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, in New York City. She is currently part of the selection of the Elisabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art of the Brooklyn Museum.

Joannie Boulais

After obtaining her B.A. degree in visual and media arts at UQÀM in 2009, the artist developed and perfected her hybrid sculptural work. Following her first solo exhibitions at the Matane, Québec Art Gallery and at Les Territoires Art Centre, in Montréal in 2011, Joannie has taken part in several group exhibitions in Québec and abroad, notably in Argentina, Spain, France and in Japan in 2012 and 2013. During the winter of 2013, she completed a creative residency at Winnipeg’s Maison des artistes visuels francophones de St-Boniface, thanks to a bursary from the Québec Arts and Letters Council (CALQ). Following three years of intense development, she was awarded a Master’s degree in visual and media arts (creation) by UQÀM in 2017. Joannie Boulais lives, studies, and entertains herself in Montréal.

Marc Chabot

A trained architect and mixed media artist, Marc Chabot constantly creates works in two media: painting on canvas and collage with paint on wood. A native of Québec City, he worked for ten years the family printing and bookbinding business. He developed the desire to work with materials such as paper, glue and gold leaf and paper cutting techniques. He started painting after a study trip he made following his graduation from architecture school.

Architecture in all of its forms is his main creative influence. It can be found figuratively in his paintings while it is referenced as more of an abstraction in his collages. The collages he makes on wood are inspired by the fencing of building sites covered by multiple posters that have been glued into place, torn off and glued back again.

Simon Cholette

Simon Cholette was born in Repentigny, Québbec in December 1993. At an early age, he became passionate about the arts and in particular, about drawing. This discipline allowed Simon to channel his creativity and materialize his ideas. At college, he studied these disciplines and obtained his diploma in visual arts in 2019.

Self exploration, sexuality and current LGBTQ+ community issues are recurring references in his artistic approach. With his curious and sensitive outlook, Simon Cholette seeks to delve deeper and engage in the world that surrounds him through his drawings.


inkedKenny, changed art forms completely – going from art direction and hair for fashion to his incarnation as a photographer. His life path is also full of unique detours: he was found abandoned in Macau at the age of six months. He was adopted and brought to Vancouver, where he grew up. At seventeen, he took off for New York and then found himself going up and down the west coast of America, searching for his calling. He would find it in the world of fashion with barbering turning into hair and makeup design for fashion and advertising clients. In 2006, the passing of his lover changed his life. Taking time off to mourn left him out of the loop professionally, and made it near impossible to return to his old work. It is on the suggestion of a friend that he picked up a camera, something he hadn’t really done since eighth grade. From that point on, InkedKenny did not look back. From his very first exhibit at La Petite Mort Gallery in Ottawa, and the first publication of his work in Bruno Gmunder Anthologies, his career has flourished with multiple exhibitions internationally. His work in the fetish community has also garnered him several awards.


Kando was born in Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Originally a self-taught artist, he began by spontaneously depicting everyday street scenes. He quickly developed a style. He studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, where he was able to explore various visual arts media. In 2009, following a few exhibitions at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa gallery, and at the Centre Culturel Belge Wallonie-Bruxelles à Kinshasa, Kando established himself in Montréal where he completed his studies in Art and Design at UQÀM.

His work has been featured on the covers of TicArtToc and Droits et libertés magazines. In 2017, he was nominated for an award at the Gala Dynastie, and was among the big winners of the Art Ici competition, launched by Newad, the media agency. In Québec, his work has been exhibited at the Université de Sherbrooke, Mtl en Arts, and at Montréal’s City Hall. In 2018, Kando was invited as an artist in residence for the Afropolitan Nomad festival in Dakar, where he presented his work. He also exhibited work at the American Amref Health Africa annual gala in 2018.

Gérardo Labarca

Gérardo Labarca’s path is quite atypical for a painter. He enjoyed a highly successful career in the restaurant business in Montréal (Pinxto, Zumaia, Bar and Beef and Mezcla restaurants) before embarking on the adventure of painting. He is still experimenting with certain media, giving him the opportunity to explore many horizons! A self-taught portraitist, Gérardo strives to capture the soul and essence of the characters he chooses to bring to life on canvas. The attention to detail and perfection evident in his work contrasts beautifully with the light and carefree style he employs, while still portraying the intensity of the feelings that characterize his subjects – whether they are timeless icons or loved ones. Through the story of his work, we learn to understand this artist. We can feel his joie de vivre, and experience a certain wonder about his raw talent. The combination of the different techniques he uses reflects the many aspects of his diverse and inspiring personality.

Kama La Mackerel

Kama La Mackerel is multi-disciplinary artist, writer, educator and cultural mediator who hails from Mauritius and now lives in Montréal. Their work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, and self- and collective-empowerment. Kama’s artistic practice spans across textile, visual, digital, poetic and performative work, and is at once narrative and theoretical, at once personal and political. A firm believer that aesthetic practices have the power to build resilience, to heal, and to act as forms of resistance to the status quo, Kama articulates an anticolonial praxis through cultural production.

Dave Lavoie

Dave Lavoie was born and raised in Saguenay, Québec. At the age of 17 he moved to Montréal to complete a college degree in Architectural Technology. He has been working in the architectural field since 2004. From an early age, he displayed an undisputable, natural talent in both drawing and painting. Over the years he has been perfecting his meticulous technique and developing his distinct style.

In 2016, Galerie Dentaire in Montréal hosted his premiere exhibition which was noticeably well received by collectors and the public at large. Interest in his works grew and the following year he made a major career change deciding to devote himself entirely to painting. His growing list of collectors spans international borders. In August 2018, David presented his second exhibition entitled: “Sauvage / Savage”. It was a great success much appreciated by the collectors and the guests who came to the event.


Olicorno is a self-taught contemporary and multidisciplinary artist from Saguenay, Québec. He has been living in Montréal since 2009, where he now works full-time on his main art forms: painting, installation art and performance art.

In 2012 he graduates from HEC Montréal with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The next year, following the success of his first performative painting series “Beauty Is What You See”, he takes the leap in becoming a professional artist. Olicorno has exhibited in various museums and art galleries across Canada and performed at events such as TEDx Montréal. Today, you can see his visual creations in many private residences throughout America, Europe, and Asia. As well as in various public collections including The Senate of Canada (Ottawa), The National Exhibition Center (Saguenay), La Maison Des Artistes Visuels (Winnipeg), The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the University of Montréal.

Laurence Philomène

Laurence Philomène is a non-binary photographer, director and curator based in Montréal. Laurence’s work is colourful and candid, and deals with questions of identity as seen through a queer/trans lens.

Laurence’s exploration of gender and identity dates to her days in college and her work on these notions has been published in the likes of Dazed, I- D, Vice, Broadly, CBC Arts, Courrier International, Neon, Cult, Teen Vogue, Hunger Magazine, Wonderland, and The Independent, to name a few. Laurence has participated in over 30 exhibitions worldwide, including four solo exhibits in Toronto, Montréal, Berlin and Kracow. She has also produced campaigns for such brands Converse, Fluide and VSCO. The artist was selected in 2014 as one of the best photographers 20under20 on Flickr which included as a prize mentoring by Ivan Shaw, Photo director at Vogue. She is currently working on a monograph of their project “me vs. others“, which will be published in collaboration with Éditions Lemaitre (Paris) in 2019.

The SDC’s Village Space

«The Village Commercial Development Society (SDC) is proud to welcome the “Inclusion 2019” exhibition as the first art event to be held in our new premises, the “Espace Village Space”. In addition to presenting exhibits by artists from the LGBTQ+ community and by its allies, this space will be providing tourist information as of 2020 along with a shop offering up Village derivative products,” said Yanick Brouillette, General Manager. “Our objective is to build bridges between the SDC and the community and to offer supplementary services by contributing to the vitality of the commercial arteries of Ste.Catherine Street East and Amherst (Atateken) Street.”

About the Montréal Pride Festival
Since 2007, at the initiative of Montréal’s LGBTQ+ communities, the Montréal Pride Festival has promoted their rights and celebrated their cultural wealth and social advances. The largest gathering of the communities of sexual and gender diversity (SGD) in the Francophone world works locally on a daily basis while serving as a beacon of hope for people living in LGBTQ+ hostile regions of the globe. In 2018, the festival generated a total attendance of 2.1 million visitors. In 2019, the festivities will be held from August 8 to 18. More information is available on the web page, the Facebook page, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts.

– 30 –

For all inquiries::
François Laberge
Communications Director
[email protected]
Telephone: 514 903-6193, poste 3523
Cell: 514 779-6134

For interview requests:
Nathalie Roy
Consultant, media relations
[email protected]
Telephone: 514 889-3622



Download our mobile app

Plan your festival, learn more about our artists and events, view site maps and more!


Powered by Greencopper

Share This