PuSh Blog

PuShy Questions with Quelemia Sparrow from Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey

January 27, 2020

Quelemia Sparrow is a writer and performer of Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey, showing at The Cultch from January 23-February 1. Click here for tickets and more show information.

1) What motivates your work as an artist?

Being Musqueam, our land, Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Joy. Aspirations to shake down false narratives with cheekiness, truth and humour. 

2) What does being part of PuSh 2020 represent for you?

To be part of PuSh as a Musqueam artist represents real-time, acknowledgement in action. Also: sublime giddiness. 

3) Is there anything you want audiences to keep in mind while experiencing your show?

Skyborn is NOT an audience participation show but it does require the audience to be Witnesses along with an invited Witness and therefore be part of an artistic ceremony.

The artistic ceremony is not Longhouse ceremony from our culture (We do not practice that ceremony outside Longhouse culture and not in theatres.) But this is still ceremony none the less and it is based on and is inspired by teachings and cultural and spiritual practices. So our company chose to call this artistic ceremony.

4) How might we see PuSh 2020 themes of subversion or vulnerability reflected in the work?

As mentioned above, each show we have an invited Witness. Both the Witness and I go through the canoe journey together. It could be a little vulnerable for both of us. And we’re definitely subverting Vancouver itself in our artistic ceremony. 

5) What other PuSh show would you most like to see?

She, Mami Wata & The Pussy WitchHunt and also KISMET, things have changed.

6) What qualities do you most admire in other artists?

Audacity and Authenticity.

7) Any advice for emerging artists?

Block out all the noise. 

8) What do you do when you’re not working or making art?

Hmmmm, I’m pretty full with making things and getting more projects going. I’m planning on slowing down a bit (very soon) to start coaching my niece’s soccer team. Football! 

9) What about Vancouver most entices you?

χ ʷay̓χʷəy̓

10) What is your biggest art-making wish or fantasy (if money were no object)?

Oh, I have many. I usually keep them to myself. I’m pretty private and I like surprises. I also think sharing too much diffuses the fun parts of creating. But I’ll share a little bit: Writing a series! My biggest fantasy is being in writer’s room with a bunch of other kick-ass Indigenous friends that I adore and admire and we’d just be laughing at each other’s jokes and eatin’ wind-dried salmon and herring eggs. 

Click here for Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey tickets and more show information.

Quelemia is an Indigenous actor, writer and director from the Musqueam Nation. She graduated from Studio 58’s Theatre program and the Langara Film Arts screenwriting program.

Some of Quelemia’s acting theatre credits include: Lysistrata’ and Timon of Athens, Bard on the Beach, The Bakkhai/Stratford Festival directed by Jillian Keiley, The Pipeline Project/Gateway Theatre directed by Chelsea Haberlin, The Snow Queen/Globe Theatre directed by Rachel Peake, *Our Town/Osimous Theatre directed by Ensemble, The Edward Curtis Project/GCTC/NAC directed by Marie Clements, The Penelopiad/Arts Club Theatre directed by Vanessa Porteous, August: Osage County/Arts Club Theatre directed by Janet Wright, Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout/Firehall Arts Centre directed by Lorne Cardinal, Where the Blood Mixes/Playhouse/WCT directed by Glynis Leyshon and The Fall: Industrial Horror/Electric Company directed by Kim Collier. Various Film and T.V credits include: Tribal, Clouds of Autumn, The Letter, Fringe, V, Sanctuary 2, Blackstone, Cable Beach, Unnatural and Accidental, Da Vinci’s City Hall, Dead Zone and Da Vinci’s Inquest for which she won a Leo Award for Best Female Guest Appearance.

*Jessie Richardson award: Outstanding Theatre Production Small Theatre