I surrender myself to a vulnerable and visceral process while presenting it publicly to challenge preconceived notions. I aim to lay bare before the audience the complex relationship I have with myself and the world around me as someone who is queer, disabled and a mixed race female presenting person of color with Indigenous heritage from Eastern and Southern Nations.

As a person who has survived a long, painful history of abuse and trauma, I feel being an artist is a radical and revolutionary act. Through my art I give voice to those living with mental illness, from psychiatric survivors to sex workers to disabled people. I feel people like us are relegated to living in the margins of society in silence enveloped by misconceived notions of wellness and illness. By creating and performing art I am adding to the current dialogue on these topics while shedding light on our experiences of living on the fringes.

The lack of lived voices feeds into the continuing oppression and impression of us as “less fortunate”. For me to present works of art that are raw and real, challenges the audience to see these issues in a different light and encourages them to overcome their own limitations, bias and misconceptions while experiencing an accessible and cathartic experience. My goal is to shift the paradigm from “marginalization” to acceptance and understanding that people like me are part of the fabric of humanity.

JAENE F. CASTRILLON is a film-based interdisciplinary (literary, media, visual, performance) artist who explores her relationship to the world through various spiritual teachings and the wisdom of the land. As a 1st generation settler to Turtle Island and Tkaronto, she is a mixed race (indigenous Colombian/Hong Kong Chinese) queer woman of colour living with disabilities (psychiatric/physical/cognitive), her arts practice combines art, activism and spirituality to open a dialogue on preconceived notions of wellness and illness. Jaene believes in sharing the brilliance and the heartbreak of living a life less ordinary.  

Artist’s website: http://whitebearcreative.com/artist-statement/