Hollyhock Presenters

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Our presenters are curated for their quality, depth, integrity, and alignment with our educational purpose. Since 1982, a distinguished faculty of authors, educators, activists, artists, performers, and practitioners have shared their work at our Cortes Island campus and in Vancouver.

People smiling at Activate 2023 Hollyhock Leadership Institute

Aisha Sasha John

Aisha Sasha John is interested in choreographing performances that are occasions for real and multitudinous actions of love. John recently premiered her first ensemble work, DIANA ROSS DREAM (Danse-cité) which was developed during her 2019-2022 Dancemakers choreographic residency. Her full-length solo work debuted as the aisha of oz at the Whitney Museum in 2017, and in 2018, iterations of the aisha of oz were presented at Montreal, arts interculturels (MAI) and Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival. In 2019, John was a member of WXPT Toronto, the company formed as part of taisha paggett’s School for the first Movement of the Technicolo(u)r People for which Gallery TPW was transformed into a Black dance school. Alongside musical collaborator New Chance, John performed the work-in-progress HEAT at the 2019 Images Festival for which she received the ‘Overkill Award’ for her “willingness to redefine, to expand, and to provoke.” From 2015-2017, John choreographed, performed and curated as a member of the collective WIVES, presenting ACTION MOVIE at Théâtre La Chapelle (2017) and the performance series ASSEMBLÉ through Studio 303’s Curator-in-Residence program. John’s video work and text art have been exhibited in galleries (Doris McCarthy, Oakville Galleries) and was commissioned by Art Metropole as part of Let’s understand what it means to be here (together), a public art residency during which John and four collaborators made performances in Union Station’s west wing. John is the author of the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize nominated collection, I have to live. (McClelland & Stewart 2017), as well as THOU (Book*hug 2014), and the chapbook TO STAND AT A PRECIPICE ALONE AND REPEAT WHAT IS WHISPERED (UDP 2021). With Alexa Solveig Mardon, John guest-edited The Capilano Review’s Winter 2021 issue I’m looking for a way to dance.


Photo Credit: Kinga Michalska