Meet Angelica Poversky: Creator of ARTIVISM

By Laryssa Vachon

Third-year Media Studies student Angelica Poversky, has created ARTIVISM – a festival of creative resistance.

“It’s weird because I never feel like I’m doing a lot,” says third-year Media Studies student Angelica Poversky. To Poversky, she’s just consistently doing what she loves – making valuable time for the passions that energize her and her peers. Whether it’s touring the country with her slam poetry troupe Tiny Tricycle Poets, working for the Arts and Culture District at UBC, participating in conversations on the council for the Richmond Arts Council Advisory, or spending a month in China with a group of fellow Political Science students – Poversky is living proof that you really can do it all, even if that includes inaugurating your own arts festival.

Inspired by the Museum of Anthropology and Belkin Art Gallery’s current themes of resistance – Poversky created “Artivism,” a new art festival featuring student art that advances social justice and gives space to marginalized people and communities through a one-week long array of visual displays, pop-up shops and performances. After noticing a recurring theme of art as something that can be used for political activism in society, she figured why not explore how it all ties together?

Check out the full line-up of ARTIVISM events including workshops, shows and art exhibits.

After the festival wraps up on October 5, there’s still plenty of art to spread across UBC throughout the year. Poversky herself has some exciting projects in the works that will finally provide answers to very important questions like: What does Google have to do with art? And what in the world is she recording in her friend’s garage?

With ARTIVISM coming up – what inspired you to create an Art Festival?
I was really excited to start a festival at UBC for a lot of reasons – mainly because I felt like people at UBC don’t necessarily overlap a lot with each other. There’s a lot of people that practice their own art in their own individual club, which is awesome, but they don’t necessarily know what another club is doing. So a huge part of this was I wanted to have people connect in a shared space and engage with each other and see what other people are doing and be inspired by that. But beyond that, the theme of the festival – this idea of activism, the idea of sharing a story and having people that have been marginalized or have had stories that haven’t necessarily been in the mainstream. Like having come out of the margins, that was a huge part of something I wanted to give space to.

 

Why did you pick your field of study at UBC?
I picked media studies because I was super interested in the creative projection side of things. It was a cool collaboration of journalism and film production and creative writing and a whole bunch of stuff I’m super interested in. But the more the degree has progressed, the more I’ve become interested in the media theory side of things and looking into the way media shapes society, the way society shapes media. What is media? All these questions became interesting to me. Of course, I’m still interested in being an artist as well and how that plays together with media.

What do you love the most about slam poetry?
When I was six, I started to write poetry and I found the weight that words carry at a very young age. High school is really when I started performing. I realized how empowering that was for myself but also how great it was to have an audience. Before that, I was just submitting my poems to little magazines and hoping somebody would read them. So, it’s nice to have this visceral experience of what I’m saying literally going into someone’s ears. That empowerment is exhilarating.

I have my own poetry group and we do a really “clowny” approach to poetry. The clowny poetry is like “oh look at this crazy whacky world that we live in – how can we laugh together about it?” And, you know, have some kind of insight at the same time.

 

What kinds of things do you get to do on the Richmond Arts Advisory Council?
The official name for it is the City of Richmond Arts Strategy Task Group. We’re basically making a strategy for the city of Richmond to implement new ways that artists can be engaged with the city and have more space or funding. A lot of artists move out of Richmond because there isn’t a lot of opportunity. Or the opportunities may not be geared towards artists that want to be there. So, we’re just trying to solve that – how do we bring people in and make things happen more? There’s been some good stuff – I help organize the Richmond World Festival, where I bring poets and stuff to perform. Those kinds of events really help build the Richmond community.

Do you have any advice to fellow students on how to maintain a good work/life balance while still achieving everything they want to achieve?
It’s weird because I never feel like I’m doing a lot. I just think: these are the things I’m passionate about, so I’m doing them. Like the other night, my friend and I went to Richmond to record a song for my album. She had just finished giving an interview with a radio show about an event she’s doing, and I was just working on the festival late at UBC, but we still went and just did it. This is the type of thing that energizes us more than I think sleep could. Well, that’s debatable… I’m not a doctor. But as long as you have stuff you want to do, then I think you should do it. Chase your dreams. But honestly, that’s just what it is. Run after stuff, hoping that things will fall into place.

 

Wait – you’re making an album as well!?
I’ve kind of evolved into doing more rap-slash-comedy-slash infusing that into my poetry – exploring the new mediums of words and the way that words hold my own story, and the way that I can use those words to talk to somebody else and hopefully have a moment of unity or intimacy.

So, that’s where my poetry is in right now – more music-y poetry rappy stuff. That’s the stuff that I’m performing these days. It’s gonna be a full-on album. We’ve tentatively said somewhere between January and February 2019, but I honestly have no idea. We’re just making things as it comes together.

What’s next for you?
Releasing my album tracks on YouTube – we’ve been releasing them with films that my friend makes to get traction. I also want to promote my Google Images project — I show the bias of different algorithms in Google’s search engine results through this media arts research project. That’s the type of work that I want to be doing: it talks about media through art but it’s also research-based. Stuff that talks about form and function at the same time. The idea of algorithmic bias is super interesting to me – how people search for things and how much prejudice and racism and sexism are embedded in that.  I want people to see and understand that on a very experiential level.


Follow Angelica’s artistic adventures on Instagram and check out ARTIVISM, on from Oct 1-5, 2018!