Artist Statement (Velvet Wells, 2022)

My artistry is deliberately chimeric. As an improvisor, I playfully transport audiences to either safer or more dangerous versions of the world. I delight in afro futurism, embodying empowered Black excellence. In musical improvisation, my baritone voice soothes even as I challenge societal norms. 

As an evocative writer and storyteller, I seek to heal myself and my communities from the trauma of white supremacy. My work seeks to be insightful and open to the insights of my audiences. This inclusive sharing is profoundly cathartic, unflinching and gratifying. 

Velvet Wells

Land and Waterways acknowledgment

I grew up in Tkaronto, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Now, I reside in Ottawa — the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. Both are home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples

Although I was a cultural orphan, I continue to educate myself about the impact of the Canadian project – beyond the oppressive history of Black people, as taught as an afterthought by Canadian schools. I’m learning about our culture and influence, stories, and the way Black excellence appears across communities and inventions

I embrace Black Joy as advocacy, and actively reject the premise that Black Trauma is the only acceptable form of theatre in spaces historically dedicated to the white gaze

I’m more and more aware of the continued genocide of and oppressive mechanisms against Indigenous people. This is not history, this is today. Injustice continues — by government at all levels (federal, provincial, and local) and in communities. I am working to decolonize my mindset, action and choices. I am donating, when I can, to Indigenous-centred organizations and encouraging others to do the same. I am speaking up against colonialism in colonial spaces, and learning to listen more and create more space for Indigenous voices to be respected

Innovative Recent Projects

Artist Statement (2022)

Artist Statement (2021)

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