Shira Spector is a high femme dyke mom, writer, cartoonist and community artist. With a BFA (in Fibres) from Concordia University her background includes performance and costume work for assorted independent film and theatre companies. Her work has been exhibited in Montreal & Toronto and is published in multiple anthologies. Drawing from over 30 years experience in various social justice movements she has created and implemented arts based programs for a variety of agencies, and works as the Program & Outreach Coordinator at Arts Etobicoke Community Arts Council. Shira also sits on the Board of Directors of Red Dress Productions. She adores over the top anything and is inspired by the theatricality of things from tropical fish to aqua musicals. Believing that play and poetry are not luxuries, and that opportunities to embrace the fantastical belongs to daily living, she accepts defying the mundane as her personal mission in life. With the support of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council she is currently writing a trilogy of graphic novels.
Red Rock Baby Candy: Infertility, Pregnancy Loss, My Dad’s Cancer & Me -Excerpts is a surreal romp through 10 years of outsider pregnancy attempts and failures hinging around a parent’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Set in a kaleidoscope of locations in Toronto and Montreal, this first person trilogy of graphic novels explores the specificity of grief and loss from the perspective of a dyke drama queen and exhausted sex radical. Red Rock Baby Candy sees well costumed characters time travel through opulent old theatres, hospital rooms and a vegan restaurant with rules while singing and frequently resurrecting the dead to map the geography between infertility, sexuality, choice, and mortality.
Reproductive difficulties are ancient and ordinary and most often shrouded in silence and shame. Very little has been written about the experience of infertility, and even less so from the perspective of those outside of the mainstream. Who better than an infertile, Jewish, low income, high femme, non biological dyke mom, sex positive, artist and ectopic pregnancy survivor, smack dab in the middle of the queer baby boom, to document this point of view?
As a secular Jew, I come from a culture where babies are coveted, precious, and common as desserts. If we look at facing reproductive difficulties like baking cakes -each person would be tackling a unique recipe -combining medical obstacles and pathways with layers of additional complication dependant on who they are and what forms of multiple discrimination they already face. Think burned infertility cake, iced with a custom blended mix of difficulties. There are simple cakes and there are very high and complicated ones. Red Rock Baby Candy is a messy slice of mine.
TSG: Fall to Pieces is a 2 month exhibition of new projects created by LGBTTI2QQ artists about their experiences of disability, radicalization, class, and other intersectional experiences of identity. The show attempts to interrupt the idea of a homogenous queer community and reimagines what it means to talk about our lived experiences as artists from a diversity of backgrounds.