Albert Dumont

Episode 51: Interview with Mailyne K. Briggs and Shery Alexander Heinis – In Our Tongues Reading and Art Series

Recorded October 6, 2019. We interview Shery and Mailyne about their forthcoming series for BIPOC writers and musicians debuting at the Origin on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. We talk about the goals of the series to provide a welcome and enriching environment that centers Indigenous and racialized writers and musicians in Ottawa.

Mailyne K. Briggs is a multidisciplinary artist, photographer, art educator, writer and documentary filmmaker. Born in the Philippines, Mailyne was adopted and immigrated to Canada at the age of four. She picked up painting as a form of therapy in her late teens, as a way to heal from childhood trauma. Recognizing art as therapy, she combines mindfulness into her approach as a teacher, artist and mental health advocate.

Her strong desire to reconnect with her roots has led her to explore what it means to be a cis-woman of colour with Philippine heritage and a Canadian upbringing, and is currently working on a series that encompasses her dual identity.

When she isn’t writing and creating, she’s working with her clients to develop their marketing and branding, as well as manage their social media platforms through her full-time business, Dream Love Grow Media. Working for herself has allowed her the flexibility and freedom to spend time with her family, and remain socially active with QTBIPOC, diasporic and marginalized communities, through her work with non-profits such as: A.R.T (A Real Thought) In Action, Bayanihan Ottawa, Yoga.Unity and Youth Action Now.

Shery Alexander Heinis is an Ottawa-based poet and former diplomat. Born and raised on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, as a young girl, reading and writing were her greatest passions. She started writing poetry in Ottawa around 2013.

She self-published her first chapbook A Greater Whole in 2014and her debut poetry collection Splinter in 2017, currently available on her website and Amazon.ca. She organized the launches for both books, including marketing and promotions, in collaboration with fellow artists including musicians and singers. She hopes to continue these collaborative creative efforts with other poets, writers and other artists. She is currently working on a new collection of poems, for which she will be seeking a publisher in 2020. She has been published by In\Words and Bywords.

She participates in poetry readings across Ottawa. Tree Reading Series invited her as a feature reader (2018) and Versefest Ottawa invited her to participate in its 2019 Invitational Slam. She has also been invited as a feature reader at community events such as Kwanzaa, in her workplace to mark Black History Month, as well as at the Community of Federal Visible Minorities annual event.

Together with her co-founder, Mailyne K. Briggs, Shery is currently working to establish the first Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPoC) monthly reading and art series in Ottawa, which will showcase BIPoC poets, writers, musicians and other artists from Ottawa and across Canada. The launch is scheduled for October 8, 2019 from 7-9 pm at the Origin Arts & Community Centre, 57 Lyndale Avenue, Ottawa and occur on the second Tuesday of the month thereafter.

You can find Shery here:

Website: sheryalexanderheinis.com

Facebook: SheryAlexanderHeinisPoetry.

Twitter: @shery_ah

In Our Tongues Reading and Art Series is the first in Ottawa dedicated specifically to showcasing Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPoC) poets, writers, musicians and other artists, including those across the gender spectrum.

In Our Tongues: https://www.facebook.com/inourtongues/

Queer Soup: https://www.queersoupnight.com/