Creative Connected Calgary Bianca Miranda | Photo: Kelly Hofer Studios September 28, 2020 Bianca Miranda Month of the Artist celebrates the valuable contributions artists make to Alberta Bianca Miranda Born and raised in the Philippines, Bianca Miranda (she/her) is a Filipino-Canadian performer, theatre-maker, and arts administrator based in Mohkinstsis. She is the Artistic Associate at Handsome Alice Theatre, a performance hive dedicated to unleashing women’s voices. As an artist, she aims to authentically tell stories, support underrepresented voices, and continuously advocate for intersectional diversity in the arts. You may have seen her on stage with Arts Commons Presents, Handsome Alice Theatre, One Yellow Rabbit, Major Matt Mason Collective, Ghost River Theatre, Theatre Calgary’s Shakespeare by the Bow, and many more. Currently a work-in-progress, keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned in October as The F Word’s website goes live at thefwordshow.net. And be sure to follow her on Instagram at @thebiancanator, and give @keshiacheesman and @thefword_show some love too. How do you describe yourself as an artist? I’m a storyteller, first and foremost. I sincerely believe that the act of sharing one’s stories is healing and truly transformative. It is through the act of storytelling that I’ve found my voice and truth as an artist. Starting at a young age, I have been sharing stories through song and dance. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I’ve enjoyed playing pretend and sharing the stories of characters I’ve played on stage. Now, in my adulthood, my most fulfilling and empowering works are deeply rooted in or inspired by personal stories. My beliefs, the values that I hold close to me, and my advocacies are not separate from my art. My very existence as a fat woman of colour is and has already been deemed political so I choose to bare my soul and my heart through my art. What does living a creative life mean to you? To me, living a creative life means giving into the innate need and desire in all of us to practice creativity in our day-to-day lives. I think it’s silly when people say to me that they aren’t creative, or they’re not an artist—and to me, I think, whose definition of creativity and art are you basing this off of? Because singing in the shower, cooking a meal with the limited ingredients in your pantry, and telling a story to a group of friends where you act out all the people in this anecdote, use facial expressions, different voices—that’s art to me, bleeding into our daily lives. That’s creativity. Everyone is capable of living a creative life—I think a lot of us as we get older start to judge ourselves harshly when doing so. Living a creative life also means not being afraid to be bad at it and that you sing, dance, paint because it’s relaxing, or it makes you feel good, or it makes you feel… something. What do you love about Calgary and what is one place you go to find inspiration in Calgary? Calgary is home. It’s home because it’s where my family lives, works, and grows in. This is where I spent most of my formative years, where I learned about other cultures, where I hid my true identity as Filipino to fit in, but also where I now find the confidence, the strength, and the pride even more than ever to be Filipino. This is also where I was able to train, to practice, and now, to live as an artist. My inspiration comes from the people I surround myself with—my family, my friends, other networks and connections, their stories, and words, and what makes each one of us tick. But I also look outside; to another place I call home—the Philippines. I find myself in a hyphenated existence and I embrace that. As an immigrant, I am constantly homesick and yearning for things, scents, sensations, and people from back home. They’re my inspiration, too. If you could do one thing this year to make Calgary a better place to live, what would it be? It’s to continue my anti-racism journey which includes continuing to speak truth to power, moving towards only accepting and working with companies whose values are aligned with mine, and most of all, to continue to learn about and honour the land that my family now resides in. Even as a woman of colour, there is a lot to learn and unlearn. What piece of advice would you give to an emerging artist? You are enough. You have the permission to pick and choose projects that really, truly mean something to you. You have the permission and the right to work for and with companies whose values align with yours. And you have the permission to say no. To any BIPOC emerging artists reading this, please reach out to me. I would love to connect with you, to get to know you, and to support you and uplift you to the best of my ability. What are you currently working on? I am working on The F Word with Keshia Cheesman. This will be our third year working on this show and we hope to bring a world premiere of it here in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) where it all began. The F Word, f as in fat, is my and Keshia’s journey to reclaim the word “fat”, to shed light and confront fatphobia (hint: it’s EVERYWHERE) and diet culture and to celebrate ourselves as fat women, our friendship, and food. I’m also working on another piece by myself—which is a first for me—and I will be sharing a work-in-progress of that at Words-in-Progress, an initiative by Louise Casemore, where playwrights get to read online from a script we’ve been working on, totally un-workshopped, and I’m both very nervous and excited for this offering. It will be streaming live at theatrealberta.com on October 6, 2020. About Alberta’s Month of the Artist September is the Month of the Artist in Alberta, an annual celebration of artists and the value they bring to the province, both socially and economically. Dedicated by the Government of Alberta, the Month of the Artist is a way to say thank you for making the province a better place to live. Calgary Arts Development is pleased to share the stories of artists who choose to live and work in Calgary. Have a story to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.