Kama La Mackerel

“Kama La Mackerel is a glorious goddess and unstoppable force of nature. Even more essential and gorgeous than Kama’s work is the genuine beauty of her heart. Kama is a kind neighbour, a generous sister, and a loyal friend who fights fiercely for her family and chosen community.” – Kai Cheng Thom, Nominator

Kama La Mackerel is a glorious goddess and unstoppable force of nature – she burns up pages and stages with her writing and incredible mixed-media performance art. She is also a pillar of the queer community in Montreal, being an activist and youth arts facilitator. Every month, Kama hosts the Gender B(l)ender open mic cabaret – on a volunteer basis – thus creating a safe space for queers of all identities and ages to express themselves creatively and form friendships.

Kama was nominated by Kai Cheng Tom, a novelist, poet, social worker, and performance artist! She’s also a trans woman and the kid of Chinese immigrants who came to North America to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Kai nominated Kama because….

“I met Kama at a community show in a now-defunct queer person of colour-run art space. We were both much younger and very different, then! But even then, her kindness and her creative spirit stood out. Even more essential and gorgeous than Kama’s work is the genuine beauty of her heart. Kama is a kind neighbour, a generous sister, and a loyal friend who fights fiercely for her family and chosen community.”-Kai Chen Tom

I have a story and a voice that is its own. A story as a Black and Brown trans woman migrant from a small island where everybody is stuck on the island and no one leaves…and I left, and I went to India, and I’ve seen the world, and I’ve travelled, and I’ve learnt about people, and I’ve learnt about myself…and I’ve grown. Then I moved to Canada..against all odds.”-Kama 

Aquil Virani on why he chose to CelebrateHer: Kama has this boisterous and contagious laugh; she lets the world know. She has a lot to say; her sentences flow into one another. She knows how to make things. Kama is an artistic ocean of art-making and storytelling; I really wanted to incorporate the positive, political assertions in her work by illustrating one of her banner objects in the background. She explains beautifully that her experience of gender is fluid, like waves of water – it comes and it goes, and it comes, and it goes