In response to the theme “Born to Be Free”, the design features two genderqueer people standing together in unfolding mountainscapes. The characters display strength and vitality; they are also ambiguous in gender, are interpretable as more than a singular identity, and break out of the confines of how we are coded to see and understand one another.
In consideration of the many meanings of the Wood Dragon, the drawing conveys an excitement for new beginnings and growth, as well as the strength and fearlessness associated with the dragon. Reflecting on the dragon’s association with Yang – light, fullness, and the male/masculine – the design offers alternative depictions of masculinity.
Tajliya Jamal is a queer, mixed-race printmaker and comics artist based in Vancouver, BC.
With an emphasis on storytelling and pattern, their work often uses iconography drawing from their Cantonese and Muslim-Indian background in tandem with images and texts that queery bodies. Taj graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2019, and has since led artist talks and workshops, had their illustrations and comics in local publications, and has made serigraph prints for artists both collaboratively and on demand.
The Lantern City is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.