Wy Joung Kou is a queer, chronically ill, multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto. Their body of work spans mosaic art, poetry, sound, movement, performance, video, and installation. Grounded in a disability justice framework centering accessibility, community and interdependence, their artistic practice is interwoven with personal narratives of grief, care, and intimacy.
Kou’s educational trajectory as a professional artist has followed a path combining mentorship, apprenticeship, and community-models of learning, skill exchange, and collaborative process. Their independent mosaic work has exhibited in establishments such as The Gladstone Hotel, Critical Distance Gallery and the ArQuives. They began undertaking commission work in 2020 with their first commissioned mosaic piece now installed permanently at the North York Women’s Shelter. In 2021 they had their first solo exhibit as part of the DesignTO Festival.
Kou comes to performance work with a movement repertoire rooted in over a decade of formal training as a competitive figure skater, dancer and Taekwon-Do black belt. Their professional ventures in movement and performance are now mainly as a member of RAW – Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers. As an apprentice from 2017 - 2019 and a member as of 2020, their participation in RAW is centered around performance, creation, and education.
They have also taken to the stage as a writer, reading their poetry at events including Naked Heart Festival, Unruly Bodies, and Bricks & Glitter Festival. In 2018, Kou printed their first DIY (zine) poetry chapbook “Tigressbalm”. As an emerging filmmaker, they are curiously exploring the interdisciplinary possibilities within poetry and film.
Kou is the founder and organizer of the Sick & Disabled Queer Zine Fair (2018-2019) as well as an Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency alum. They were the inaugural winner of the JRG Grant for Artist with Disabilities (2018), and have been the recipient of multiple Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts grants.
Kou has had the great pleasure of working with ReDefine Arts (Est. as Red Dress Productions in 2007) as an Associate Artist since 2015 and Engagement Coordinator as of 2020.