Photo by Sonja Scharf

Illustration by Daniel Barrow

Illustration by Daniel Barrow

AstroArt Space Corps. Photo by Lindsey Bond

AstroArt Space Corps. Photo by Lindsey Bond

Photo by Ruth Bonneville, Winnipeg Free Press

Photo by Ruth Bonneville, Winnipeg Free Press

Dempsey and Millan

Collaborators since 1989, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan are among Canada’s best-known performance artists. They were catapulted into the international spotlight in their 20s with the performance and film We’re Talking Vulva. Since then, their live work and videos have been exhibited in diverse venues as far-ranging as women's centres in Sri Lanka to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This Winnipeg-based duo has created installations (such as Archaeology and You for the Royal Ontario Museum), public art pieces (such as One Gay City, the subject of a Manitoba Human Rights Commission challenge) and books (such as Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World, Arbeiter Ring Press). To most, however, they are known simply as the Lesbian Rangers of Lesbian National Parks and Services. Their humourous, feminist and provocative work has been acclaimed as “one of the high-points of contemporary Canadian artistic production” (Border Crossings Magazine). Performance documentation and artifacts are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History and the Dia Art Foundation, among others. They have also curated for institutions including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Centre and YYZ. Dempsey and Millan are the recipients of many awards, most proudly the Canadian Museums Association Award for Outstanding Publication and the Manitoba Arts Council Special Prize for Innovation and Excellence.


“Expose any group of first time viewers…and you'll have a gang of stompers and screamers shouting, ‘One more time!’” –  Village Voice

“Smart, funny, and edgy - almost all at the same time.... The more they work, the more apparent it becomes that Dempsey and Millan really are subversive. Their occupancy of the forms of popular culture is one of the high-points of contemporary Canadian artistic production.” – Border Crossings

“Witty, acid-tongued...armed with gruesomely funny visuals and a sharp ear for the lethal banalities and truisms of modern pop culture. The logic is impeccable, provocative.” – Edmonton Journal

“Sleek, satiric.” – The Globe and Mail

“Shawna Dempsey is Queen of Great Bliss. Twat throat and cigarette dew, that floor would ruin a sponge mop!” – John Giorno

“Composition is slick, it's unnerving!” – Swerve Magazine

“June Cleaver on an acid trip.” – Winnipeg Free Press

 “Sexy, self-assured, completely unpretentious.” – Eye Weekly

“Performance art on the edge: in your face humour.” –  CBC Newshour

“The iron fist of feminism in a fun-fur glove.” – Guy Maddin

“Gleefully turning mainstream culture on its head, exposing heterosexism and misogyny through biting irony cut with loopy humour.” – National Post

“Dempsey and Millan refuse to be invisible or silent.... Theirs is, without a doubt, a courageous act.” – Canadian Theatre Review

“At turns, humorous, irreverent, poignant… and highly evocative” – Books in Canada

“Dempsey and Millan…might be the Yes Men's lesbian sisters, wickedly sending up corporate targets as well as consumer marketing and their own feminist community.” – Now Magazine