Meet the sexually empowered, outrageous version of a happily divorced Acadian aunt: Chiquita Mare
The Moncton performer is using inspired drag to breathe queer visibility into Acadian culture
Chiquita Mare is just one of the many fabulous subjects featured in Canada's a Drag, a docu-series from CBC Arts that showcases drag artists from across the true North strong and fierce. You can watch all three seasons here.
Moncton's own Chiquita Mare is using drag to shed a light on the Acadian diaspora. "My drag aims to breathe queer visibility into Acadian culture and to show others that even though rural French-Canadian minorities are limited in queer representation, we exist and we are ready to redefine the very culture that has excluded us from their narrative," they say.
"Watching a big-lipped, fully padded, sexual queen feel herself up to banjo and Acadian twang, or Céline Dion and her Quebec counterparts, you can't help but imagine a reality where queer people werk the rural runways of l'Acadie."
Series Producers: Mercedes Grundy and Peter Knegt
Episode Director: Matthew Brown
Episode Second Camera: Mike Roy
Episode Production Manager: Zoe Boyd
Packaging Editor: Kiah Welsh
Titles Designer: Hope Little
Essentially, Chiquita Mare — the creation of multidisciplinary Acadian artist Xavier Gould — is all about "self-expression and performance and identity."
"What I mean by that is anyone should try out drag, but I also think that drag is an important art form and space for queer people," they explain. "We do this for a reason. I do this for a reason, anyways — which is to like, give myself permission. If I can go out in this armour and be the most queer self that I can imagine or create or perform, then me facing the pressures of society is so, so much easier."
Chiquita says the mashing together of queer and Acadian identities allows for "an endless well of inspiration and possibilities."
"Because you can take anything out of Acadian culture and ask yourself, 'What would that look like if it were queer?' and then all of a sudden you get to create something that has never been created. And vice versa — if you take something out of queer culture and you ask yourself, 'What if that was French or Acadian? How would that be different?'"
Chiquita wants people to know that you don't have to give up parts of your culture to celebrate another part of your identity.
"As queer people or as francophones or as both in my case...throughout history we've been marginalized and assimilated into either straight culture or English culture. I don't talk about linguistic duality or marginalization — I just live a version of my Acadian identity that's like, super out there."
"I'm choosing to look beyond the history of our deportation and the history of our trauma, and looking toward the future."